Knoxville’s Scruffy’s Cafe is a Haven for Cats and Owners

Cats are not only tender, adorable balls of fur, who make fabulous companions, but they also come with a good deal of health benefits for their owners. These fluffy and affectionate creatures can assist you in lowering your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and reducing your anxiety. When you cuddle a cat, the hormone oxytocin is automatically released. Oxytocin is the hormone that results in how you feel when you’re in love. All of this contributes to the lower risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke. But what happens if you don’t have a cat to cuddle? Perhaps your spouse is allergic or simply doesn’t want one. How can you obtain some of these unique and special health benefits for yourself under such circumstances? Well, the answer is easy: Reserve a spot for yourself at Scruffy’s Cat Cafe. Here, you’ll be able to cuddle and mingle with as many cats as you’d like. Indeed, cat cafe’s are steadily growing in popularity, garnering new fans every day.

What is a Cat Cafe?

Believe it or not, cat cafe’s are not exactly a new thing. In fact, there are currently cat cafe’s across the globe. The first cat cafe opened way back in 1998, in Taipei, Taiwan. Afterwards, they quickly spread to Japan, where over 150 cat cafe’s currently serve their customer delicious coffee, while allowing them to play with their many cats. Today, you can find successfully run cat cafes in Spain, Germany, the UK, and other countries. Cat Cafe’s offer much more to their customers than a fuzzy hello. Most patrons come to these establishments to free themselves of the stress of daily life. This is not just a placebo effect, as it’s been proven that cats can actually relieve depression, anxiety, and help to lower blood pressure.

Talisa and William’s Dream

Now that you’re familiar with just what a cat cafe is and how they developed, it’s time to introduce you to Scruffy’s Cat Cafe, located in Knoxville Tennessee. The proprietors of Scruffy’s Cafe are Talisa Cantrell and William Ridenour. Not only are they partners in Scruffy’s Cat Cafe, but they are also partners in life. In fact, their relationship actually began when they began to share photos of their cats, and comparing notes. Needless to say, their romance bloomed from that day forth! One day, while on a trip to Pagosa Springs, Colorado, the pair came across The Denver Cat Company, a successful cat cafe. Almost immediately the light bulbs went off, and right then and there, they made the decision to develop their own cat cafe, right here in Knoxville! Together with co-owner Emily Deas, they’ve developed a unique and friendly cat cafe, where patrons can mingle with adoptable cats, and enjoy a steeping cup of hot, rich coffee as well.

Scruffy’s Cafe, A Sanctuary Amid the Chaos

On June 5, 2020 Scruffy’s opened their doors to a very successful grand opening. The grand opening was postponed for several weeks due to the pandemic. However, when June 5th arrived, those who had been waiting, were welcomed by a herd of adorable adult cats and playful kittens. The grand opening included photo ops at their Instagram Wall, a raffle, and more, was a huge hit and signaled that Scruffy’s was here for the long haul. While it is designed to bring adoptable cats and people together, the owners also had another idea to convey. During this time of uncertainty, they decided to incorporate mental health resources in the cafe for those who may need them. According to co-owner Deas, “We’re putting together all of these mental health resources for people who, whatever their problem is, they can come in there, and they can find help“.

Happy Paws Kitten Rescue

If you’re wondering where they get the adoptable supply of adorable cats and kittens, know that they are provided by a local Knoxville cat shelter organization, Happy Paws Kitten Rescue. This shelter operates as a non-profit, and specializes in caring for cats in all situations. They work to find homes for those who are abandoned, provide medicine for those in need of treatment, and also deal with cats who’ve experienced abuse. If you’d like to adopt or help out with a donation, visit their Facebook page, or webpage for additional information.

Things to Know Before You Go

If you plan on visiting Scruffy’s Cat Cafe or including it in your travel plans to Knoxville, know that you’re in for an additional treat, as it’s located in the historic Fourth and Gill neighborhood. Fourth and Gill is currently on the list of the National Register of Historic Places, and for good reason. Entering the neighborhood of Fourth and Gill is like walking back in time. The region still has the original Victorian-style homes and other structures still intact and beautifully preserved, and it’s here, at 1015 North Broadway where you’ll find Scruffy’s. Please note, as we’re still in the clutches of Covid-19 at the time of this writing, the owners request that you book your reservations in advance. This is due to social distancing rules, where they are only allowing 14 patrons in at a time. When visiting Scruffy’s, and you happen to find a feline to cherish, the adoption process is quite simple. You can either request an adoption application while at Scruffy’s, or you can contact Happy Paws directly. Once sent in, expect to wait 1 to 3 days to have your adoption application approved. That’s it!

Final Thoughts

Knoxville’s Scruffy’s Cafe is a Haven for Cats and Owners alike, and so far people are relishing the chance to spend time with these furry felines. For Scruffy’s, it’s only the beginning. In the future, they plan to host artwork from local artists, book performers, and invite local food vendors to sell their tasty treats. Scruffy’s is determined to assist in ending the stigma that those with mental health issues face, along with offering you the best in customer service, and of course…cats! In addition, they plan on incorporating more senior cats in their cafe, as they need homes too, yet are often passed over in shelters because of their age. If you’d like to become a part of their future development, Scruffy’s has set up a GoFundMe page just for that purpose.



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