Santa Barbara’s First Cat Café Experience is Definitely Worth a Try

Cat Therapy

When you go to a dog cafe, you typically bring your dog with you and get them treats, but a unique cat cafe in Santa Barbara has a different idea. Cat Therapy isn’t a place to visit with your pets. It’s more like the sort of place you go to find a new pet or support a great local business and a cat rescue at the same time. You can cuddle with kitties who are getting socialized and seeking new homes or browse for a cat-themed gift. One thing is for sure, Santa Barbara’s first cat café experience is definitely worth a visit!

Catalina and Her Cats

Opening a business should always be about doing what you love the best way you know how. Catalina Estevez gets that. She decided to open up a place that combines her passions and allows people to help save shelter cats even if they can’t adopt or foster. She chose to combine her love of charity work and animals to create something new. If you’ve ever been to an animal shelter, they do wonderful work, but the environment is a little bit sterile and can even be a bit depressing. Cages keep the animals safe. They get plenty of food, medical attention, and love from the staff. Still, it’s not a lot of fun. Even when a shelter has toys and blankets, seeing animals lined up in cages is more like a jail than a habitat.

Now imagine a place where instead, you could walk into a decorated room full of kitties who are napping and playing happily as they get socialized and loved. That sounds better, doesn’t it? Catalina thought so, and we agree. Luckily, this brilliant and kindhearted woman decided to make that dream a reality. So far, it’s worked out spectacularly. According to the Cat Therapy website, over four hundred kitties have found their fur-ever homes thanks to Cat Therapy, but there’s more than adoptions going on here.


By partnering with Santa Barbaras’ Stray Cat Alliance, Catalina can keep anywhere from a dozen to twenty cats roaming around in her shop. They get social time with each other and people who visit. Plus, they get space to stretch their legs and a great environment to find a new home as they participate in parties and other events. Catalina helps the kitties find the people who want to take them home, but she also gives them a place to free roam and enjoy life in a space much larger than a shelter cage.

You may be asking where the ‘cafe’ part of this beautiful business comes in. Well, you may not know this, but commercial kitchens that sell food and animals are not a good or legal blend. The risk of getting animal hair in the food would be pretty high. Even if you don’t mind (because it’s for a good cause), the health department does. Catalina found a great workaround in her second partnership.

If you have a booking at Cat Therapy, and they do suggest you book in advance, though walk-ins are welcome when there’s no event going on, then you can have fifteen percent off at the Brasil Arts Cafe. You show them your proof of booking, pick up your treats at a discount, and head over to see the cats. In this way, you can support three fantastic local businesses, Cat Therapy, Brasil Arts Cafe, and the Stray Cat Alliance.

Find a Friend

Lots of pet seekers wish they could get more than a single visit before they have to choose which kitty to share their lives with. Cat Therapy offers you a unique chance to do precisely that. Visitors are welcome every day except Tuesdays when the shop is closed. You can buy a bulk visit package if you plan to be there often. In fact, you can even pick up gift cards to share the love with a friend or family member.

Follow The Kitties

Cat Therapy has an Instagram account, @cattherapysb, if you want to keep an eye on all the updates and good news. Plus, you’ll get a ton of cute cat pictures. Search #CattherapySB to see all the adorable posts, and don’t forget to follow so you’ll get Cat Therapy updates.

So Much More

In addition to the nominal kitty visiting fee, Catalina and the shelter cats offer more than love and support for the stray kitties of Santa Barbara. When you’re done getting your kitty love and enjoying a snack, you can visit the outstanding gift shop. Picking up a gift, just like everything else Cat Cafe does, donates the profits to the shelter to save more strays.

You can book a party with the kitties or visit one of the many events Catalina puts on throughout the year. Obviously, you can also adopt your next pet there, as well. You can shop online if you aren’t able to stop in personally. Moreover, you can also book pet-sitting services through the shop page for cats or dogs.

If you’re looking for something a little more active, Cat Therapy is a truly innovative social space. You can attend Cat Yoga Sundays at 9 am, pending availability, of course, and learn, or practice your stretching. After all, cats are masters of the relaxing and revitalizing stretch. You have to sign a waiver because kitties have claws, but a certified instructor leads Cat Yoga and tailored for all experience levels.

While you visit, whether it’s for a little lounge time to love the cats, a class, event, or party, Catalina offers a free in-house coffee and tea station. Thirsty guests can quench their need for a pleasant beverage and their need to scratch a fuzzy chin at the same time. Even if you can’t own a pet because of your lease, or a roommate, child or partner who has allergies, you can still contribute to the well-being of shelter cats, keep them from being euthanized, and make sure they live long happy lives. Plus, you get all the kitty cuddles you need.

Final Thoughts

Cats are the most euthanized animals in California. Cat Therapy can’t save them all, but for a few hundred lucky kitties a year in Santa Barbara, there’s a better life waiting. It’s always heartwarming to see someone create such a unique and lovely business out of their love for helping others. The cats and people who love them are all reaping the benefits of Catalina’s big hear and brilliant idea.

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