What’s all the meow about: Local cat cafe offers stress relief to Butler students

The Nine Lives Cat Cafe gives visitors the chance to meet friendly kitties and grab tasty treats. Photo by Abby Fostveit. 


Final exam season is upon all Butler students. Some frequent destressors can come in the form of coffee to pull through those long days and all-nighters, or seeking comfort in a furry companion to reduce test anxiety. Those two things may sound great on their own, but a local spot has a fix for both all in one location. 

The Nine Lives Cat Cafe in downtown Indianapolis is home to many feline companions waiting eagerly to be adopted. Visitors must reserve a 30-minute or hour-long session in the cat lounge to play with the adoptable and resident cats. Walk-ins are welcome to visitors just looking to grab a cat-themed treat. 

Ali Golden, a junior psychology-sociology major, does not consider herself a “cat person,” but found herself with a match made in heaven when she attended the cafe with her girlfriend. 

“My girlfriend is a huge cat person, and she’d been having a stressful month, so she really wanted to go [to the cat cafe],” Golden said. “It started out as a joke. [My girlfriend] said, ‘I don’t know if I’m going to be able to leave here without a cat.’ Then, we saw Auggie, and we fell in love with him, so we had to take him home.” 

August September Golden, Ali Golden’s cat, taking a cat-nap at the Nine Lives Cat Cafe. Photo courtesy of Ali Golden. 

August September Golden, or Auggie or Gus for short, was adopted by Golden and her girlfriend from the Nine Lives Cat Cafe. She said while they ended up taking Auggie home, it was still hard to choose from so many adorable kitties. 

“Even the cats that weren’t personable, you still wanted to go up and look at them because they were so cute,” Golden said. “[With] Auggie, there’s just something about him that seemed really calm and inviting.” 

Auggie was not the only one radiating relaxing vibes at the cat cafe. Other Butler students have noted that the cafe as a whole brings a calming experience that is a short escape from the day-to-day rush of being a college student. 

Cate Pugliese, a first-year sociology-criminology major, is one of these students. 

“It was just very stress free [attending the cat cafe],” Pugliese said. “I didn’t have to focus on things I had to worry about. I could just focus on playing with the cats.” 

Cate Pugliese posing with a feline friend at the Nine Lives Cat Cafe. Photo courtesy of Cate Pugliese. 

Even if visitors do not end up adopting a cat, the experience alone can be gratifying. Anna Gritzenbach, a first-year exploratory studies major, can attest to this after her several visits to the cafe. 

“I sat on a couch [at the cafe], and one of the cats, who had one eye, and [the cat’s] name was Plankton, he doesn’t like humans at all,” Gritzenbach said. “He came over, and he sat with me for the majority of the time in there. I felt a little honored to be able to sit with him.” 

While visitors enjoy their time lounging with the cats, they can also enjoy beverages, tasty treats and merchandise, ranging from coffees and teas, to cat jewelry, T-shirts and more. Butler students say that the treats the cafe offers only add to the experience.

“The coffee is phenomenal,” Gritzenbach said. “I can’t remember exactly what I got, but it had lavender and honey in it. It was really good. They do have really cute mugs. When you go, you have to look at [the merchandise].”

The drink Gritzenbach had was the Lavender and Honey Latte, one of six of the cafe’s signature lattes.

“The last time I went I had a Snowflake Latte,” Pugliese said. “It was white chocolate cinnamon or something like that. It was pretty good.”  

Not only does the cafe offer drinks and a fun time with feline friends, it also spreads the message of saving the lives of cats and humans by bringing the two together to help each other through hard times. The cafe achieves this by partnering with Indy Adopts, a local nonprofit foundation that aids and enables the adoption of felines at the cafe. Along with the cafe, their mission is to improve the lives of cats through educating the community on feline welfare, spaying and neutering and adoption. 

“I think that [the cafe’s] message and their concept is super cool,” Gritzenbach said. 

In a study done by the Associated Press-Petside, only 15 percent of adults said they disliked cats, while only two percent said they disliked dogs. Many cat-haters have said that cats are not as loyal compared to dogs and tend to be more destructive. This hatred has led to many widespread misconceptions about felines and their behaviors. Visitors of the cafe think that the cafe’s presence in the community may be able to change that. 

“I think [going to the cafe] does help with your perception of [cats] and the different personalities they can have,” Pugliese said. 

The consensus amongst students seems to be kindred: the cafe is a space for pet-lovers alike, or anyone just looking for a safe place to forget the stress of day-to-day life. 

“I definitely recommend [attending the cafe],” Golden said. “Even just sitting in the [cat lounge] room is so relaxing because you can tell that it’s a place where you just leave your stress at the door.” 

Reservations to attend the cat lounge can be made on the Nine Lives Cat Cafe’s official website.

Photos by Abby Fostveit. 


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