One Paw-sitive Year: Papa’s Cat Cafe celebrates one year in business

Local coffee shop-slash-cat playroom Papa’s Cat Cafe celebrated its first anniversary being open in July, and only a few days prior, followed through with their hundredth cat adoption.
Ryan Kennedy, the owner of Papa’s Cat Cafe in downtown Columbia, cradles Pedro the polydactyl lap cat on his shoulder. Other than the three resident cats, all the animals at the Cafe are available for adoption. Photo by Photographer Natalie Radt

Located at the corner of Lucky’s Market in Downtown Columbia, a quaint little shop resides. As an up-and-coming trend in the U.S., Papa’s Cat Cafe is central Missouri’s first. A cat cafe is a place where people can come play with cats while drinking a cup of coffee. At Papa’s, customers can pay $5 to stay for 30 minutes in the playroom or $10 for an hour.

Papa’s Cat Cafe opened on July 31, 2018 and celebrated its first anniversary this summer. Owner Ryan Kennedy states they have seen many people in the past year.

“We were absolutely slammed when we first opened. We were maxing out capacity almost every hour, so we were getting like 150 visitors a day,” Kennedy stated. “It’s not as much as that. We probably get about 25-30 visitors a day now.”

Here, you can also adopt the cats in the playroom at any time. They partner with local organization Boone County Animal Care to provide the 20 cats in the playroom customers will see. On July 20, Papa’s Cat Cafe was able to see their 100th adoption.

“His name was Polo,” Kennedy said. “It was nice to have him as the 100th adoption because he, for some reason, has three legs and our cats here, they’re mostly from stray and feral backgrounds, so a lot of them have had pretty hard stories. So it was kind of symbolic for us to have him. He doesn’t have all of the legs up that the other cats do to get him adopted out.”

Papa’s Cat Cafe is stylistically inspired by the life of famous American author Ernest Hemingway who loved cats. It was also inspired by the cat cafes of South Korea. It is run by Kennedy and his wife MacKenzie Everett-Kennedy.

”It started with us joking about opening our own cat café,” Everett-Kennedy said. “But then things started falling into place.”

There aren’t many people working at the cafe, but they all have a lot of fun working there, barista Lailani Legardo said. People who like cats or people who are interested in adopting attend the cafe.

“Parents bring in their kids to get used to being around cats. We have students come here for therapy, too,” Legardo said.

Papa’s Cat Cafe supports many different local businesses to provide customers with the best products and a sense of comfort. They have the typical espresso-based drinks, such as lattes, mochas and coffee which come from Fretboard Coffee, a local roastery. They serve tea, lemonade, orange juice and specialty drinks. They also serve beer and wine from local brewery Bur Oak Brewing Company. They also serve kombucha from DrinKraft Tasting Cafe.

They host many different events, such as Kitten Yoga, Wine and Whiskers and Cat Academy for kids. All events hosted at the cafe can be found on their website at They have spaces at the cafe where people are able to host events like birthdays, weddings, and team-building gatherings.

You can also find Papa’s Cat Cafe on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram at @papascatcafe and Hulafrog.

Edited by Janae McKenzie |

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