Orange County’s first cat cafe compelled to shut amid pandemic

A Laguna Seashore storefront has misplaced a purr-fect tenant amid the pandemic.

Catmosphere Laguna, Orange County’s first cat cafe, closed over the weekend after coronavirus restrictions made it inconceivable to make ends meet, proprietor Gail Allyn Landau stated.

The cafe and lounge the place prospects might play with adoptable cats and kittens opened in August 2018.

It’s not that cat lovers misplaced curiosity in cuddling the cafe’s fluffy residents — demand remained robust till the top — there merely wasn’t sufficient house for guests to securely distance themselves, Landau stated.

“I’m sorry to see it go, imagine me — the happiest place on this planet,” she stated. “However I merely can’t afford it at this level with COVID restrictions.”

As soon as capable of accommodate 12 folks, Landau stated a capability restrict lowered the enterprise’ cafe space to solely 4 prospects. The lounge, which had house for 10, was additionally restricted to 4 folks due to coronavirus restrictions.

Catmosphere beforehand hosted big-draw occasions, together with weekly Drag Bingo, which Landau cited as a boon to the enterprise. These gatherings, by which attendees may very well be packed in like sardines, needed to be shelved.

Sarcastically, demand for cat adoptions has skyrocketed during the pandemic. And numbers typical spike in the course of the vacation season as effectively, Landau stated.

Amid a ultimate push Friday and “Caturday,” as the cafe put in a Facebook post, the cafe celebrated its 195th adoption.

Landau stated the enterprise’ closure gained’t cease her from connecting rescued felines with their “furever houses.” The eponymous adoption basis that Landau launched in 2017 will proceed to function.

“COVID introduced so many individuals to us in search of companions,” Landau stated. “Folks had been working from residence, and all of a sudden their existence had been totally different.”

In March, the cafe had 16 cats obtainable for adoption. They had been fostered out and adopted “instantly,” Landau stated.

That demand hasn’t subsided. Pre-pandemic, Catmosphere positioned about one cat per week. Now it’s putting 3 times as many.

These seeking to undertake by Catmosphere have to fill out an utility and endure an interview and a house examine with the intention of matching the correct cat with the correct residence. The tactic, which Landau swears by, is continuous in the course of the pandemic with some changes. Dwelling checks, for instance, at the moment are performed nearly.

“I’m a matchmaker to the meows,” she joked.

Even because the curtain falls and tails are taken elsewhere, a brand new chapter is brewing.

Catmosphere might reopen in a brand new location as quickly because the spring. Landau stated she already has began the scouting course of and is tying the relaunch to coincide with when a widespread vaccine is perhaps obtainable.

Within the meantime, these interested by adoptions — or no-strings-attached cuddling — can look out for pop-up occasions that Landau says are deliberate for the subsequent few months.

Catmosphere isn’t the one cat cafe compelled to pivot amid the pandemic. Crumbs and Whiskers, within the Fairfax space of Los Angeles, is briefly closed “resulting from COVID-19,” according to its Yelp page. It’s slated to reopen on the primary of the brand new 12 months.

Different websites are adjusting as effectively. CatCafe Lounge in West Los Angeles is staying open, even because it has lowered capability by half and applied different security precautions required by the L.A. County Well being Division.

“Which implies much less folks, and extra one-on-one cat time,” according to the cafe’s website.

CatCafe Lounge has additionally rolled out a “catio,” the place prospects can spend time with what the cafe calls “kittos” in an out of doors surroundings.