D.C.’s first cat café becomes hotspot for animal adoptions

WASHINGTON — One of the most difficult reservations to snag this summer isn’t for a seat at a new celebrity-chef concept or even for a rooftop table at the city’s best restaurant. It’s for 55 minutes of uninterrupted time to relax with a cup of coffee and play with 25 cats.

Weekend availability at D.C.’s first and only cat café, Crumbs & Whiskers, has been scarce since it opened seven weeks ago. Even weeknights are a busy time at the Georgetown shop.

But founder and owner Kanchan Singh says the café’s popularity has less to do with its coffee and cookies — although, they are tasty.

“Most people are just really there for the cats,” she says. “We talk to people who say ‘I just need to hang out with some cats right now and that’s all I want to do.’”

However, patrons are doing more than playing with the cats: they’re finding them loving homes.

The cats at Crumbs & Whiskers come from the Washington Humane Society. They are fostered at the shop and are available for adoption to the café’s customers.

So far, the café has adopted out 16 cats and a couple of kittens. Six of those adoptions took place in the café’s first six days — a statistic Singh is really proud of.

“It works really well because it increases the number of adoptions by the Washington Humane Society by giving them another outlet to showcase their cats,” says Singh, who adds that fostering the cats frees up space at the Humane Society for other animals who need shelter.

“This becomes their new home until they get adopted out.”

Of course, not everybody goes to Crumbs & Whiskers with the intention of bringing home a furry friend.

Singh says the concept attracts animal lovers who may not live in pet-friendly apartments. (Allergic significant others are another common blame.)

Crumbs & Whiskers is also a unique alternative to the typical café. The O Street NW shop supplies board games, books and great people watching.

Reservations for a 55-minute block can be made online. (Singh says weekday mornings are a great option for those looking to avoid a big crowd.) The cost is $10 per person on weekdays and $12 per person on weekends. Coffee, shakes and desserts are an additional charge.

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