The moment I learned there was a cat cafe just three hours away from my hometown I began planning a trip to Charleston, SC. I’ve always liked Charleston, so I really didn’t need an excuse to spend a weekend there. Plus, its cats. Cats are my thing. It was kismet!
Pounce Cat Cafe and Wine Bar is a cat lovers dream. The cafe is located on Meeting Street in Downtown Charleston. Its just a few blocks away from the famous Charleston City Market and one block over from the popular shopping district of King Street. The cafe was established in 2016 by two self-proclaimed crazy cat ladies who joked about opening their own cat cafe all throughout college. So, they did it! Within two short years, Pounce opened their second cafe in Atlanta, GA and has adopted out almost 1,000 cats!
The cats at Pounce come from various local shelters. The premise behind a cat cafe is to get normally unsocialized shelter cats out of cages and playing with potential adopters. For $15, you get one hour of playtime in the cat room and a complimentary beverage. Yep, you can sip wine and melt into a puddle of fluff. Does it get better than that?
I booked my time slot online before heading to the cafe. Reservations are not mandatory, but highly recommended. While I was there I watched them turn away several walk-ins because they were booked for the day. So yeah, make a reservation. And, get there a little early! You want to have enough time to get your drink, and possibly a snack, before its time to play with the fur babies. We went on a Saturday and ‘Meow’mosas were on special. Yes, it’s just a regular mimosa but it has a fun name so obviously I ordered it. We got our drinks and took a seat in the cat themed cafe room, which is separate from where you play with cats.
Our play-time came, and we were finally allowed out in the cat room. Yay! I was worried about the size of the group when I booked the reservation. What if there was too many people in the cat room and not enough cats to play with? Well let me tell ya, that is not an issue here. There was eleven other people in the cat room with me and my fiance. I have no idea how many cats were in the room, but everyone was always playing with at least one at any given time.
Pounce has fun extras that you can purchase to enhance your experience. A couple in our group opted for the extra that gave you a small bag of cat treats to feed the cats. I wished I had done this once I saw how much the cats crowded around this couple! Seriously, they loved it! I did hear an employee tell the couple to limit how many treats they give out, as the cats get treats pretty much all day. They also have other packages that include things like snacks, bottles of wine, and even cat ears to wear while you make new furry friends!
Also, its worth mentioning that Pounce does not smell like a litter box. I’m sensitive to the litter smell. I hate it in my own house (stay tuned for a later blog post about how I conquered the infamous litter box smell) and can usually smell it in others homes. Sorry, I’m that person. I noticed two litter box areas that were very well hidden. One was in a giant wooden box with a hidden side entrance and the other was a fun, fake plant that doubles as litter box! If you’re interested how that works, you can check it out here on Amazon.
So, I know what you’re wondering. What about the cats?! They were amazing, of course! There are a lot of toys scattered around the room to play with and a lot of the cats were really receptive to the toys. There were cats sleeping, and the cafe asks you don’t pet sleeping cats. I broke this rule and got scratched for it. Lesson learned.
Keep in mind that the cats at Pounce are real shelter cats. Meaning they aren’t all tiny, cuddly kittens. In fact, when we visited most of the cats were a year old or older. This didn’t bother me at all, but I could understand how someone who might have been expecting a plethora of kittens would be slightly disappointed. Also, some of the cats were totally uninterested in playing or being petted. I mean, does your cat want to be messed with 24/7? No. So, understand that there will be cats sleeping or some who just flat out reject you. Don’t take it personally.
However, so many of the cats wanted to play or were just fun to watch! My favorite cat was Clementine, a grey tabby who I was able to coax out from under one of the couches. She wasn’t the most playful, but she was extremely content with being petted which was enough for me. Another memorable cat was a giant tabby named Flapjack. This dude was seriously chunky, but so playful!
Overall, my experience at Pounce was really great! I would definitely recommend for any cat lover. If I didn’t already have two fur babies of my own, I would have totally adopted from Pounce. There were quite a few cats that would have made great additions to our family. So, if you’re in the Charleston or Atlanta area and you love cats, this is the place to be!
Comment below any questions about experiencing a cat cafe, or tell me about your experience at Pounce! Until next time, folks!