Missy Pruitt and Carrie Seay are looking forward to introducing their feline friends to Downtown Phoenix later this spring via their La Gattara Cat Café and Boutique.
Known as a feline-based entertainment center and cat sanctuary, La Gattara opened in 2017 near East University Drive and South Dorsey Lane in Tempe. However, their lease ended at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The new location is in Downtown Phoenix in the Garfield neighborhood district,” says Seay about the new spot near Second and Garfield streets. “Missy had already closed the previous location and it took us a couple of months to really find the perfect location. When we saw this place, it was just to die for.”
The new location came with a coffee shop, but the duo’s renovations will add offices, storage rooms, a laundry area, a larger gathering area for humans and cats, and a party area for events like drag bingo.
“It’s about three times the size of the previous location, so there is a lot more room for private parties,” she says. “With social distancing, we’ll be able to have a decent number of people interacting with cats while staying safe. We can have events, parties and birthdays, too.”
All of the free-roaming cats — except for resident feline Charlie Chaplin — will be available for adoption.
“Charlie Chaplin is the best cat in the entire universe,” Pruitt says lovingly.
Charlie was found living in a bar in Downtown Phoenix “looking pitiful,” according to Pruitt. A veterinarian said he was not likely to live for long, but he has since healed.
“If customers were having a bad day, it’s like (Charlie) knew it — he had this intuition,” Pruitt says. “He’s just become everybody’s cat. If you come in and someone already has him on their lap, you’re not going to get him that visit.”
The adoptable cats are now living at foster homes, while the new location is being renovated.
“The location has been closed for almost an entire year,” Seay says. “We’ve been really working out of foster homes. Over the summer I had 20 kittens and Missy has had anywhere between five to 15 cats at her house and fosters as well.”
La Gattara has helped facilitate more than 830 cat adoptions since it opened.
“At the café, people can come in and can sit down with cats and really see their personality in a different way,” Seay says.
She adds it’s been difficult to show potential fur parents the cats’ personalities at foster homes.
“A lot of the cats we have right now were from hoarding situations or former feral cats, so they are on the shy side,” Seay says. “As sweet as they can be, it’s hard to show their personality when they are a little scared when people come over to meet them. They aren’t the most outgoing and I-want-to sit-on-your lap (type of cat).”
Pruitt and Seay are applying to become a registered 501(c)(3).
“We want to have more of an impact on the cat rescue community,” Seay says.
La Gattara Cat Café and Boutique
147 E. Garfield Street, Phoenix