La Gattara Inc. is a non-profit cat café located in downtown Phoenix. The organization began as a for-profit cat lounge in Tempe, AZ in 2017. In 2020, it was decided that more cats could be helped by transiting to a nonprofit organization and moving to a larger location. A new home was found in Downtown Phoenix at 2nd St and Garfield, right behind Roosevelt Row, and was officially opened on Jan 1, 2022.
The cat lounge space was designed by Kate Benjamin of Hauspanther and features a cat superhighway, cabinets for the cats to take a break from human interaction in, and lots of space to climb and scratch. La Gattara cares for between 20-30 adoptable cats at a time in the cat lounge where people can come socialize with the cats during lounge hours or attend events like yoga with cats, paint nights, and drag bingo with cats. These events bring in cat lovers from all different walks of life with the commonality of loving cats.
The café has adopted over 1000 cats to forever homes in the past 5 years. Many of these cats were found as strays or were brought in as owner surrenders. A unique feature about La Gattara that sets it apart from other rescues is that the cats are free-roaming, so potential adopters can meet them and interact in a more natural environment. This feature can also make it more difficult with bringing in new cats as some do not do well in a free-roaming community, so the organization is very particular about what cats can be brought into the rescue. La Gattara knows that the number one priority is the welfare of the cats, so it is important to make sure they will thrive.
In addition to the cat lounge, La Gattara now also has a full-service coffee shop serving coffee, tea, smoothies, and more. Besides rescuing and adopting cats, La Gattara also works to make an impact in the community. Most recently with the start of a trap-neuter-return (TNR) program and plans in place for vaccine and microchip clinics. While these new programs will be small to start, the plan is to scale them as the organization grows to help more pet owners and help prevent the overpopulation of community cats that is currently a problem in many neighborhoods.
Education is a huge passion of CEO Carrie Schwartz, who is an animal behavior consultant, so the café will also begin hosting seminars and events to teach people about community cats, TNR, cat body language, and cat behaviors. La Gattara is so much more than a cat rescue; it is a central hub and safe place for all things cats and cat lovers to come together to make an impact.
Volunteers are always needed to help care for the cats and donations are always appreciated as well. More information about La Gattara can be found at lagattara.org and updates are always available on Instagram and Facebook @lagattaracatcafe.