Java Cats Café to open Marietta location

By ALEX PATTON

 

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ATLANTA — Java Cats Café, the first hybrid cat shelter and coffee shop of its kind to open in Georgia, has announced plans to open a second location on Marietta Square in May 2018. (Photo by Alex Patton)

 

 

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ATLANTA — In March 2016, Java Cats Café owner and founder Hadyn Hilton opened the first Atlanta location in Grant Park. At only 24 years old, Hilton took the huge personal risk of dropping out of Georgia State University’s film studies program to follow her lifelong passion for sheltering animals. Hilton said that as a young woman, she originally wasn’t taken seriously by the local business community, but she set out to prove them wrong. In less than a year, Java Cats Café has found loving homes for more than 200 cats. (Photo by Alex Patton)

 

 

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ATLANTA — Java Cats Café is divided into two sections: the coffee shop and the cat lounge. Customers enter through the coffee shop, where they can order crafted coffee beverages and small food items. The lounge shelters up to 20 cats at a time, which are sourced from a larger shelter called PAWS Atlanta. Affectionately nicknamed “Java Cats Meowietta,” the new location will be almost twice the size of the original and will shelter up to 30 cats. It is repurposing Cleo Coffee & Ice Cream Lab on Marietta Square. (Photo by Alex Patton)

 

 

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ATLANTA — Hilton employs four baristas and four cat caretakers at the Atlanta Café. Some employees are cross-trained, but to comply with strict health regulation codes regarding mixing food with animals, the employees can’t work both jobs on the same day. Hilton said that she gets job applications all the time but rarely hires because almost her entire original staff has stayed with her since the beginning. Hilton said the new location already has a full staff and a stack of applications. (Photo by Alex Patton)

 

 

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ATLANTA — Guests can pay $10 to enter the cat lounge, where they have one hour to interact with cats who freely roam around various pieces of furniture and cat towers. If they get attached to a cat, guests can take them home on the same day. Money from the coffee sales and lounge entry benefits the Café, but cat adoption fees support PAWS Atlanta. Since Java Cats Café opened, PAWS Atlanta’s adoption rate has more than doubled. (Photo by Alex Patton)

 

 

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ATLANTA — A common misconception customers have about the Café is that anyone who visits has to bring home a cat. Hilton encourages customers to treat her business like a regular coffee shop, where they can spend an afternoon drinking coffee and doing homework without any obligation to even enter the cat lounge unless they want to. “Of course we want to find homes for the cats, but we love it when people just want to come here to hang out,” Hilton said. “I recently put a big, neon ‘Coffee Shop’ sign in the window and that has helped a lot.” (Photo by Alex Patton)

 

 

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ATLANTA — The Atlanta location has become a hub for community activities and support for local artists. Hilton and her husband, Josh Hilton, often host community discussions, networking events, and showcases of local films and art. Three large murals of the Hiltons’ personal cats, painted by 72-year-old mural painter Donna Howells and mandala painter Myra Shana. “We always try to have cool events and interesting artwork here,” Hadyn Hilton said. “We are excited to see how the new location fits into the Marietta culture.” (Photo by Alex Patton)

 

 

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ATLANTA — Guests can take their crafted “Ameowicano” or “Pur Over” coffee and food into the cat lounge with them, “at their own risk,” according to Hilton. Java Cats coffee comes from Atlanta-based Ebrik Coffee, and the pre-packaged food is prepared off-site by Gathering Industries, a local non-profit that teaches professional culinary skills to homeless people. (Photo by Alex Patton)

 

 

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ATLANTA– It’s hard for adult cats to find homes. 14-year-old Rozallia was given to Paws Atlanta when her owner passed away. The personal time Java Cats provides gives older cats like Rozallia a better chance at finding a home. “It’s sad for a cat to know a home all its life and then get put into a shelter,” Hilton said. “There’s a lot of good reasons to adopt an older cat. They have already grown into their personalities and there’s a higher chance of them not being adopted.” (Photo by Alex Patton)

 

 

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ATLANTA — Hilton is now a respected and well-known businesswoman in the Atlanta area. She has already signed a lease for the Marietta Java Cats location and has launched a GoFundMe campaign to ask for help to pay for necessary renovations on the building. The campaign has already raised almost $10,000 dollars from the community after only one month. Mural artists Howells and Shana are returning to paint new cats in the lounge. (Photo by Alex Patton)

 

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