Business Spotlight: Gem City Catfe

A shot of the Catfe's exterior. (Taken by Staff Photographer Brian Walker)

While the Gem City Catfé is well known in the Dayton area, there are still some who are in the dark about this exemplary business. 

“The Catfé is a coffee shop with adoptable rescue cats on-site in a fully separate cat lounge,” owner Karin Gudal said. “We have a cafe seating side which has separate air from the cat lounge so that even people with allergies can still visit! In fact, allergies are not a problem because we have separate HVAC systems so air does not cross from the cat lounge into the cafe. Overall, we focus on adoption and education.” 

Combining noble work with the popular coffee shop inner-city set-up, the Catfé is a nice place not only to enjoy yourself, but also a convenient way to support a great cause. 

Gudal is passionate about the growth of this business.

“Our goal was to create an approachable space,” said Gudal. “We want to reach new people that might not be aware of the animal welfare issues in our community and create a way to discuss solving those problems in a positive light. We also feel it’s a fun addition to the growing downtown area of Dayton. We’ve had a great year and a half and are so grateful for how supportive the community has been of Gem City Catfé and Gem City Kitties.” 

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This kitty expresses himself similarly to how most college kids feel every Monday. (Taken by Staff Photographer Brian Walker)

You may be wondering – where do all of the cats at this establishment come from?

“The cats come from our 501(c)3 rescue partner, Gem City Kitties,” said Gudal “Gem City Kitties transfers cats from other shelters in our area who need help. We prefer to transfer cats from open intake shelters, which means they are legally required to accept animals and unfortunately must kill for space if they are full. Several of our partners are doing fantastic work with their programs and we’re happy to help them keep spots open so that they can continue to avoid killing for space.”

In order to keep everybody safe, healthy and happy in the Catfé, high quality care is provided for the kitties.

“Our staff cares for all the cats. Everyone is paid for their time, which is part of what the cat lounge fees help us cover,” said Gudal “We are open 7 days a week for fairly long hours to make sure the cats have plenty of time for socialization and enrichment. We also have to make sure that people are able to come in on holidays when we’re closed to the public. Labor is definitely our largest expense but a key part of making sure the cats are receiving top notch care.” 

As might be expected, helping so many animals is not without its difficulties. Gudal explains how ethical issues are heavily intertwined within this area of business.“There are always difficult ethical decisions in animal welfare. We’re facing a crisis where we have too many pets and not enough homes for them. It’s always a challenge to determine how funds are best used and how to make the most impact with our limited resources.”

However, the Catfé staff do their best to make a positive impact.

“There will always be items which pop up and aren’t planned. It varies on what those issues are but we try to be flexible and do our best not to let them get overwhelming.”

“The best part is working with a team who has a common goal. Animal welfare can be tiring and frustrating but working with a positive group of people makes it encouraging and feels like a worthwhile investment of time and energy. I think we’ve seen an impact already from our organization in a short time and we can see a better future now as well.”

The cats of the Catfe are very cuddly and love company. (Photos by Brian Walker)

As a business and community, the Catfé seems to be a thriving success. If you wish to enjoy some warm coffee, snuggle with kitties or support this honorable animal welfare cause, stop by the Gem City Catfé today!

Anwen Harris

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