Open your social media or turn on your television and there’s a good chance you’ll see something come through from an animal shelter.

Each year, around 6.3 million companion animals enter shelters across the U.S. Of that number, around 3.1 million are dogs and 3.2 million are cats — with both numbers steadily growing, reports the ASPCA.

As shelters struggle with finances to keep doors open, space to take in more animals and the lack of volunteers to help, animal advocates are looking at other ways to promote adoption of cats, dogs and other pets.

One of these other options has been the development of cat cafes.

Cat cafes are clever ways to connect the community with adoptable kitties of all ages outside of shelters. And unlike dogs, who need to be walked or potty outside, cats are easy to keep inside and able to be left alone at night with litter boxes, climbing trees and other cat-centric items to keep them entertained.

The NoCo Cat Cafe is located at 121 E. Fifth St. in Loveland. (Tamara Markard/Staff Reporter)

This past August, northern Colorado welcomed its own cat café next to Verboten Brewing in downtown Loveland.

The NoCo Cat Café , 121 E. Fifth St., is co-owned by cat-loving couple Christopher and Kimberly Tejchma-Sanford.

“We lived in Las Vegas for a number of years and we followed someone who was attempting to open a cat café in downtown Las Vegas. We went to some the events and we just thought it was a great idea,” Christopher Tejchma-Sanford explained. “So when we moved to Colorado four years ago we were in a position to where we wanted to open our own business and were kicking around some ideas.”

However, once COVID made its way into the U.S. the couple “went back to the drawing board” to reconsider what type of business they wanted to launch.

“We just kept coming back to the idea that we wanted to do something that would be sort of something the community could come around — something that everybody enjoyed,” Christopher Tejchma-Sanford said. “We love cats and animals and we just kept coming back to the cat café and how do we do it.”

The NoCo Cat Cafe in Loveland is a great place to connect with cats, unwind and share some love. (Tamara Markard/Staff Reporter)

The couple reached out to the cat café community for advice, suggestions, dos and don’ts and other research before deciding to open their own establishment.

“We did a pop-up event in 2021 at the Gressiwick and that was sort of our proof of concept,” explained Christopher Tejchma-Sanford. “We didn’t really know what to expect at that event but we sold out with 150 tickets and adopted out 13 cats. We knew the concept had legs here in northern Colorado, so we started looking for a space.”

Like regular cafes, coffee shops and eateries, the NoCo Cat Café sells a variety of fresh baked goodies like scones, cookies, coffee cakes and donuts from Feel Love as well as coffee from Dark Heart Coffee Bar, teas and various refrigerated beverages.

Cats at the NoCo Cat Cafe have run of the front and back of the house and can be found lounging on tables, on special cat shelves aligned along the wall and in the windows of the cafe. (Tamara Markard/Staff Reporter)

Whether you’re looking for a different work scene, noodling on getting a cat companion of your own, or just want to play with cats and not have the full responsibility of taking care of them, the café welcomes everyone.

“The cats very much love to have people come and go and they also need to have their ‘me’ time and the cats have spaces in the back where they can go if they want to be alone,” Christopher Tejchma-Sanford said.

First time visitor and Loveland resident Peggy Loch thinks the café is a great addition to the Loveland area.

“I just recently lost my long-time kitty of 19 years. So I need another fur baby and I thought this was a good way to come and get to know the cats they have. You can go online and see what cats they have and come in and meet them,” Loch said. “It’s just such a wonderful project they’ve taken on and I hope they do really well. I’m all about supporting local businesses.”

NoCo Cat Cafe founders, Kimberly and Christopher Tejchma-Sanford visit with some of their furry residents. (Tamara Markard/Staff Reporter)

The café’s current resident list consists of Baby Blue, Fulton, Icy, Eggnog, Blizzard, Jillian, Felix, Noelle, Violet, Scarlet and Pickles.

The café generally houses 10-15 different cats at one time, Kimberly Tejchma-Sanford said. The café’s cats range in age from three months old up to 13 years old, with each having a personality as colorful and unique as their coat colorings.

All of the cats living at the café are available for adoption through the Colorado Kitty Coalition.

The foster-based organization is run by Arika McClelland and is located in Fort Collins. The organization rescues kittens and cats of all ages and provides medical care and social interaction in preparation for adoption.

Adoption applications can be found at www.cokittycoalition.com and potential parents will be contacted by the organization within 48-hours of their applications submission. All adoptions are first come/first served with an approved application.

Adoption fees are $200 for kittens and cats age 2 and younger and $100 for adult cats age 3 and older. Adoption fees include vaccinations, deworming, microchip and spay or neuter.

“All of the adoption fees go to Colorado Kitty Coalition,” Kimberly Tejchma-Sanford said.

The cats featured at NoCo Cat Cafe come from Colorado Kitty Coalition, a rescue group. All the cats are available for adoption and have seen a vet to receive a clean bill of health. (Tamara Markard/Staff Reporter)

To learn more about the Colorado Kitty Coalition, to make a donation or to see other adoptable kittens and cats, go to www.cokittycoalition.com .

To date, the cat café has adopted out over 140 felines, Kimberly Tejchma-Sanford said.

Along with the Colorado Kitty Coalition, the couple has partnered with World’s Best Cat Litter, Open Farm, The Spice and Tea Exchange, Dark Heart Coffee and Feel Love Coffee to offer residents in northern Colorado the opportunity to experience a cat café.

The café also offers a variety of events such as yoga with cats, game nights and more.

The café has collaborated with the Tom Davis Saloon to host a screening to the new documentary, “Cat Daddies” at 5 p.m. Sunday at 450 N. Cleveland Ave. Admission is $8 per person and all ages are welcome to attend.

A list of events is available at the café’s website .

A furry feline gets a treat at the NoCo Cat Cafe in Loveland. (Tamara Markard/Staff Reporter)

Admission to the NoCo Cat Café is $12 per person for all ages or $10 for seniors, veterans and college students with a valid I.D. Frequent visitors can opt for the café’s monthly membership of $48 per month, which includes $1 off coffee and goodies. Reservations are not required to visit the kitty crew.

“The admission fee is important to help provide a space for the cats to live,” Christopher Tejchma-Sanford said.

All ages are welcome to visit the café and its residents, however, an adult must directly supervise children ages 10 and younger. The café upholds a strict policy of no running, chasing or playing rough with the kitties.

And while the Tejchma-Sanfords love cats, patrons are asked to leave their own pets at home for the safety of both humans and animals.

Depending on how things go in Loveland, Christopher and Kimberly Tejchma-Sanford have plans to open more cat cafes around the region, possibly in Greeley or Fort Collins.

“Our overall mission is to get cats adopted, but within that mission statement we also want to help the families find the right fit,” Christopher Tejchma-Sanford said. “We want to try to fit the right family with the right cat.”

If you go:

• What: NoCo Cat Cafe

• Where: 121 E. Fifth St., Loveland

• When: From 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday

• Cost: $12 admission fee for all ages

• For more information, go to www.nococatcafe.com , https://bit.ly/3SouH1v on Facebook or @nococatcafe on Instagram.


This article was originally published in Greeley Tribune