Grab some coffee and hang out with cats at Colony Cafe

PITTSBURGH What’s likely to be Pittsburgh’s first cat cafe is expected to open in the Strip District in January.

Owner-operators Erik and Sue Hendrickson recently signed the lease on a building at 1125 Penn Ave., around the corner from the Sen. John Heinz History Center, for the Colony Cafe.

There patrons will be able to sip wine or coffee on the first floor and hang out with 10-12 cats in the “cat loft” on the second floor. The cats will come from the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society, and will live on the second floor until they’re adopted.

Artisanal coffee and a curated wine collection will be available on the first floor.

Cat-loving customers can pay a small fee to take their beverages upstairs if they wish to mix and mingle and de-stress by visiting the cats.

Long-time Brooklyn residents, the Hendricksons gave up corporate careers in New York City, where there are four cat cafes, to move to Pittsburgh, where there currently are none.

Looking for a new hometown that included “cultural diversity,” the couple picked Pittsburgh and have bought a house in Shadyside.

While the property lease for the Colony Cafe is signed, the couple needs to obtain a liquor license and refurbish the building, which used to house a coffee shop.

The Hendricksons love cats and have two of their own – Frank and Henry – who they rescued 11 years ago from a parking loft in Astoria, Queens.

Frank and Henry will not hang out at Colony Cafe. The cafe is for shelter cats that need permanent homes.

Cat cafes have been popular in Japan, starting in the 1990s, and the trend moved on to other big cities.

Another cat cafe, the Black Cat Market, is in the planning stages, but a location and opening date have not yet been announced. That cafe would be “staffed” by cats from the Animal Rescue League Shelter & Wildlife Center.

For more information, visitwww.colonycafep gh.com or www.blackcatmarket.com.