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  • Writer's pictureNick Koger

Aristocat Cafe Coming to Harrisonburg

Updated: Jul 22, 2022

Amanda Atwell, Owner of Aristocat Cafe, is building Harrisonburg’s first cat cafe. Her idea has been five years in the making, and with a few COVID setbacks, and issues identifying a location, she’s finally scheduled to launch her business. Her vision for Aristocrat Cafe is to be a welcoming space offering tea, local and house-made snacks, and adoptable cats from the Humane Society of Shenandoah County!

She attests how relationships and partnerships were foundational in getting this far. She’s been working with city officials to ensure all building and health protocols are followed, veterinarians ensure the cats have favorable space and ​​the Humane Society of Shenandoah County which provides adoptable cats. Her space will house 12-15 adoptable cats, and allow residents to rent a 60-minute playtime with a cat.

Amanda has been inspired by other cat cafes on the east coast, and her favorite is Mac Tabby in Charlotte, North Carolina. Within the four walls, Mac Tabby has a colorful interior, a divider between the cats and cafe, and 12 adoptable cats. She described how she’s seen all types of people enjoy a cat cafe: people who dart to see the cats, people who enjoy the cafe, and everyone in between.

When asked, Why cats? Amanda responded that she loves a cat’s independence. She said, “You can feel a cat’s loyalty. If they love you they love you, but if they don’t, so be it”. Amanda of course has two cats at her house, Zoe and JJ, and has always had a passion to foster cats. To my surprise, Amanda’s passion for cats hasn’t stopped even though she’s allergic to them!

Family, people, and community have been foundational in her life. She thanked the Harrisonburg community who has been so supportive of her, local businesses and organizations who helped partner and guide her, and most of all her grandmother. She believes the money she inherited after her grandmother passed, was pivotal to building her business. Her grandmother loved her garden and so as a thank you, she plans for the cat room to be garden themed.

Aristocrat Cafe is scheduled to launch September 2022.


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