Cats and coffee: Georgetown cafe fuses fun and felines

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Margot Durfee

On a typical Sunday night, I’m at home, grinding through endless amounts of homework for hours. Going out on a Sunday night would be unheard of. Until I found out about Crumbs and Whiskers.

Located in Georgetown on O Street, Crumbs and Whiskers is a cat cafe that houses around 30 cats, all of which were previously homeless or stray. The cafe’s goal is to rescue cats from high-kill shelters and provide them a temporary residence before preparing them for adoption. Because they need to take care of the cats, the prices are relatively steep: Reservations are mandatory, and with a $22 fee, customers can stay for seventy minutes to sip coffee, do some work, and — most importantly — hang out with cats.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted a cat. It’s not that I don’t love dogs, but I like the independence and low maintenance of cats. Much to my disappointment early on, my mom told me she was allergic. I figured the closest I could get to having a cat– other than my neighbor’s cat that turns up at our doorstep meowing for food — was to go to a cat cafe. And that’s how I ended up spending my Sunday evening sitting on a couch surrounded by sleeping cats.

I recommend bringing a friend or family member with you because sitting in a room for seventy minutes by yourself could feel very long. I went with one of my friends and my younger sister. If you know me, you know that I’m always running late. When we hurried through the door five minutes late, two employees immediately rushed to us and said, “Please close the door!” We were confused at first, until we saw a small black cat standing in front of the door, ready to jump out.

After everyone calmed down, we were given a menu with food (overpriced macaroons) and drinks. Unless you want to spend $5 on low-grade hot chocolate, I wouldn’t buy anything. Instead, I would use that money to pick up a drink at the Kung Fu Tea a few blocks away or steaming ramen from Oki Bowl.

The cafe itself was quite a large space, with two floors of seats and cushions with napping cats. Reservations are mandatory in order to ensure a good person-to-cat ratio. Luckily, I was able to find a nice seat in front of a large window, with three cats napping on it. The atmosphere was nice but most of the cats were still taking their afternoon naps, so we spent a lot of time sitting and petting sleeping cats (some of which woke up and moved somewhere else before falling asleep again).

Almost every cat was wearing a color-coded collar: pink for females, blue for males, and checkered for what the employees described as “sassy cats”. Those that did not like to wear a collar did not have one on. My favorite cat, Seashell, was a young, speckled brown “sassy cat”. My sister thought it was extremely amusing watching her jump across tables to catch various cat toys we tossed in her direction.

Towards the end, an enthusiastic employee checked in with us, took a Polaroid photo, and said if we brought our student IDs next time, we could spend the whole day there for around $30. I thought the cafe was fun and relaxing, but I don’t think I could last a whole day sitting next to sleeping cats and not eat a proper meal.