Janet Pao’s Moon Cat Cafe provides a space to cuddle with adorable, adoptable cats while enjoying a cup of joe. However, unlike similar cafes, Moon Cat Cafe is on wheels.
Animal cafes have long been popular in other parts of the world, with Los Angeles getting its first permanent cat cafe, D.C.-based Crumbs & Whiskers, in 2016. This was followed by CatCafe Lounge in Culver City in February. Pao tells We Like L.A. that because many people in the U.S. don’t know what a cat cafe is, she wanted to be able to bring a unique experience to them.
“Mobility has really given me a lot of amazing opportunities to connect with many different communities and help support many small local rescues,” Pao said. “And that wouldn’t have been possible if Moon Cat Cafe was a traditional brick-and-mortar cat cafe.”
Moon Cat Cafe visits various neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles and Orange counties. These locations and dates are posted to the cafe’s website. There are no reservations required; all someone has to do is show up at the appropriate place and time.
The truck is split into a merchandise space and a completely separate cat cafe area. While poking around the merchandise area is free, access to the cafe costs $12. The price includes one pastry; one reusable coaster; and either a bottled water, cup of hot coffee, or bottle of cold brew. Coffee and pastries come courtesy Elabrew Coffee in downtown Los Angeles and Kape Republik in Cerritos. Notably, both business are founded by women of color.
Access to Moon Cat Cafe is first-come, first served. The mobile cafe is temperature-controlled for both guests’ and the cats’ enjoyment. There are typically at least three to four cats in the cafe at any given time. Most will be adult or senior cats, and each one comes via from Moon Cat Cafe’s nonprofit rescue partners. Pao said she works with “small, local, volunteer-based organizations that foster cats out of their own homes, as well as conduct adoptions at local pet supply stores.” These cats may have been pulled from shelters, off the streets, or out of crisis situation—for instance, in homes where abuse or hoarding is discovered—but they all need homes. Statistically, adult and senior cats have a much harder time finding a home than kittens or young cats. If you are interested in adopting one of the cats at Moon Cat Cafe, a volunteer will be on hand to talk about your options.
There’s no set time limit, but visitors will usually spend 15 minutes to a half hour in the cafe, with consideration given to whether there is a line outside or not.
Pao also has two cats of her own: Sigfrey, 18, and Sampson, 10. “They’re both very affectionate, and are the reason I have a special place in my heart for senior kitties.”