Cat cafe hosts Sunday sensory hours with limited stimuli distractions
COLUMBIA - From jumping across tabletops to nestling between books, twenty cats call Papa’s Cat Café home. The interactive café brings people and cats together in an environment fit for both. And now on Sundays, Papa’s will be even more inclusive with sensory hours.
The café’s sensory hours will provide a calmer setting for people who need or prefer limited stimuli distractions. Lowered lights and quieter music are a part of this changed environment.
These hours will be offered on the second Sunday of the month between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. starting this weekend.
The business opened in July 2018 with the goal of opening a playroom to bring cats and people together for mutual benefit. The cats, which are from Boone County Animal Care, are nurtured and available for adoption through the café. People get the benefits of positive emotional therapy.
Owner Ryan Kennedy said the positive therapy is a leading reason why he wanted to have sensory hours at the café.
“We know that having pets and having cats is a very therapeutic experience for anybody, but that it does really help folks with autism,” Kennedy said. “We wanted to make our place more welcoming and more comfortable for people who wanted to come visit us who maybe weren't sure if it was gonna be an environment they could come to.”
The café is currently scheduling a staff training session with the Thompson Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders to further expand on the sensory hours and possible day-to-day changes to make the business more inclusive to all individuals.
Kennedy said he hopes Papa’s sensory hours will inspire other Columbia businesses to provide events and hours with limited stimuli distractions.
“One of the hopes we have in doing this and in bringing attention to the Thompson Center and the work they do is that other businesses around town will think about ‘what can we do to be more autism friendly,’” Kennedy said.
Because of the support the Thompson Center provides to the community, 10% of proceeds from Papa’s Cat Café sensory hours will be donated to the center.
To make reservations, visit Papa’s Cat Café website.