Southpaw began as a conversation at Cafe Chat Siberien, in Chelsea, Quebec. Towards the end of April of 2016, Scott and a friend had taken a road trip to Ottawa for the day, and over coffee the two mused over how well the cat cafe concept might do in Kingston - a student city with traditionally liberal values and a progressive attitude. Upon returning home, Scott got to work. 6 months later, Southpaw opened its doors for the first time, on November 5th, 2016. Since then, the cafe has been a temporary foster for dozens of cats, and together with their partners at Kingston Animal Rescue, has found forever homes for more than 40 of them. The cafe has slowly been expanding its menu and retail offerings since conception, now including a few different 100% vegan options for food and drink, as well as innovative dessert ideas such as the Nom Nom Bowls, a safe-to-eat raw cookie dough dessert served in an edible waffle bowl! The cafe now offers special events such as birthday parties, Yoga with Cats, Movie Nights, Sewing Workshops, Family Days, and after hours events like Game of Thrones parties and more!
FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
Can I bring my own cat?
Unfortunately, but emphatically, no. While we would love to meet your pets and we're sure they're awesome, all of the cats we have at the cafe come to us through our partners at the rescue. As such, we know that our animals are all healthy and friendly and work well in the busy, stressful cafe environment. It's not for all animals! Please don't bring your own pets.
Why can't my child visit with the cats?
We have a rule that no children under the age of 10 can visit with the cats. This is for several reasons; it is not to single out any individual child, but in general, children and cats can both be somewhat unpredictable. To limit the risk of injury or trauma to either our cats or our customers, children under 10 are typically not permitted in the cat room even if supervised. This is not only for the cats, but also in consideration for the other customers in the cat area at the time. A room full of kids can get quite busy and out of hand very quickly, and we are trying to create a relaxed, stress-free atmosphere. That being said, we do have designated days where we allow kids in the room, typically once per month. Have a look at our events page for our next Family Day! Please be respectful of this rule, as it is put in place for a good reason. Thank you for your understanding!
How do I go about adopting one of the cats?
All of the adoptions go through our partners at Kingston Animal Rescue. Visit their page and find the "Adopt" link; all of the animals we have at the cafe are available for adoption on their website. Fill out the online application and you should receive a response within 48 hours.
How much does it cost to adopt a cat?
The cost for adopting through Kingston Animal Rescue is as follows: $225 for kittens (under 1 year), $175 for adults (1 year to 10 years), $100 for seniors (over 10 years). These prices are subject to change, but are up to date and accurate at the time of writing. Included in this price, the animals come spayed/neutered, fully vaccinated, dewormed and microchipped. You will also receive 6 weeks of complimentary pet insurance! Save a life. Save some money. #AdoptDontShop
Why do I have to make a purchase before I visit the cats?
Well, ultimately, this is a business. In order to keep doing what we're doing, we need to sell things to pay the bills! Try our coffee and a meal, or grab a dessert on your way out the door - we promise you won't be disappointed!
If we come in as a group of 4, does everyone need to make a purchase?
Yes. If you come in as a group, either everyone needs to make a purchase, or one person needs to make a purchase equivalent to $4 per person, for everyone in the group (or however you'd like to split it up), but everyone must make a purchase to visit with the cats. While this may seem like a lot to ask, there are costs associated with fostering the cats in the cafe, and in the day-to-day operations of the cafe in general. Please be respectful of this rule - we can only continue to provide this space for the cats and for our customers with your support!
Where do you get your coffee/tea from? Do you bake all your desserts in house?
All of our coffee and tea comes from Equator Coffee Roasters in Almonte, Ottawa, the majority of our desserts come from Fardella's Classic Bakery, our vegan baked goods come from the Black Cat Bakery, our Wednesday feature cupcakes come from Britta's Couture Cupcakes and our cheesecake comes from The Cheesecakery Bakery. All of these are independent, locally owned small businesses.
When Southpaw opened, we knew that we had to be more than just the cats, if we wanted to keep people coming back. Staying as local as possible, with sustainability in mind has been one of our main objectives. The coffee and tea is fair trade and certified organic and all of our desserts are baked fresh locally and are delivered daily.
Can I stay all day?
As long as the cat room is not at capacity and there are no other customers waiting for a seat, you may stay as long as you'd like! If the room is full and there are customers waiting, we enforce a 30 minute rule as a courtesy. If you'd rather spend more time with the cats, contact us to find out when off-peak hours are to maximize your time!
Do you offer free WiFi?
Yes! Just ask for the password at the counter.
S T A F F
Scott Fardella, Owner-operator, Professional Cat Wrangler
Mackenzie Chambers, Barista Extraordinaire, Official Sunriser
Shelby VanLuven, Coffee Champion, Anime Aficionado
Cathleen O'Brien, Latte Artiste, Good Vibes Enthusiast.