In the Spotlight with Terra Brantley (Black Forest Cat Café)

Published: Oct. 27, 2022 at 4:19 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 27, 2022 at 4:20 PM EDT
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) - At the very least, it’s a trendy café with great coffee — but at the most, it’s a new business with a higher purpose, giving some pets a new leash on life. And because after just a few months over a hundred cats have found their forever homes, the Black Forest Cat Café is ‘in the spotlight’ this week. Though popularity of cat cafes have been growing across the country, mother-daughter duo Emily and Julie Pressler were the first to bring it to Fort Wayne — their business opening earlier this year off of Goldwater Road.

“We have followed cat cafes for years, and just realized the value they bring to a city as far as helping people adopt pets,” Julie told us. The café partners with Animal Care and Control. The shelter brings several cats to their location. They live in a segregated room with all the toys, food, and litter boxes a feline could need. But due to the local and regional interest, their stays usually aren’t too long. “Some will only be here for one day. Some will be here for a month,” Emily added. “It just depends on how long it takes somebody to find that connection.”

In four months time, Black Forest Cat Café surpassed 100 adoptions. Enter their establishment, and you’ll see their current count — with polaroid photos of every single cat (and new owner) who has found a doting owner. “It’s pretty much at least every day — and more and more being brought to us the next day,” Emily said. “It’s been pretty crazy along the way, and a lot faster than we were expecting.”

And to put the buzz on this new place into perspective, when the Pressler’s announced they were hiring, they were flooded with over 140 applications in just two days. Barista Hannah Bond-Gentie was among the first hired. Since she started working there, Hannah adopted her second cat. “Two is probably the max that we’re going to have at the moment but we would love to get more cats,” she told us. “Every time I see a bunch of other cats coming in here I fall in love with them and then I get upset that I can’t take another cat home. I would love more cats, but I just can’t have any more right now!” She isn’t in the minority. Every employee who works there is clearly passionate about cats — each one has adopted at least once — except Emily. “I take care of so many community cats,” she explained. “I’m pretty much full at my house!”

Apart from the obvious attraction of the Black Forest Cat Café, the business also sells pastries, coffee, and specialty drinks. There are several windows for viewing into the cat room for those that want to enjoy the felines from afar. “Even if you’re allergic, you can still come into the café side and look at all the cats through the window,” Hannah shared. “You can still come in and visit the cats in the cat lounge, or just get a cup of coffee.”

“There’s been a lot of stress in the world lately, and you can go to just relax and be with animals and hopefully find your forever friend,” Julie concluded. Black Forest Cat Café is located at 4716 Coldwater Road. Its hours are 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday. They are open from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. It costs $10 to spend 55 minutes in the cat lounge. More information can be found here.