Cuddle kitties at SA’s first cat café

Posted by Aimee Pace on 17 April 2019

Cat-lovers can now support rescue cats while enjoying a slice of cake, a cup of coffee and a side of kitty cuddles at Cat Heaven Rescue Cat Café in Cape Town.

If you’re a not-so-crazy cat lady, a proud cat dad or you simply can’t get enough of friendly felines, this café is the place for you.

Kitted out with all sorts of adorable cat merchandise, visitors can find the purrrfect gift here and enjoy the company of a few special kitties at the same time.

All sorts of cat-inspired gifts on display at Cat Heaven

Valerie Steinmann, a retired academic from Cape Town, spent almost 20 years travelling the world and it was when she came across “a true cat lover’s shop” in Thun, Switzerland that her cat crusade began.

Steinmann became enchanted by her discovery and her passion for “all things cat” was ignited, leading her to collect unique cat gifts from around the globe and gather them all under one roof.

Cat-themed purses and shopping bags

To share her kitty treasures with local feline lovers, Valerie opened Cat Heaven, her own Cat Gift Shop. Here, visitors are transported to a cat lover’s paradise.

Once her dreams of travelling, shopping and cats came true, a new dream was born. “After four visits to Japan, I decided to open my own unique Cat Café back home. Where most Cat Cafés deal with special breeds… the beautiful cats, ours is different, aimed at assisting cats in need of a home, a first in South Africa,” says Valerie.

Guests can enjoy a paw-some array of unique gifts, from rare collector items to clothing, jewellery, books, fabric, stationary, toys, ornaments, homeware, chocolates, bumper stickers, mats, and more cat-inspired gifts than you can imagine.

Sweet and unique cat soaps available for purchase


Once you’ve had your fill of shopping, you can head into the cat café for a slice of cake with tea or coffee and some curious cat visitors.

The homey setting allows the resident felines to enjoy a lovely garden with an outdoor jungle gym and lots of catnip along with a charming indoor play area complete with a jungle gym, scratching posts, cosy beds, hammocks, mirrors (which they adore), as well as lots of toys for their amusement.

“Most of our kitties have been rescued from Stellenbosch Animal Welfare. Our very first kitties included four ginger and white cats: Major (male) and Coco (female) are brother and sister. Then we have Benji and Sunshine. Sunshine has been given this positive name because of her very ‘sad’ eyes. We have three black and white cats: Gigi (the smallest and friendliest of all the cats), Tutu (with a white collar) and Barack. We have five tabbies. Jolo is the mother of Oz, Prince and Aurora. Then there is Messi who has a knot on the end of his tail (present at birth and not due to any injury). The next arrivals comprised three tortoise-shell cats, Patches, Zaza and Amore. We also have two tortoise-shell cats from Khayelitsha, Cici and Lady, said Steinmann.

Four more kitties are coming from Stellenbosch Animal Welfare: Faith has arrived already, and Hope and Chatterley are coming soon as well as Paulie – named after Val’s husband Paul in celebration of his 80th birthday – bringing the total to 20 adorable rescue cats.” says Cat Heaven spokesperson Posy Hazell.

While you enjoy your sweet treat, you can bask in the cuteness of a variety of cats as they make their way over to meet you and perhaps even settle down at your table for a nap.

A cat who came to say hello

“Our Cat Café was built and designed with the happiness and pleasure of our cats as a priority. To ensure our cats are well fed and have access to medical care, we charge an entrance fee along with the sale of coffee, tea, soft drinks, cakes, cookies, biltong, popcorn and Paddle Pops. All our cats are micro-chipped, vaccinated, treated for fleas and worms, insured, groomed daily and bathed when required. We have a display area with pictures of all our cats on a wall, along with their names to ensure that patrons can get to know them individually. We have a list of very necessary Cat Café rules and a zero-tolerance policy for anyone causing distress to our furry children,” says Valerie, who is currently studying Ethology, specialising in cats, and will soon be graduating as a Cat Behaviourist. 

While you enjoy the cosy cat company your cake options range from classic lemon meringue to a delightful vanilla and caramel cake which we can recommend highly, the cat-themed crockery also adds the purrfect touch to an already amazing experience.

Cat Heaven Rescue Cat Café is a non-profit organisation. All funds generated at the Café go towards the feeding and maintenance of the health and welfare of the resident cats and their environment. Any excess funds are donated to animal charities.

“Our mission is to tell people, don’t buy animals, rescue them from shelters. The best part of our work here is seeing all the different personalities, you could write a book about each one. See our cats come out of their cages literally and figuratively is amazing, we love to see them being happy and free,” says Valerie.

A sleepy cat dozes off at our table

More information on Cat Heaven Rescue Cat Café:

– The entrance fee to the café is R20.

– Coffee, tea, soft drinks, cakes, cookies, biltong, popcorn and Paddle Pops are served. Birthday cakes are permissible by prior arrangement.

– Cat Heaven’s premises offer ample parking and good security.

Rules of Cat Heaven’s Rescue Cat Café

1.  Please sanitise your hands on entering the Cat Café.

2.  Do not pull a cat by its tail, whiskers or any part of its body.

3.  Do not attempt to hold or carry a cat. They may sit on your lap if they like you though.

4.  Cats do not like loud or sudden music. Talk softly at all times and do not chase the cats.

5.  Photographs are welcomed, but no flash photography. Cats’ eyes are very sensitive.

6.  Do not wake a sleeping cat or disturb a cat while it is eating.

7.  Only food purchased at the Café may be consumed on the premises.

8.  High-heeled shoes are prohibited.

“There are two means of refuge from the misery of life – music and cats!” – Albert Schweitzer


Contact: 083 357 2527

Address: 35 Bright Street, Somerset West Cape Town, Western Cape 7130


Images: Supplied/Aimeë Pace


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