Coffee & kitties: Cat cafe owner saves hundreds of stray animals

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- When Renee Reed first moved to Houston's East End a few years ago, she noticed her neighborhood was overrun with stray cats.

"The cats kind of brought me into the rescue world," she said. "I have been a cat person since I was a young age."

Reed had heard of cat cafés popping up in other cities, so she decided to create the first one in Houston to help stray felines find their forever homes.

"I started with a Kickstarter campaign," she said. "Fortunately there were a lot of people who loved the idea and supported us through it. That was definitely the seed money to get everything going. I think we raised about $40,000."

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Thanks to the money raised, she was able to open El Gato Coffeehouse in The Heights. The cafe includes a food truck that serves coffee and snacks, and a cat cottage that houses adoptable cats from the Houston rescue group Friends for Life.

"The environment here at the cafe gives people really a feel of what an animal is going to be like in their home," said Jennifer Hodges of Friends for Life.

Since opening last year, El Gato Coffeehouse has now helped around 200 cats find their forever homes. The cafe also hosts events like "Saturday Morning Cartoons" with bottomless cups of coffee and "Yoga with Cats".

For more information, visit El Gato Coffeehouse.

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