CATfeinated bliss at St. Pete’s Sunshine Kitty Cafe

By Mike Martinez Community & Culture Beat Reporter

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A one-of-a-kind oasis is located right in the heart of St. Petersburg, where coffee lovers can indulge alongside feline companions. Introducing the Sunshine Kitty Cafe, where a blend of coffee and cat companionship creates an environment of relaxation.

The cafe’s main purpose is to provide shelter for foster cats waiting for adoption. These cats were given a safe haven at the cafe by no-kill animal rescue shelters. The cafe allows guests to meet and interact with adoptable cats and provide them with a future home if visitors wish to adopt them.

To see these cats, guests must make an appointment on the cafe’s website: An email will be sent with rules included before visiting the café and instructions on how to reach the building. The building is easy to find by identifying its vibrant artwork done by artist Jimmy Breen located on top.

Jimmy Breen’s artwork, a well-known St. Petersburg artist, is located on top of the cafe.

When the time comes for the reservation, guests are asked to wait outside the building to give time for the cats to rest before they are played with.

Once checked in, guests are asked to remove their shoes and reminded of the rules for interacting with the cats. Guests are also asked to glance at the menu where they can order beverages ranging from orange juice to coffee.

Guests are then welcomed into a room named the “Cat Lounge” filled with foster cats roaming around, climbing cat shelves and glancing at the television screen trying to capture virtual squirrels.

These furry companions can come up to guests to be pet or played with, this interaction can lead guests to look at the cat’s tags to find out the unique names given to them.

The cafe features a wall that showcases all of the cafe’s uniquely named cats.

“Some cats are more unique than others, the rescue is in charge of naming the cats,” said Amanda Jones, Founder and CEO. “The rescues tend to get creative after you have taken a lot of cats.”

By the end of 2023, more than 200 cats have been adopted from the cafe since it first opened in December 2020.

The shelters the café works with are Friends of Strays, CJPAWS Inc. and Skyway Cats.

Friends of Strays, a no-kill shelter with a passion for feline welfare, has entrusted Sunshine Kitty Catfe with the care of foster cats awaiting their forever homes. This collaboration is a shared dedication to creating a safe space where these cats can find comfort and future loving families.

With CJPAWS Inc. and Skyway Cats, the cafe extends its reach to welcome more feline friends in search of a second chance.

“We’re passionate about feline welfare. Trusting the café with the care of our foster kitties to create safe spaces where they can find comfort and loving families,” said Bronwyn Stanford, founder of CJPAWS Inc.

Inspired by a tiny kitten named Zoe, Stanford began her journey in animal welfare. Zoe, discovered on the streets of Miami alongside her sister, captured Stanford’s heart.

While her sister thrived, Zoe’s struggle with thoracic fluid led to a six-week battle that she couldn’t overcome. The connection with Zoe fueled Stanford’s dedication to making a broader impact on the lives of vulnerable animals. Moved by the love and resilience of animals like Zoe, CJPAWS was born.

Skyway Cats shares a similar goal to find a home for its kittens.

Kim Caswell, a retired Verizon executive, joined community cat care in 2018, addressing overpopulation in St. Pete Beach. In 2020, she became integral to the Skyway cat group. Managing colonies in two cities, Kim, with her family of five rescue cats, plays a vital role as the founder of Skyway Cats.

“Skyway Cats is thrilled to be part of the cafe’s mission,” Caswell said. “Our partnership with the cafe hands a warm welcome to more feline friends in search of a second chance. Together, we’re dedicated to positive change in the lives of these cats.”

Their commitment to the well-being of cats aligns with Sunshine Kitty Catfe, for positive change in the lives of these cats.

As visitors enjoy their beverages and spend time with the cafe’s unique felines, they will come across narratives involving the difficulties that these foster cats have been through. These cats have faced tough times but have found comfort in the welcoming atmosphere of the Cat Lounge.

Each cat’s story is a reminder of the difficulties homeless and abandoned animals go through. In this safe place, you can see their strength, which reflects the mission of Sunshine Kitty Catfe.

205 cats have been adopted from the cafe since it first opened in December 2020.