Calling all Hudson Valley cat lovers! There’s a new cat café in Beacon.
After Morgan’s Cat Café in Red Hook closed at the end of 2019, Dutchess County was left without a dedicated place to sip cappuccinos while cuddling up with sweet four-legged friends. Luckily for local animal aficionados, the arrival of another pet-centric space was in the works. In Beacon, Jessica Strika opened Beans Cat Cafe on Main Street for one prime reason: she loves cats.
“I’m a full-blown crazy cat lady and proud of it,” she says. “They’re basically the center of my existence.”
Strika has always enjoyed working with animals. At a young age, she aspired to be a veterinarian as many children do. As she grew older, she frequented the Dutchess County SPCA and made donations when she could. Keeping animals social is important, and she put in the time to do just that.
When she finally adopted her first kitten, she thought it was the greatest thing ever.
“I could get a million of these,” Stika laughs, “but my husband objected.” She realized that if she couldn’t have a horde of cats in her own home, maybe she could help those in her area find other homes.
The idea for a Hudson Valley cat café came a little over a year ago. Strika’s first cat goes by “Bean,” and Strika loves coffee — it was perfect.
Strika and her husband started looking at different locations in Poughkeepsie, Wappingers Falls, New Paltz, and elsewhere in the region. From the start, they had a checklist of requirements for their dream location. No matter where they landed, there needed to be a reputable establishment nearby for aiding vagrant felines, a landlord open to furry pets, and a community of people with the same passion for battling animal homelessness.
The arrival of the pandemic added an unforeseen twist to Strika’s journey to open a cat café in the Hudson Valley. Yet in March 2020, she took the leap of faith and left her career to focus on the business full-time. Crowdfunding through sites like GoFundMe and Bonfire helped the idea quickly become a reality.
She chose Beacon as her location because it provides the sense of community she needs to be successful in her mission. When scouting town, she saw a sign in the window of the former salon Sexy Nails that simply read, “Call Frank.” She did, and soon they were planning the opening in the very same space.
Open since mid-November in the Hudson Valley, Beans Cat Cafe is an eclectic coffee bar and specialty cat lounge in Dutchess County. After ordering coffee-based drinks like black and white lattes, hot maple cider, or “hair raiser” energy drink, visitors can pop into the cat lounge for a pet session.
Although Beans Cat Cafe is relatively new to the Hudson Valley, it has already received an abundance of support from the community.
“Owners of other businesses in the community and also just people walking by have come in to give us words of encouragement and pieces of advice. Everyone has been really empathetic to our cause. They want to do anything they can to help the animals,” Strika notes.
A partnership with Hudson Valley Animal Rescue and Sanctuary in Poughkeepsie helps place countless kitties into new, loving homes. Strika limits the amount of cats in her café to eight at a time in order to give them an adequate amount of space; oftentimes the demand for sheltering animals dominates the supply of room, creating overcrowded conditions. The cozy-chic atmosphere promises a calming and healthy environment for rescues in need.
To start, Strika’s goal is to place 300 cats in new families in her first year of business.
That goal moves more into sight every day. Since the café opened in mid-November, several of its long-tailed tenants have already moved in with their adopters.
The inaugural adoption class of Beans Cat Cafe included some incredibly vibrant personalities with equally individual names. Uptown Boy would follow patrons all around the room, begging to be held. Autumn was more reserved and watched guests with a curious eye from a distance. Becky continues to run along the catwalks, ceaselessly energetic when in the mood to play.
“One of our cats, Charlie, was found on the street in Newburgh. He had a pretty nasty bite on his neck from a dog. In just two weeks, he went from living on the streets to being neutered, sent to the shelter, and brought to our café,” Strika reveals. “Despite all that, the fluffy monster is so friendly, loves being pet, and could have a home in no time.”
Beans Cat Cafe is open Wednesdays through Sundays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. In order to guarantee everyone time to get to know the cats, Strika requires appointments be made online in 30-minute increments for uninterrupted feline fun.
From playing with them to cuddling and watching them, visitors are free to show the animals plenty of love, even if they can’t commit to an adoption. Spending quality time with cats while they are in a foster situation can help them adjust to living with people, and eventually their new family.
In addition to the cats themselves and the vast array of hot and iced caffeinated beverages, Strika also serves up baked goods. Frida’s Bakery in Milton provides muffins, cookies, coffee cakes, and other delicious treats. Cat-shaped cake pops and the aptly named “Meow-carons” are some of the fan favorites so far.
Reservations are encouraged but not required, to ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable amount of time with the cats.
Located in the heart of Beacon, a hub for commuters, creatives, and now calicos, Beans Cat Cafe is as heartwarming a destination as any. Strika welcomes locals and day-trippers alike; the more reach her coffee shop has, the closer she is to reaching her goal of combating animal homelessness.
Delicious coffee, local pastries, and playtime with adorable animals for a good cause? You’ve got to be kitten me.