Asked Questions

What the heck is a cat café?

Every cat café is a little different, but ours is part cat lounge, part board game café.  Our cat lounge is a large foster location for non-profit cat rescues.  The lounge is set up to be similar to a home, so it is both comfortable for you, and it lets the cats live in a home-like environment, as opposed to a cage, while they wait for their forever home.

You can spend 50 minutes (or book a few hours) with the cats and get to know them, and you can apply to adopt if you make a friend. While adoption is the ultimate goal for all of our cats, the money you spend on your reservation fee goes towards their care and comfort.  Food, litter, medication, toys, beds, furniture, utilities, rent, air filters, licenses, cleaning supplies.  It is not cheap to keep this many cats safe and comfortable, but we do everything we can to make sure they are. 

So even if you can’t adopt, stop by and relax with the cats while you study, read, play a board game, eat a snack or meet with a friend. It all helps to socialize and care for the cats, many of which come from very stressful situations and are still learning to trust humans.

What the heck is a board game café?

Our board game café is completely separate from the cat lounge, but there is a large viewing window between the two.  You can grab a drink or snack, purchase a game pass for access to our large board game library, and watch the cats play in the lounge while you play in the café.  We also host monthly board game demo events and competitions for casual and advanced players alike. 

Never played anything other than Monopoly and Uno?  Well we have both of those available, but our staff would love nothing more than to initiate you into the world of modern board games.  

We have the largest demo board game collection in Champaign Urbana and your game pass payment goes towards maintaining this massive collection.  Cards need to be sleeved, parts wear out or go missing, and often entire games need to be replaced because of wear and tear.  The gaming fee helps us ensure our games stay playable and fun, and lets us bring in the latest and greatest games out there. 

Do you serve food?

We have a light snack and drink menu.  We cannot serve food in the cat lounge, but you are welcome to purchase food from the café side and bring it into the lounge during your reservation time. Please do not feed the cats human food. 

I missed my reservation, can I get a refund?

No. There are no exceptions.  Please do not ask.  If it is more than 24 hours before your reservation time, you can reschedule your reservation through your confirmation email.  If it is less than 24 hours before your reservation time, there is no rescheduling or refunds.  Please be content knowing that your money is still going to the care and comfort of dozens of rescue cats and kittens. 

Is there a minimum age requirement?

Yes.  Children under 7 are not permitted in the cat lounge, but they are welcome in the board game café and can watch the cats from there through the large viewing window.  A max of two children between 7-12 are permitted each hour and must be accompanied by an adult. 

Why won't it let me book more than two kids in an hour?

Simply put, kids stress the cats out.  Every cat and every child is different, but by and large, the cats in our lounge have often come from very traumatic situations and cannot handle the level of stimuli that comes with several new children being in the lounge every hour. The safety and comfort of the cats is our number one priority. 

That said, we do still believe there is benefit in the cats being able to learn to socialize with children in a controlled manner, so we are limiting the number of children per hour to two.  It is possible this will still turn out to be too much stress for the cats, and if that proves to be the case, the minimum age for entry will be raised.  Again, the care and comfort of the cats is our number one priority.  

We are not able to make exceptions to this rule.  Please do not ask. 

Where do you get your cats?

All of our cats come from our partner non-profit rescues.  When you adopt, the adoption fee goes to the rescue the cat came from. 

Do you do same day adoptions?

We do not.  All adoption applications go to the non-profit rescue the cat came from and the rescues make all decisions about application approvals for their cat. Many of these rescues are entirely volunteer based, and they simply do not have the staff to review applications all day every day. Rest assured, your application will be reviewed as soon as possible and you should hear back within 7 days. 

Are you a non-profit?

We are not.  We are small, woman-owned business that acts as a foster location for our partner rescues, all of which are non-profits.  

We did consider running our own non-profit rescue as well, but we know that running a rescue is a massive undertaking that truly requires all of one’s time, energy and emotional fortitude.  Especially since there are already several local rescues that could use the visibility of a cat café to get their cats adopted, we decided it’d be better to do a small number of things really well, rather than spread ourselves too thin and do a bunch of things half-assed.  So we leave the rescuing to the rescues, and we take care of making our place as welcoming, fun and comfortable as possible for both you and the cats.  Our marketing and visibility also helps the rescues bring in more volunteers, find more foster homes, and get more donations, all of which helps save more lives. 

To further give back to the non-profit rescues, 20% of the profits from all of our food, drinks and merchandise go back to the non-profit rescues our cats come from.  We also schedule several events every year where all profits are donated to our partner non-profit rescues. 

Why can't I pick up the cats?

Imagine you just had surgery, you’ve been shuttled from place to place for weeks, you’re scared, you’re tired, you don’t understand what’s going on, and the twentieth strange human today is trying to pick you up and put you in their lap.  Now also imagine you have razors for fingers.  What do you think you’d probably learn to do with those razors? 

We’re trying to keep these cats safe and comfortable and show them that humans are a source of food, safety and love.  We can’t do that if we’re constantly forcing them to socialize against their will.  Grab a cat toy, sit down, and know that if a cat plays with you or chooses to sit on your lap, you’ve earned their trust. 

Can I reserve the whole cat lounge to myself?

You sure can! For $450 you and up to 29 of your closest cat-crazy friends can enjoy the hour all to yourselves.  The same minimum age requirements apply.  No one under the age of 7 is permitted, there can be only two children between the ages of 7-12 and they must be accompanied by an adult. There are no exceptions to this policy.  Please do not ask. 

Do I need a reservation?

Yes.  Reservations are required for the cat lounge.  You are welcome to stop in and try to reserve a spot when you arrive, but there are a limited number of people who are allowed in the lounge at once, so if the available spots are sold out, you will need to wait until the next available reservation time, which can sometimes be hours, or even days later. We always recommend you book in advance to guarantee your spot. 

Where is The Scratching Post located?

We are located at 114 E University Ave. in Champaign, IL.  Right across the street from where the old Dallas & Co was.  

Where is parking for The Scratching Post?

Always refer to posted street signs for the most up to date info, but generally parking can be found: 

  1. At meters along University Ave. 
  2. At the paid parking lot South of our building. 
  3. At meters along 2nd St just East of our building. 
  4. On E Park St just North of our building (pay attention to parking signs) 
  5. At meters along Boneyard Creek just South of our building. 
  6. Along 1st St meters.
  7. In the metered parking lot behind the police station. 

Can you take in stray cats or re-home a cat for me?

We cannot.  All cats need to go through a thorough vetting process before they can enter the lounge, and we are not a rescue.  Please contact one of our partner rescues if you have a cat you need to relinquish. 

Why don't you have a phone number?

There’s no such thing as a cat café emergency.  If your questions aren’t answered on this FAQ page, shoot us an email at [email protected]


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