The Humane Society of Huron Valley (HSHV) opened the Tiny Lions cat café in 2016, and it is still the first and only cat café in Ann Arbor. The idea of the café is that patrons come to drink coffee and spend time with cats that are ready to find their forever home. Over the years, the café has facilitated the adoption of hundreds of cats and kittens. Tiny Lions has also started a variety of programs, such as “Knitty Cats” where patrons can get cozy with cats while knitting or yoga nights where people come to relax by doing yoga and petting cats.
Tiny Lions was closed at the beginning of the pandemic so that the café could figure out how to safely serve the public again. The café reopened when most other Ann Arbor businesses opened their doors a couple months ago. However, the café decided to limit the number of people allowed in their space to insure the safety of their customers. Tiny Lions allowed patrons to reserve the café space for up to eight people. Families looking for activities for their children often reserved café.
During the pandemic, Tiny Lions had many more kittens available than usual. This quickly turned the cat café into the kitten café! Wendy Welch, Communications Director at the HSHV, mentions that their shelter has seen a slight increase in the number of cats found during the pandemic. She also said that during COVID-19 there have been some animals needing more care this past season and others needing to be rescued from hoarding situations.
While kitten season is winding down at the café, Welch states that, “Tiny Lions has had a record breaking year in terms of how fast kittens and cats are being adopted.” While the café had a similar number of cats and kittens available for adoption during the pandemic as a normal year, COVID-19 has boosted the speed in which the animals are leaving the café. She also mentioned that “certain types of animals, like black cats, elderly cats, pitbull puppies, and dogs are being adopted at a higher rate than usual.”
While Tiny Lions has closed their doors again this past week due to safety concerns about the pandemic, they still have a variety of online events for patrons to enjoy. For example, Tiny Lions hosts a trivia night (which has won the Best of Washtenaw award) that has now gone virtual. Volunteers write cat themed trivia questions for players to answer, and families across the country have been participating in the event. The Ann Arbor Distilling Company has created an assortment of canned cocktails for the Humane Society of Huron Valley trivia nights, though the cocktails are available for purchase any time.
Tiny Lions café hopes to reopen their doors for reservations in the near future. In the meantime, Ann Arbor locals and their families can support Tiny Lions by supporting the Humane Society of Huron Valley. The kittens and cats usually available for adoption at the café are now being cared for at the HSHV’s shelter. As always, kittens, cats, dogs, puppies, and more are waiting to be adopted this season. Of course, locals can also attend HSHV online events, and donate directly to the shelter. Here’s to hoping that Tiny Lions is able to re-open soon!
5245 Jackson Rd., Ste. A1, Ann Arbor. 734-661-3530. tinylions.org.