Crumbs & Whiskers is a cat lover’s heaven.
The quaint little cafe, located on Melrose Avenue, lies along a strip of trendy restaurants, designer clothing stores and furniture shops. But Crumbs & Whiskers is no ordinary coffee shop – the wide-open sitting room is packed to the brim with toys, pillows, water bowls and energetic felines prancing around. With so few cat cafes in Los Angeles, the Crumbs & Whiskers experience quite surpasses that of any other coffee shop with its tasty treats and playful little critters.
Crumbs & Whiskers has a simple set up – guests arrive a little bit before their prebooked reservation time, order their food and beverages and then go on to spend more than an hour with the cats. A major downside to Crumbs & Whiskers is the cost of the reservations – $22 for weekday reservations and $25 for weekend reservations. On top of nearly $5 beverages and pastries, all the money adds up to well over the price of multiple lattes at Starbucks.
However, despite the hefty expenses, the price comes with a bit of a feel-good aspect: Crumbs & Whiskers partners with the Stray Cat Alliance, a volunteer-based organization that aims to find foster homes for stray cats around Los Angeles. The cats sauntering around the cafe are all rescue animals up for adoption and live at the cafe until someone adopts them, regardless of how long it takes.
Upon entering the cafe, guests order their beverages and food and move into a glass-enclosed, cat-filled room. Crumbs & Whiskers offers all of the typical coffee-shop fare – lattes, teas, cookies and the like.
While the food and beverages take around 20 minutes to arrive, Crumbs & Whiskers is one of the few places where waiting on an order doesn’t seem all that bad. In fact, it might be the best part of the experience.
While waiting, customers get to interact with the cats without having to worry about the cats spilling a drink or trying to eat their food. The cats of Crumbs & Whiskers don gray and pink bowtie collars – gray denoting male cats and pink denoting female cats. While some of the cats are a bit feistier than others – several refuse to wear their bowties – most of the cats seem all right with the arrangement, even if reluctantly so.
For the most part, the cats range in age from around 6 months to 2 years. Their youthful energy lends the room a light and dynamic atmosphere as the mischievous and inattentive kittens dash from one side of the room to the other.
It takes a lot of work to pique the cats’ interest. Toys are an absolute must-have as most of the cats enjoy playing with wands, batting around and toying with the string attached to the end.
A little orange-and-white cat named Cheeto was one of the friendlier cats I met, crawling on the customers’ laps and playing with the stuffed mouse toys scattered about the room. Another cat, a salt-and-pepper tabby named Jorge, enjoys pawing at the foam balls lying throughout the cafe.
When the food and beverages arrived, it felt as if hardly any time had passed, despite the fact that the reservation was around halfway over.
The cafe’s chai tea latte was sweetly flavored, but not overbearingly so. While it didn’t really taste much different from any of its counterparts at more popular or accessible chains like Starbucks or Peet’s Coffee, the cats in the room certainly added a degree of fun to the drinking experience. Similarly, the cafe’s chia pudding wasn’t really anything special – in fact, it wasn’t any better than the chia pudding with fruit at Bruin Plate Grab & Go Breakfast.
That’s not to say the food and beverages aren’t satisfying – they absolutely are. But it’s clear the emphasis at Crumbs & Whiskers is on the experience, and all in all, the experience isn’t just satisfying – it is paws-itively delightful.