CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Lori Konawalik decided to take her love of cats and mix it with coffee.
“My dad use to tell me even before I could walk or talk if I saw a cat, my entire demeanor changed, and I would just glow,” she said.
Konawalik worked as a wedding photographer for over a decade before quitting her job and committing to cats.
“One day, my husband basically looked at me and said if you could do anything and take all of the logistics out of it, what would it be, and I basically threw this whole idea at him,’ she said.
She opened her first cat café, called Mac Tabby, in Charlotte three years ago, and in May of 2021, she opened a new location in downtown Concord.
When Elizabeth Isenhour and her two sons heard about Concord’s new cat café, they had to check it out.
“We love cats, but I’m terribly allergic to them, so we decided we could at least go and pet them and support an organization that’s helping adopt cats,” she said.
An organization called Catering to Cats and Dogs provides the café with cats ready to be adopted.
“Cats who walk right up to you kind of choose you, and once you feel that love and that you feel chosen by them, it’s really hard to walk out without them,” Konawalik explained.
Between both of Konawalik’s locations, she’s been able to find homes for over 500 cats.
Dropping everything to open a cat café might sound a little crazy to some, but the happiness that radiates from this place is something Konawalik knows she would do all over again.
“I love people walking out of here feeling jovial and happy that they spent time here, so just kind of spreading that joy around is something I hope continues forever,” she said.
Konawalik can keep 12 cats at each location and says she usually sees around four cats adopted every week.
She says she already has plans to open a new cat café somewhere around the Charlotte area in the next few years.