Nine Lives Cat Café

My youngest son has been talking nonstop about getting a cat. He is an animal lover, and we don’t have any pets, so he’s been jonesing for furry creature to call his own. He even has a name picked out for his future cat: Mister Scratchy. (Awww!) I hate to disappoint him, but we probably won’t be getting a cat anytime soon. (Awww, shucks.)

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But, you know what? I found a place where my son can visit with some cats, and it’s right in the heart of Fountain Square in Indianapolis. Also, it serves coffee! This magical place with cats and coffee is called Nine Lives Cat Café, and it’s a wonderful place to sit, pet some furry creatures, drink some coffee or tea, and just relax while you watch felines do their thing.

Part Coffee Shop, Part Cat Rescue


When you enter, you walk into the café part first, and that’s where you pay to get into the cat area. To visit with the cats, it’s $10 per adult, and $5 per child (12 and under) for 55minutes. The fees collected go directly to caring for the cats and providing them a good home. We chose a half hour for our first visit, which en7 Unique Animal Encounters in Central Indianaded up going by very quickly. Next time, we’ll choose a full hour with the kitties.

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For people who aren’t so much into the cats: The coffee shop is separate from the cat area, so if you just wanted to grab a cup of coffee and not deal with the cats, you totally could!

Before we entered the cat area, an attendant met us in a waiting room and had us disinfect our hands with antibacterial foam before going in. Then she read us a few rules, such as where to put beverages. (Hint: On the high window sills and not on the low tables, because energetic kitties can knock them off!) And she also let us know where not to touch the cats. (Hint: No rubbing bellies or pulling tails!) These rules are meant to keep both the cats and visitors safe.

After that, we were free to cuddle, snuggle, pet and play with the cats ‘til our heart’s content! Because cats are cats, we found that it took several minutes for many of the cats to warm up to us. When some of the cats saw that a young child entering their home, some of them darted away into corners or behind couches. But many of them stayed and appreciated our petting. The attendant pointed out the cats that might be more receptive to petting, which was very helpful.

One of the great things about Nine Lives Cat Café is that they are also a cat rescue, so all the cats at the café are available for adoption.

So, if you happen to fall in love with one of the cats during your visit, you just might be able to take her home. If you do decide to adopt a cat during your visit, you get your entry fee back, or you can choose to donate your entry fee to the Humane Society of Indianapolis.

Nine Lives Cat Café is a very kid-friendly place, but kids 12 and younger must be accompanied by an adult. Strollers are permitted in the cat area if there is space available. We were the only people when we visited on a weekday, but weekends can get very busy, so if you want to spend time in the cat area, reservations are recommended.

Oh, and since this is a café, I should mention: Their coffee is excellent. (And so are their vegan cupcakes!) It’s always nice to visit places around Indy where my child can play and be entertained while I take a quick break and drink a cup of coffee. Nine Lives is one of these places. And the cuddles and purrs we get during our visit are a big bonus!

More Info

Nine Lives Cat Café is located at 1315 Shelby Street, Suite 1, in Indianapolis. Coffee walk-ins are always welcome during business hours (Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. & Friday 10 a.m.-8 p.m.). But if you want to visit the cats, Nine Lives strongly recommends making a reservation first. Reservations can be made on their website:

Nicole Sipe
Nicole Sipe
Nicole Sipe is the editor of Indy's Child and Southwest Ohio Parent magazines. She has a BA in Journalism from California State University Northridge, and has been involved in the print and digital publishing world for most of her life. Born and raised in Southern California, Nicole traded the city and sun for corn and creeks, and now lives in central Indiana with her husband, two sons and Collie. Her latest book for children, “All About Me! Art Journal” was published in 2022 by Walter Foster Jr. In her spare time, she likes traveling with her family, enjoying good food and drink, volunteering at her children’s schools and around her community, and practicing yoga.

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