Playful Paws, Now Open

One of the most dog-friendly cities in the country opens a cat cafe

In a tucked away corner off of Century Drive, Playful Paws Cat Cafe is a hidden gem. Opened August 4, 2023, Playful Paws is the brainchild of the Ferguson family — at its head, April Ferguson. For 20 dollars, you can pet, cuddle and play with any of the cats living in the cafe for just under an hour.

“Bend has a huge animal community,” said Ferguson. Nestled in her arms is a black kitten with white markings named Vinny. “Everyone has a dog, taking them out everywhere. I thought there had to be a cat community too, with this many animal lovers in one place.”

Partnered with Cascade Canine Rescue East and West and the Humane Society of Central Oregon, Playful Paws is already down to five cats, as one had been adopted within the first two weeks of opening. However, there’s already three more cats being moved into the cafe, which brings the number of cats up to seven. 

“We have some great rescue partners here that, I figured, could use a little help getting the cats out of shelters and fosters,” said Ferguson. “[To find] a space for some harder-to-place cats that need a little more room to relax and be themselves. And honestly, I just thought it would be fun!”

So far, Playful Paws offers pre-packaged snacks and drinks in order to abide by the City of Bend’s permits. Though this doesn’t take away from the experience, “if someone is jonesing for a cup of coffee, they’re welcome to get it and bring it in here.”

In the future, Ferguson says, they’re interested in providing beer to be bought and sold in packs of six and individually. 

“It’s a good place for people to come and hang out. It’s definitely cheaper than therapy to hold a cat for an hour,” said Ferguson. “But yeah, that’s the goal — to bring people and cats together, increase adoptions — and just to have a good time.”