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As I’m writing this article, I’m sitting with a giant orange tabby on my lap. Sunny and I have been hanging out like this in between greeting people and cleaning up, and he’s gotten pretty comfortable with invading my personal space. Outside is State Street, bustling with people and live music, but inside is a little sanctuary of Fleetwood Mac, twinkle lights, and of course, twenty sets of paws. 

A few months ago, I got my dream job here at Cat Therapy, a cat cafe in downtown Santa Barbara that is home to rescue kitties ready for adoption. Catalina Esteves created this wonderful cat heaven, which hosts “therapy sessions” where people can come in and cuddle and play with the cats. To be honest, you can’t get too hung up on the “therapy” idea, because even though it’s a lot of fun for people, it’s really for the cats. The visits help get them ready to get adopted someday, and all the proceeds go towards keeping the space open to house the cats and taking care of them. 

That’s the basic pitch, so now we can get into the behind the scenes look. Here’s a few things you don’t know about Cat Therapy, from someone who works there.


We have the funniest TikTok page. 

Maybe I just think it’s funny because I’m a little too into my job, but if you’re a cat lover you’ll probably find it funny too. My coworker Alaina is the mastermind behind it, so go check it out @cattherapysb.

We may have favorites…but don’t tell the other cats!

Actually, that’s a pretty good question to ask us, especially if you’re looking to adopt, because we know all of the cats really well and can tell you about their individual personalities!

The weekdays are the best days to visit.

On the weekdays, it’s usually quieter and you can spend more one-on-one time with the cats getting to know their personalities.

While kittens are cute, we all have a soft spot for the older cats. 

They are so sweet and loving, and we are always crossing our fingers that they get adopted soon.

You can ask us anything about the cats!

We love to tell people about their backstories before being rescued, their names, ages, personalities, and any other fun facts we know! Believe it or not, we get asked some pretty strange questions while working. Some of the most common include, “Can I bring my own cat?” (No, we have plenty here!) and “Do you get rid of the cats if they don’t get adopted?” (No way!! We’d keep them here forever, but cats here get adopted after an average stay of only a month, so they’ll find a forever home soon.)

The past year has been tough on all small businesses, and we are no exception. Thankfully, we also have a huge online store of cute cat themed apparel and accessories which all benefit the cats and help sustain our business. The bright side is that we’ve had a record number of adoptions, now that people have been working from home and have more time for a cat companion or two!

Even though my days are filled with tons of cat fur and a lot of cleaning, I’m so glad to be able to hang out with cats all of the time, especially since I can’t have one of my own in my college apartment. If you’re ever downtown Santa Barbara, stop by to say hi to us and to meet our cats! Pro tip: visits also make great gifts, dates, and family outings, so you can bring anyone you know too.

Sydney is a Communication and Feminist Studies double major and a member of Kappa Alpha Theta. She's a Petaluma, California native, the egg capital of the world! When she's not writing, you can find her pole dancing, playing with cats, and listening to true crime podcasts.
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