I’m from Mumbai, so going home for fall break would probably take me just about as long as fall break itself. I’d probably land just in time to grab a nice lunch at the airport and then be on a 30-hour journey back here right in time for my Monday morning 9 a.m.
So I figured, if I had to spend the weekend here, I might as well not spend it in my empty apartment. For about a month I’d been trying to make plans to go to the cat cafe out in Hampden, but I never followed through until Saturday.
The cat cafe is very punnily named Charm Kitty, and it opened on Sept. 30 this year. It’s in Whitehall Mill, which is also where Birroteca is, just in case you needed a landmark. The exact address is 3300 Clipper Mill Road, but keep your eyes peeled as soon as you enter Whitehall Mill: It can be pretty hard to find, because there are no signs leading up to it.
Charm Kitty does take walk-ins, but a reservation is recommended, because they can fill up pretty quickly, especially on weekends. Reservations can be made in one-hour slots going from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends and 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on weekdays. Weekday reservations cost $10 per hour, and weekends are $12.
They also host yoga classes, movie nights and game nights for people interested in doing all these activities in the company of about 10 cats. If you’re interested, you could also get a weekend day pass (eight hours for $20), take your laptop over and try to get some work done if you can resist being distracted by cats rubbing up against your leg.
Charm Kitty also offers tea, coffee, hot chocolate and cookies (skeletal cat-themed for Halloween, naturally) in addition to T-shirts and other merchandise with their logo (an adorable little cat holding a coffee mug). You can either purchase a drink ($2.50) and a cookie ($3.00) with your reservation, or you can buy it at the cafe.
I did find Charm Kitty a little pricey, but it was honestly a great hour spent on a Saturday morning. I drank my tea while a cat stared longingly at my cookie the whole time. If you do have the time and resources to adopt a cat, it’s a great place for it.
You get to interact with the cats in a more relaxed setting and talk to the Charm Kitty staff about them before you make your decision. All the adoptions are through the Baltimore Humane Society, and since Charm Kitty opened less than a month ago, they’ve had nine adoptions.
While walking in, my friend and I immediately fell in love with the aesthetic of the place. I had never been to a cat cafe before, but the interior was exactly what I had imagined it would look like. There were comfortable chairs and couches everywhere, and the walls were filled with little niches and ledges for cats to curl up in when the humans got annoying.
We saw a lot of, “If it fits, I sits,” going on, and even though the space was filled with fun cat toys, the cats were naturally more interested in the staff doors they weren’t allowed to go into. All the cats are very creatively named, especially the ones they encourage you to adopt in pairs. One pair of cat brothers was Lynyrd and Skynyrd, and another was Twilight and New Moon.
The one thing you’re not allowed to do is pick up the cats, but the staff is very friendly and will pick up the cats for you so you can pet them as long as they’re willing to tolerate you.
Spending an hour at Charm Kitty watching cats be weird and sometimes actually not avoid me definitely put a positive spin on my weekend. The walk down there is beautiful, so I say give it a shot — the cats might actually like you more than you’d expect.