- This story originally appeared in the February 2024 relationship issue of COMO Magazine.
Bertha’s Beans Cat Café has patrons saying me-wow.
Jessica Schlosser is no stranger to taking on new projects. When she was approached about taking over the downtown cat cafe off Second Street near Walgreens, she pounced at the challenge. What was formerly Papa’s Cat Café reopened as Bertha’s Beans Cat Café under her ownership in November 2023.
“I’m here to provide the people what they want. And people want to hang out with cats,” says Schlosser, who also owns Lizzi & Rocco’s Natural Pet Market with her husband, Kyle.
All Things Cat
Bertha’s Beans Cat Café features a refreshed interior, with the cat side receiving much of the work. Schlosser and her team used their access to cutting-edge pet furniture trends to design an interactive and safe environment for the cats.
“We want to really focus on cat enrichment,” she adds.
Schlosser has extensively studied cats and cat behavior from her years of running Lizzi & Rocco’s and from decades of being in the pet store business. She explains how using vertical space creates a more interesting environment for the cats and gives them a variety of perspectives.
“We’ve got a little staircase that goes up one wall. And then a little catwalk that goes the entire perimeter of the room,” she continues. “Some more enclosed corners for our shy cats who can kind of sit up there and observe but in a place where they feel more safe and protected. Lots of climbing shelves for them to explore, get creative, and have some fun.”
The cats in the café are all from Columbia Second Chance and are available for adoption. Second Chance can house some of the cats together to help create a smoother transition into the cafe’s group environment.
“They are already pre-adjusted to each other and living in a little bit more of a group environment than a foster home,” Schlosser explains. “We’ve already done thirty adoptions. They’re excited. We’ve been open for two months.”
To adopt a cat, just fill out an adoption application with Second Chance and await approval. The process can happen pretty quickly.
The café menu has also been revamped.
“We expanded the menu just to make that its own focus,” she says.
Bertha’s Beans features coffee made with beans from Fretboard Coffee as well as smoothies and other fruity beverages.
“We’ve also been doing a lot of non-coffee, caffeinated drinks because I don’t drink coffee, so I wanted something appealing to other non-coffee drinkers,” she adds, noting the variety of options available.
The food menu expanded to feature wraps and pastries. The pastries are made by local legend Rebekah “The Croissant Lady” Irby of The Bakery.
“Rebekah very much helped us with a lot of our set-up, procedures, and ideas because she is outstanding,” Schlosser says. “She helped put us in contact with a few other people to collaborate with as well.”
Bertha’s Beans also features a small gift shop that focuses on things for cat lovers rather than cat food and toys. Schlosser hopes the cafe serves as a gathering place, a place to study, and a place for cat lovers to enjoy cats.
“We’re learning that it is really a wide audience. It’s college kids who miss their cats from home. It is people who are looking for a different place to study,” she explains. “It’s a good place for parents to take their kids. It’s a very eclectic mix of people,” some who may be on a date.
“You can for sure tell they’re on a date. Which is also adorable,” Schlosser says. “It’s just been a very cool experience.”
Bertha’s Beans Cat Café
14 S Second Street