Caffeinated Cats

A look into Des Moines’ first cat café, Coffee Cats


Becca Youngers

Welcome to Coffee Cats: the first catfe in Des Moines

Becca Youngers, Editor-in-chief

Coffee and cats, could there be anything more perfect? Coffee Cats, a cat cafe, offers both, right in the heart of historic Valley Junction.

The Overview

While browsing my Instagram explore page one day, I stumbled upon a post of a few girls, close to my age, having what I presumed to be the time of their lives at a cat cafe. Curious like a cat myself, I checked the location tagged on the post. Upon seeing its location was in Valley Junction, one of my favorite stomping grounds in the Des Moines metro area, I dialed up one of my cat-loving friends to make plans to go immediately.


The exterior of Coffee Cats Cafe (Becca Youngers)

Cat cafes are not a new invention, but they are new to Des Moines. Coffee Cats opened their doors in late summer of 2020, and they have partnered with the Animal Rescue League of Iowa to be able to host cats, while also offering these cats up for adoption.


If you’re adamant about making a trip to Coffee Cats, some prep may be needed. If you’re solely interested in trying their cafe items- lattes, specialty drinks, smoothies, etc.- you can head over there whenever you please. If you’re interested in hanging out in the cat lounge, a paid reservation may be necessary.


The purpose of the paid reservation of $10 plus tax is so that the cafe is able to purchase food, toys, and other necessities to be able to host the cats. For each hour time slot, to comply with COVID-19 guidelines, six reservations are available, along with availability for two walk-ins. Reservations can be made on their website here.


Three of the cats in the lounge, snuggling up next to each other in their nook (Becca Youngers)

If you happen to fall in love with one of the cats, they are up for adoption!


The Experience

The online reservation process was extremely easy and fool-proof. My friend and I were able to make reservations the day of, and we headed to Coffee Cats on Friday, February 26th.


Located on 5th street, the main drag of Valley Junction, next to Billy Vee’s, Coffee Cats was easy to find, and for a Friday night, had great parking availability. If you were to head to Coffee Cats during the weekly Farmer’s Market in the summer, parking may be more limited but definitely within comfortable walking distance.


Upon entering the “catfe,” we were greeted by friendly workers, ready to take our orders. Though it was late at night, both my friend and I couldn’t resist trying their signature, cat-inspired, lattes. Coffee Cats uses Grounds For Celebration, a well-known local Des Moines coffee company, for their coffee creations.

The cat cookie, made by Cha Cha’s Confections (Becca Youngers)


As well as a wide variety of coffee selections, both hot and iced, Coffee Cats provides an array of teas, Italian sodas, and smoothies. 


Supporting even more local businesses, Coffee Cats sells pastries from Pastries by Lana, cookies made by Cha Cha’s Confections, and Donut King donuts. Knowing that you are uplifting multiple local businesses just by visiting one is a huge morale boost when visiting the cafe.


As for ordering, my friend ordered an iced Calico, including white and dark chocolate mocha flavors. I ordered the monthly special, the Tuxedo, iced, which included dark chocolate and toasted marshmallow mocha. I also ordered one of the cat cookies provided by Cha Cha’s Confections.


Even though I am a strict dark coffee, splash of cream kind of person, we both enjoyed our drinks very much. The Calico, as my friend would say, could be described as a, “spectrum of chocolate flavors,” varying from white to dark. The Tuxedo resembled a chocolate-s’more flavor, and it was the perfect pairing to go along with my cat sugar cookie. Every bite of the cookie brought back some nostalgia of elementary birthday celebration treats, but better.

The “Calico” and the “Tuxedo” iced lattes (Becca Youngers)


After signing a quick waiver, essentially stating that cats will be cats, we were into the cat lounge. There were seven cats in the lounge, and each of them revealed their own personalities throughout the hour session.


The lounge was filled with various toys, scratching posts, and little nooks for the cats to express their independence. Even though the cats were pretty relaxed and weren’t too active, the lounge allowed for an elevated coffee date, a place where anyone could spend some time catching up with a friend.


Hanging out with the cats, as my friend would say, was, “literal therapy,” and was the perfect, casual way to wind down our Friday night. 


The Conclusion

My friend, Emersyn, playing with one of the cats in the lounge (Becca Youngers)

Unless you’re deathly allergic to cats, Coffee Cats is a perfect place for a coffee date with a friend and is a cat-lover’s dream. The environment is super laid back and welcoming to everyone. Plus, the added bonus of supporting an array of local businesses and entrepreneurs is something that is extremely vital during the age of COVID-19.


To make a day out of it, I recommend bringing some friends, walking around Valley Junction, window shopping in unique local businesses, and taking some pictures.


If you’re short on time, give them a visit when you’re needing your next caffeine fix.


To conclude, Coffee Cats Cafe is a fantastic, quirky new addition to a historically quirky area of town, and it is definitely worth a trip.


One of the more playful cats in the lounge (Becca Youngers)

More Information on Coffee Cats!

Located at: 312 5th St, West Des Moines, IA 50265 


Make a reservation: 


Visit their website: 


Check out their Instagram: @coffeecatswdm


*Gift cards are available for purchase in-store*