Pinot and Paws

El Gato Wants You to Get Crafty, Drink Wine, and Maybe Make a New Friend

Houston's cat cafe is hosting a paint and wine party.

By Catherine Wendlandt June 28, 2018

Admit it: you said "aww" when you saw this.

Looking for the purrfect Friday night out? Head over to the El Gato Coffeehouse in the Heights for an evening of felines and wine. This Friday, June 29, Houston’s very own cat cafe will be hosting their monthly Pinot and Paws Paint Class. Guests learn how to paint a cat-themed craft while a furry new friend slinks between their chairs. This month, the craft is a “catcus” (cat-cactus); in the past, they’ve painted “purrmaids” (cat-mermaids).

El Gato owner Renée Reed says she’s constantly looking for fun activities to do at the cafe. In addition to yoga classes (coincidentally, the yoga instructor, Ester Tell, also teaches the Friday paint class), they’ve also done cat-eye makeup lessons, and movie and bingo nights. The goal, she says, is for people to have fun and find the cats their forever homes.

“The more people we get through the cafe,” Reed says, “the better chance we have of getting the cats adopted.”

Generally, the cafe plays home to about 16 cats, ages ranging from about 6 months to 12 years, from the Friends for Life animal shelter. Since opening in April 2017, El Gato has adopted out over 140 cats, about two a week.

Celebrating the adoptions is one of her favorite parts, Reed says. In May the cafe had been having trouble finding homes for two brothers who had to be adopted together. But, at the “Pinot and Paws” night, she said a couple came in and took them both home. “That was pretty exciting,” she said.

If you can’t adopt a cat, but still want to come in, that's fine; they won’t force you to turn tail. Reed says many people come in for some cat therapy, which in turn helps the cats acclimate to people.

“Our guests socialize our cats,” Reed says, “and our cats reduce our guests’ stress.” After all, who can’t help smiling when you have a sleepy cat purring in your lap or a kitten crawling up your arm?

If you can’t make it this Friday, don’t worry. Reed says they hold art classes twice a month, on Fridays and Sundays. Sundays are more about learning new skills, she says, while Friday nights are a little more laid-back.

Tickets cost $41 for adults, $39 for students and $37 for kids (ages 5 to 17). All craft supplies will be provided, but you do have to bring your own bottle of wine. The class has a maximum capacity of 18, and you can order your tickets online here.

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