Katy Mchugh

Sip & Purr owner Katy McHugh 

Photo: Ryan Peschman

Eat. Drink. Pet Cats. That’s the general idea behind Sip & Purr, Milwaukee’s first cat café. But Sip & Purr is offering more than that. All cats at the cafe are ready for adoption and looking for their forever homes.

Owner Katy McHugh announced the café’s grand opening date of June 1 in a Facebook livestream on May 15. A grand opening event will run 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Sip & Purr is a cat café offering coffee, wine, small bites and sweets in a café setting that is attached to a Cat Lounge, where customers can play with, pet and possibly take home the adoptable cats. Through a partnership with Lakeland Animal Shelter in Delavan, WI, Sip & Purr will have 15 – 20 adoptable cats hanging out in the Cat Lounge. All cats arrive spade/neutered, microchipped and up-to-date on necessary vaccinations and medical tests. Sip & Purr’s website will showcase all available cats, and adoption forms can be filled out ahead of time if you’ve already fallen in love.

“Lakeland’s been doing great work for years,” stated McHugh in a press release. “Using the open-cat colony concept to facilitate adoptions for over 15 years, they’ve been trailblazers in the rescue world. We’re so excited about our partnership with them.”

Due to health code standards, Sip & Purr is divided into two sections. The area where the cats stay is separated from the café area by two doors. Customers can bring menu items from the café into the cat room, but no cats will ever step paw in the café area. A large window in the café gives a view into the cat room.

At the helm of the kitchen is head pastry chef/kitchen manager Elizabeth Martin, formerly of Wolf Peach, who has designed a food menu with dining restrictions in mind.

“Being gluten-free myself, I understand what a treat it is to be able to order almost anything on the menu,” stated McHugh in a press release. “That’s the experience we want to give to our customers.”

In addition to wine and beer, Sip & Purr has partnered with Glendale-based Healthy Roots Cold-Pressed Juices to offer juice-tails, cold-pressed juice mixed with alcohol. Juice-tails will have cat-themed names such as Puss and Boots, Kitty Cocktail, and the Gigi, named after the cat that McHugh met in Amsterdam that inspired her to open the café. Sip & Purr will be the first café in Milwaukee to serve coffee from Ruby Coffee Roasters, based in Nelsonville, WI, and Twig’s Beverage specialty sodas, bottled in Shawano, WI, McHugh’s hometown.

“Not only are we creating a unique experience by offering folks the chance to interact with adoptable cats, we want our menu to as special and locally-based as possible,” stated McHughs in a press release.

Sip & Purr is located at 2021 E. Ivanhoe Pl., the space previously occupied by East Side Gallery & Framing. A reservation system will go live on Sip & Purr’s website on May 15. Guests will be able to book one-hour reservations in the Cat Lounge. Yoga with Cats will be offered every Sunday 10 – 11:30 a.m. Normal hours will be Sunday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Monday 10 a.m. – 9 p.m., closed on Tuesday, and Wednesday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Visit sipandpurr.com for more information.

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