Brews and mews: Coffee, cookies and furry friends


Maggie Busch

One of the newest additions to the cat crew at Brews and Mews named Bumble. The cat coffee shop recently opened in Lenoir, North Carolina in July of this year (Nov. 4, 2022).

Madison Lipe

Tucked in the foothills lies an intimate cafe filled with sweet smells of freshly baked pastries, the rich brew of espresso and the greeting meows of adoptable furry friends.

Brews and Mews, located in Lenoir, is western North Carolina’s first cat cafe. The business opened July 2 and works with Fur Babies Rescue to bring cats into the cafe’s cat room where people can reserve time by the hour to either play with the animals or find their next friend to bring home.

Cafe owner Sherri Biederman said her idea started out with her love of rescuing animals. 

“I would pet an alligator if I knew it wouldn’t bite me,” Biederman said. 

Biederman said she knew she wanted to have a place where she could rescue and rehome animals, but she didn’t know how to turn it into reality until she stumbled across a TikTok about a cat cafe. 

“I didn’t even realize they were a thing,” Biederman said.

It struck Biederman that she could make her rescue and rehome idea into something bigger. She visited six of North Carolina’s cat cafes and was able to gain inspiration from each of the places she visited. 

After three weeks of construction, her building in Lenoir was ready to temporarily house cats until they find a new home. 

“It seemed like it was meant to be,” Biederman said while cradling a white and grey colored kitten named VZ, who she nicknamed “Menace.” 

Brews and Mews offers more than just coffee. Stickers, ink threads, and artwork are displayed for sale around the coffee shop. (Maggie Busch)

So far, the cat cafe has been a success, Biederman said. She said the chalkboard sign outside of the shop draws in a lot of customers because of its unique and funny messages. 

“Unattended children will be given an espresso, a free kitten and taught how to cuss,” one sign read.

When entering Brews and Mews, to the right is the cat room, which is a closed-off room in the cafe currently housing seven young cats awaiting new homes. 

Biederman said visitors can get a feel for the cats’ personalities in the cat cafe environment because they are in a place where they can interact with each other and roam freely.

She said each cat finds their own relaxation spot. Bumble, a little white kitten, loves resting in a small pumpkin bed. Miso, a gray cat, hides in the bottom corner of the bookshelf. VZ, also known as Menace, can be found anywhere and everywhere, hence the name. 

The cat room has windows all around and includes a window bar near the coffee bar so visitors not wanting to pay for cat room entry can still watch the felines play. 

Biederman said since the cafe opened in July, just under 60 cats have been adopted from visitors coming into the cat room. One cat cafe visitor flew into Charlotte from Texas and then drove to Lenoir for one cat. Biederman said after 15 minutes, she left to go back to Texas with a new addition to her family.

Not only can visitors adopt cats from the cafe, but the cafe also hosts adoptions with Caldwell County Animal Control, Biederman said. In addition to that, the cafe hosts vaccine clinics and food drives for cats, dogs and rabbits.

The cafe itself offers fifteen different lattes named after ‘special’ cats, employee Mars Marmolejo said. The menu also offers a variety of pastries from a local bakery as well as cat snacks.

Paintings from a local artist and a cafe employee can be found hung throughout the walls of the cafe. One featuring “Notorious C.A.T.” and soon to be “2 Pur.”

The cat room is available to guests ages 7 and up for $12 an hour during normal business hours. Cafe treats can be purchased in addition to the cat room fee.

“Happy Meow-er” is a time that can be exclusively reserved for children 6 years of age and under for a more “intimate and controlled” environment.