The most unique animal adoption option in the Ozarks is celebrating a milestone that the business owner admits he missed.
Mochas and Meows owner Mary Trexler told the Branson Tri-Lakes News that while they were planning a big celebration for the 100th cat adoption at her cat cafe, they nearly reached 200 before realizing they were getting close to another milestone.
“When we first opened, my biggest goal was to get to 100 adoptions because it was such a big deal,” Trexler said. “I felt like 100 adoptions would show people that we were doing the right thing with our cat cafe. When we really opened up, we realized it’s more than that. It’s more than putting numbers, it’s about the quality of adoptions, not quantity. So we made a big deal out of 100, but 200 really slipped our way!”
Trexler said they have had 18 adoptions since their cafeteria reopened in early April 2023 after doubling in size. After the closure of a hookah lounge next to the cafe’s Falls Center location on Highway 248 in Branson, Trexler was approached by the resort’s owner about expanding the lounge space. The result of the renovation was that the entire old cafeteria space became a cat space, and the old hall became the new cafeteria space.
The cafe then expanded its menu to include breakfast items and hot dogs, and they have the largest cat-themed gift shop in the Ozarks.
One thing didn’t change with the expansion and new premises: the cafe’s strict guidelines on adopting one of its furry residents.
“We have a process,” Trexler said. “The biggest misunderstanding people have is the adoption process, because it’s about quality, not quantity. We take a little longer to send our cats home and some cats that arrive are not ready for immediate adoption. They are medically prepared, vaccinated and treated for fleas and ticks, but not all cats are suitable for all situations and they are not suitable for all homes.
“We try to learn as much as we can about the cats when they are in our care, and if they show signs of stress or overstimulation, we don’t push them. We let them acclimate and let the cats take the lead in their adoptions.”
Trexler said many non-cat people don’t understand that cats are highly stressed animals and when they come to Mochas and Meows, it provides them with a less stressful environment because of the cat colony.
“Instead of going in and experiencing 200 new and unique scents, there’s one complex scent of the entire colony,” Trexler said. “It makes acclimatization easier for them and a lot less stressful.”
The cat colony stays between 35 and 45 most of the time, but some of those cats are the “resident cats” that are available for snuggling, but not for adoption.
“They are residents for different reasons,” Trexler said. “They’re my personal cats, I’ve adopted them, and it’s usually because I selfishly love them and don’t want to let them go. Miles, our first resident cat (who retired to the Trexler home in 2019 for health reasons) was our first case in point. Some of them, like Edgar and The Professor, require a little more attention than we can give them at home. They receive love and attention 24 hours a day, and that is what they need.
“They’re also great ambassadors, so even if we have new cats that aren’t sure about the environment, the resident cats feel comfortable and visitors can have a good experience when they visit the cats. They also provide some continuity to customers.”
Trexler said the cats become social facilitators, and because the cats share litter boxes and food bowls, the resident cats carry the scent of all the cats with them around the facility, and it helps new cats to acclimatize to the cat colony.
She said one of the biggest misunderstandings about the cafe is that they don’t accept cats from those looking to get rid of a current pet. Licensing for the Missouri Department of Agriculture cafe and rescue requires that they obtain their animals from an organization such as the Branson Humane Society or City of Branson Animal Control.
“We are thrilled to partner with Mary at Mochas and Meows to help find loving homes for cats in our community,” Branson Humane Society Director Jayme Tabuchi told the Branson Tri-Lakes News. “Mary has shown a deep commitment to understanding feline behavior and providing world-class care for the cats in her care. We are confident that all of the cats adopted from her cafe will find the best possible home for that cat. This partnership is beneficial to all involved, and we look forward to continuing to work together to positively impact the lives of cats in the Branson area.”
Mochas and Meows is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9 am to 6 pm and is closed on Mondays. Details about their menu, adoption information, and other cafe services can be found on their website. mochasandmeows.com.