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Be a cool cat at El Paso’s new kitty cafe

Popular in Asian and European countries, El Paso will get its own kitty café, Sun City Kitty, which will open at Sunland Park Mall around mid-April. Photo courtesy of Sun City Kitty.

For all the cat people and coffee lovers in the El Paso community, make sure to be on the lookout for the city’s first-ever-ever kitty café, Sun City Kitty. This cool new hangout will be like any other café with one special bonus, a cat space.   

Popular in Korea, Austria, Spain, Hungary, Germany, France, Japan, the United Kingdom, and more recently in the United States, cat cafés are on the rise as popular destinations for people wishing to mingle with animals while enjoying treats or coffee.  

Being the first of its kind in the borderland, this café will give El Pasoans the chance to experience a café-coexistence with these feline friends. 

The Prospector had the pleasure of speaking with Megan Oslund, one of the three café founders, with the other two being Kristen Ingram and Sarah Walker. Oslund works at Marathon Refining   and has a history at Sunland Park Mall because of her other occupation at The Makers Collaborative, a fabric store.  

“Kristen Ingram thought of the idea back in October and had kind of been ruminating on it, but she hadn’t told anybody, and then myself and one of my employees that Saturday had been talking in the morning,” said Oslund. “She thought [about] a cat cafe, and I was like, ‘Wow that’s a really good idea, let me start kind of looking at a business plan and see what that would look like, so I kind of started writing a business plan. That evening, I had a message from Kristen that was basically like, ‘Hey I wanna open the cat cafe in El Paso, do you want in?’ and I was like that’s really crazy because it took all day writing a good business plan for that very thing, so [we] kind of thought it up separately. Kristen thought of it first, then we ended up developing the idea together.” 

The café will not only offer a unique experience to people in town, but it will also assist in El Paso’s growing stray cat problem. In 2015, Animal Services halted the euthanizing, trapping, and housing of stray cats in the city. After this, rescues and animal organizations in the city have become more open to neutering/spaying stray cats and then setting them free, or fostering cats temporarily for people to adopt.  

Sun City Kitty will bring adoptable-friendly adult cats to their cat space from Animal Services, which will make the café somewhat of an off-site adoption center for cats.  

“As long as they’re saving those cats and are able to financially support them, that’s good, I’ll support it,” said Yoonsun Jeong, an assistant professor for marketing and management at UTEP. “It would be cool if we could adopt some of the cats there, so we could bring more cats home. That way [when] the people go spend time with the cats, and if they like one [or more], they could adopt them.” 

During the pandemic, Sunland Park Mall struggled to stay afloat, with the owner filing for bankruptcy in 2021 and multiple stores closing down inside. With this ongoing struggle to bring new customers, local entrepreneurs have found their way into the empty spaces. Sun City Kitty is just one of numerous local businesses that have found their way inside this dying shopping center and are trying to bring it back to life. 

“I know that [Sunland Park] kind of gets a bad rap, like it’s ‘El Paso’s dying mall,’ but businesses that have been here and survived their covid situations have seen enormous success,” said Oslund. “I think that as [Sunland Park] grows, it’s going to be a kind of central cultural hub for passive local businesses, [which are] 81% of the stores here, and it’s the only mall in the country that can say that. I think it was just a really great opportunity to have the spaces right in the food courts with landlords that I know and trust. It’ll be accessible to people no matter what the weather is, and it’s right across the children’s area. It was just a good solid spot that will have benefits to the community.”  

The Sun City Kitty is projected to open somewhere around mid-April and will be located in the Sunland Park Mall in the food court. For now, Oslund and her business partners don’t plan on opening any new locations other than this one, but if the café does well, then it just might happen in the future. 

“I had a lot of cats when I was a little girl, so I would definitely visit. I would enjoy watching them and petting them,” said Gaby Castellano, a teacher at the Socorro Independent School District. “Not only that, but I would definitely visit for the coffee! That’s great that someone is finally bringing something like that to El Paso.” 


Elisha Nunez is a contributor and may be reached at email [email protected] 


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About the Contributor
Elisha Nuñez
Elisha Nuñez, Staff Reporter
Elisha Nuñez is a multimedia journalism student with a minor in marketing at the University of Texas at El Paso.  He works as a reporter for The Prospector, and loves to write about arts, culture, and people. This semester, he wishes to do more freelance work for publications in and outside of El Paso. After graduation, he would like to experience multiple positions at different places, and even has plans for continuing his current education outside of the U.S.
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Be a cool cat at El Paso’s new kitty cafe