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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Let cats cure your back-to-class stress at El Jefe Cat Lounge

Amanda Mourelatos
A couple kitties snoozing in a corner on August 15 at El Jefe Cat Lounge. The cat cafe also helps visitors to relax.

For most, back to school means back to stressing like no other. There are many stress relievers, and animals have proven to be one of the successful tricks. At El Jefe Cat Lounge on 3025 N. Campbell Ave., students can study with a kitty by their side or even go on their off day to pet some felines and relax. 

The owner of El Jefe Cat Lounge, Tiffany Lee, opened her business in October 2019. She was inspired by a cat cafe in Phoenix, her daughter moving to Tucson and taking their cat with her. She was missing her cat, so she went to a Phoenix location called La Gattara Cat Cafe a few times. She figured something similar in Tucson would be good for the community.

A cat lounges on the couch in El Jefe Cat Cafe in Tucson, Ariz., on Aug. 8. The cat cafe is located on North Campbell Avenue. (Jackie Cabrera)

Unfortunately, it has been an uphill battle since opening the cat lounge. Lee said, “It’s been a lot of work, and we barely survived through the pandemic, but Tucson has been very supportive.” 

Despite her 60-70 hour work weeks, it is rewarding for her to see people having a good time and some cats finding their forever homes. 

“The main reason I opened [El Jefe Cat Lounge] is because it helps with stress. Just petting or cuddling a cat can reduce anxiety and lower blood pressure,” Lee said. She also mentioned that visitors can “make new cat friends if you’re having a hard time making friends on campus.” 

A cat peers out the window at El Jefe Cat Cafe on Aug. 8. The cat lounge is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. (Jackie Cabrera)

Customer Claire Alexander said, “It’s a really quiet place that you can get a lot of school work done at. It’s definitely more peaceful than an average coffee shop.”

“The cats are very nice, and their presence is just better when doing school work,” customer Katie Cao said.

Katie Cao, customer, feeding a treat to one of the cats on Aug. 15. She visits El Jefe Cat Lounge to escape from the stress of school. (Amanda Mourelatos)

For students that live outside of dorms, adoption is also an option. Being able to interact with the cats in a semi-home environment is beneficial to seeing more of their true personalities. All cats are negative for feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus, as well as spayed or neutered,” Lee said. “You get their full personalities here for a better match.” 

If adopting isn’t feasible right now, the cat lounge can help cure homesickness as well. After leaving a furry friend at home, cuddling with these cats will surely help. 

One of the cats, Chopstick, chilling in a plush bed on Aug. 15. The cats at El Jefe Cat Lounge are all adoptable by visitors. (Amanda Mourelatos)

First-time customer Gary Talarchek used to own cats, but they have passed away. “I came here out of curiosity and to spend some time with cats,” Talarchek said. 

When he used to be a teacher, they would hold petting zoos for students during finals week to relieve stress. 

“This is kind of similar to that,” Talarchek said.

El Jefe Cat Lounge is open from Sunday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. More information about adopting or the cat lounge can be found on the El Jefe Cat Lounge website.

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