About the Owner
I'm Ryan Kennedy, and I’m Papa. Since my daughter could speak, she’s called me Papa. And, even though her friends at school are starting to influence her into calling me "Dad," Papa is still my title. Papa is also the nickname of my favorite author, Ernest Hemingway, who also happened to love cats. His estate is still home to over 50 cats. So "Papa's Cat Café" seemed like a perfect name and motif for the café.
My love of cats goes way back. I grew up with cats. We lived out in the country, and our house was always crawling with them. Our family somehow lucked out with some really long-lived cats. One of my cats, Shaq, lived to be 16, and his mom, Muffin, whom I tried to name “biscuit” lived to be almost that old. They were like family members. They taught me responsibility and patience; and I was very excited, after going almost a decade without a cat, to adopt Hardy and have the chance to share that experience with my daughter.
My first experience with cat cafés came in 2016 when I visited one in Seoul, South Korea. My family and I could have spent all day there. I couldn’t help thinking how Columbia would be a perfect town for a cat café, with its student population and thriving, eclectic downtown. We’ve watched Columbia grow to be quite the bustling city, but it’s still lacking a cat café!
And I'm excited to bring this idea to the great town of Columbia. I consider myself a Columbia native—I’ve lived 20 minutes away my entire life, my wife (MacKenzie) is a Hickman grad, and we both graduated from Mizzou as teachers. We want to bring something new and different to the people here, something that can help folks who can’t own cats for whatever reason, and something that can help our homeless cat population. If you can do something that can help people and animals, you should do it. I'm thrilled to be bringing Papa’s Cat Café to life!
So, after 12 years of teaching High School English, I’m taking the chance to chase a dream, a dream that brings cats and humans closer together.