Owner, Papa's Cat Cafe
Manager, Baker, Barista,
& Professional Cat Wrangler
Co-Owner, Papa's Cat Cafe
Social Media, Marketing, & Events
Papa's Team Members
Lailani -- barista, day shift
Kirsten -- barista, closing manager
Shelby -- cat wrangler
About the Owners
I'm Ryan Kennedy, and I’m Papa. Since my daughter could speak, she’s called me Papa. Papa is also the nickname of my favorite author, Ernest Hemingway, who also happened to love cats. His Key West estate is still home to over 50 cats, most of whom are polydactyl (extra-toed) Hemingway cats. So "Papa's Cat Café" seemed like a perfect name and motif for our cat 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.
Our first experience with cat cafés came in 2016 when we visited one in Seoul, South Korea. My family and I could have spent all day there. I couldn’t help thinking that 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 was still lacking a cat café!
And we're excited to bring this idea to the great town of Columbia. We consider ourselves Columbia natives—I’ve lived 20 minutes away my entire life, my wife (MacKenzie) is a Hickman grad, and we both graduated from Mizzou's College of Education as teachers. We wanted to bring something new and different to the people here, something that could help folks who can’t own cats for whatever reason, and something that could help our homeless cat population. If you can do something that can help people and animals, you should do it!
I manage the cafe and cat playroom daily while MacKenzie continues teaching at Hickman and assisting on the side. Don't hesitate to contact us if we can assist you in any way. We hope to see you with the cats!