Just a mile south of the strip in Branson in the Falls Center on Highway 165, there’s a little cafe that has drawn a few chuckles over its cute name: Mochas and Meows.
While the name may make you think it’s a haven for caffeinated crazy cat ladies, the cafe is really a unique concept in helping drive the adoption of shelter cats.
The cafe houses a dozen cats that are available for adoption from the Shepherd of the Hills Humane Society. Guests can spend 15, 30, or 60 minutes in the “Cat Lounge” getting to know the hairy residents to see if any of them might be the “purr-fect” friend to become a new member of the family.
“I just loved the concept,” owner Mary Trexler told OI about the business. “I’ve never been inside another cat cafe…but I knew Branson needed cat adoptions and I knew we needed coffee, so we built from there.”
The cat lounge is separate from the cafe itself; although you can watch the cats through several large windows. The cafe offers standard coffeehouse fare: coffee, chai, hot chocolates, smoothies, espressos, and more. Many days you’ll find Trexler as your barista but she does have a team of fellow cat enthusiasts to help.
And while the cafe is helping to make a real difference in the adoption rate of shelter cats…they’re averaging more than one cat adoption per week…the cafe is also a milestone accomplishment for owner Trexler.
Trexler grew up in the Hollister area and then after graduation left the area on what calls “a journey of self discovery.” After the birth of her daughter, she moved back to Branson from Nashville and realized that she needed to straighten out her wild life.
“In 2014…I started treatment for mental illness,” Trexler said. “I took five years to get my mental health right. I quit drinking, I started going to school online, and I earned my associates degree. I then decided that I would go for my bachelor’s degree, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to study. Then I thought, ‘well, I’m in Branson, so business.'”
The cat cafe ended up coming into being because of an off-the-cuff comment made by Trexler’s younger sister after the pair attended a concert.
“On the way back we were talking about the cat cafe in St. Louis,” Trexler told OI. “My sister would always send me pictures and talk about adoptions of the cats there. I said I wished Branson had something like that. My sister just looked over and me and said ‘then do it.'”
Trexler said her classes to get her business degree began to have project after project that lent itself toward starting the business. One project was to develop a clever name, then a logo, then a business plan. When she graduated, she was basically ready to start the business and with the help of a friend officially registered with the state to start the cat cafe.
The key was getting her husband on board.
“I had been going all over the place on the kind of business I wanted to start,” Trexler said. “When I finally said I wanted to start a cat cafe, he said ‘I don’t know what that is, it sounds complicated and expensive, but show me it’s a sustainable business and I’ll back you one hundred percent.’ And here we are today!”
Trexler says that the experience has been a true joy.
“It was one thing to have the concept of this open space with the cats and a chance to serve the community this way,” Trexler said. “But once I saw it, it was amazing. It was life changing. And I get to see it have a positive impact on so many others.”
Mochas and Meows also hosts events at their store such as cat yoga on Tuesday and Thursday nights. There are also options to have “group rates” for their cat lounge if parents want to bring kids in as part of a birthday party or a church group is looking for a unique night out.
The cafe is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and weekends from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.. They’re open Sunday Noon to 5 p.m.. (They will also be expanding weekday hours in March when they go to their “summer schedule.”)