The Best Places for Cat Lovers in Los Angeles
You need to visit these places right meow!
The special relationship between cats and humans is as old as civilization and stretches back more than 9,500 years. Cats have figured in the history of many nations, were worshiped as gods, and continue to be a favorite subject of artists and writers.
Cat lovers in Los Angeles will discover that their feline friends are everywhere in the city. From kitty adoption centers to close encounters with big cats, read on for the best cat places in LA to visit during the Year of the Tiger, on International Cat Day (August 8), National Cat Day (October 29), or right meow!
Check individual locations for the latest COVID protocols.
Bailey the Lion - LA Kings
The official mascot of the LA Kings, Bailey the Lion wears number 72 "because it's always 72 degrees in Los Angeles." Originally introduced in 2007, Bailey has cheered on the Kings through their first two Stanley Cup championships. Bailey is named in honor of Garnet "Ace" Bailey, the team's Director of Pro Scouting, who was aboard United Airlines Flight 175 on 9/11. Ace Bailey's legacy is honored through his namesake's work with the community and the nonprofit Kings Care Foundation.
Fans can request Bailey for their events - the 30-minute appearance includes a meet & greet and photo ops.
The Black Cat
The Black Cat in Silver Lake is a warm and inviting bar with attentive staff, handsome design, good food and cocktails. But The Black Cat is much more than a bustling neighborhood tavern. The Stonewall Inn in New York is widely regarded as the flashpoint that gave rise to LGBTQ pride. However, the original Black Cat was the site of a peaceful demonstration that took place on Feb. 11, 1967 - two and a half years before the 1969 Stonewall riots. A plaque mounted on the exterior of The Black Cat declares it as "the site of the first documented LGBT civil rights demonstration in the nation." In 2008, the City of Los Angeles recognized The Black Cat as Historic Cultural Monument No. 939. The demonstration that’s commemorated by the plaque stemmed from police raids that took place on New Year’s Eve 1967 at The Black Cat and other gay bars in the area.
Located on Sepulveda Boulevard in West L.A., the nonprofit CatCafe Lounge is a cat lover's "purradise." All of CatCafe Lounge's cats are rescued by their rescue partner, Kitten Rescue. Every cat at the cafe is spayed/neutered, vaccinated, and microchipped.
At any given time, up to 30 adoptable feline residents enjoy natural light, lots of vertical space options, creative solutions for scratching, plenty of nooks and crannies for napping, and toys for simulated hunting and chasing.
The tax-deductible $35 donation includes access to the indoor Cat and Kitten Lounges; and the outdoor Catio (not covered) for an hour, plus a free freshly brewed coffee or tea. Ages 7 and up. Guests 7-11 years old must be accompanied by a chaperone over the age of 18. Private parties are available.
The Cat & Fiddle
The Cat & Fiddle was originally opened in 1982 by London native, Kim Gardner and his New Orleanian wife, Paula. A bassist and integral part of the British Rock invasion of the 1960s and '70s, Gardner played in bands such as Quiet Melon (with Rod Stewart) and The Birds (with Ron Wood). Music eventually brought him to Hollywood, where he opened a British pub in Laurel Canyon "because there wasn't one." The small nook was Gardner's personal playground and became a favorite watering hole for the entertainment industry. In 1985, the Cat moved into a larger location on Sunset Boulevard that featured one of the best patios in L.A. and counted Morrissey among the regulars.
After closing in December 2014, the beloved pub moved once again and reopened in June 2017 at the former Mud Tavern space on Highland Avenue. The latest incarnation of the Cat is more intimate than its previous location, but long-time patrons will appreciate the dog-friendly garden patio. Kim passed away in 2001, and today Paula and their three daughters run the Cat & Fiddle with the same welcoming spirit. The menu features British staples such as Bangers & Mash, Fish & Chips, Homemade Savoury Pies, and Traditional Sunday Roast. The Cat offers an extensive selection of craft, imported and domestic beers, wines and fresh signature cocktails.
Crumbs & Whiskers Los Angeles
Crumbs & Whiskers started with owner Kanchan Singh’s Kickstarter campaign and the dream of helping more shelter cats get adopted. The first Crumbs & Whiskers in Washington, D.C. did so well that she opened another location on Melrose Avenue in L.A. Crumbs & Whiskers partners with local rescues to house homeless cats (mostly six months to two years old) until they find their furever families.
Advance booking is highly recommended. Two ticket options are available (coffee and snacks not included): 30-minute session for $25 and 70 minutes for $40. Guests must be at least 7 years old. Children under age 12 must be accompanied by an adult 18 years or older. Parties of 7 people or more must book a private event.
One of the most recognized cartoon characters in film history, Felix the Cat was created in the silent era and reached the height of his popularity in the Roaring Twenties. Numerous individuals and organizations have adopted the mischievous black cat as a mascot, including L.A. automobile dealer Winslow Felix, who opened Felix Chevrolet in 1921 at 12th Street and Grand Avenue. Felix was a friend of filmmaker Pat Sullivan, whose animation studio created the pop culture icon. Today Felix Chevrolet is located at Figueroa and Jefferson near the USC campus. The dealership's famous three-sided sign, installed in 1957 and featuring a smiling Felix the Cat, has been a familiar sight to generations of students and drivers.
Flying Tigers - Flight Path Museum
Unique among aviation museums in Southern California, the Flight Path Museum & Learning Center at LAX is the only aviation museum and research center situated at a major airport, and the only facility with a primary emphasis on contributions of civil aviation to the history and development of Southern California. Exhibits include Commercial Aviation History, Flight Crew Uniforms, Space Exploration, DC-3 Plane and Fire Fighting Vehicle. The Flight Path Simulator Training Program encourages students to pursue further education and careers in aviation.
Named for the Flying Tigers fighter squadron of World War II, the Flying Tiger line (aka Flying Tigers) was the first scheduled cargo airline in the United States and a major military charter operator during the Cold War for both cargo and personnel. Founded by Flying Tigers ace Robert William Prescott, the airline was bought by FedEx in 1988.
The Flying Tigers Exhibit traces the history of the airline, with artifacts from before its founding to its acquisition by FedEx. The former Flying Tigers HQ still stands at LAX and is used by LAWA for administrative functions.
Galaxy of Comics
"This is where comics live" - along with shop cats Princess Pugsley and Shuri the Black Panther. Opened by Warren Jaycox in 2009, Galaxy of Comics offers a free pull service and weekly specials like Twitter Tuesday and Facebook Friday. Galaxy of Comics also hosts Friday Night Magic, Yu Gi Oh! tournaments on Sundays, and SoulGeek Singles night on the second Saturday of every month.
The Iliad Bookshop
Bookstores are great, and bookstores with resident felines are even better! With over 150,000 books in stock, The Iliad Bookshop in North Hollywood is one of the largest used bookstores in L.A., specializing in Literature and the Arts with an inventory that includes a wide range of subjects. Apollo and Zeus came to The Iliad as eight-week-old kittens in August 2014. According to The Iliad, "Apollo (the blonde one) loves to purr and climb ladders; Zeus (the gray tabby) may jump onto your neck unexpectedly." Friendly and sociable, the brothers are active and playful in the mornings and evenings, but in the afternoons they like to sleep in their bed on the front counter. You can read about The Iliad's previous cats, like Zola the "One-Eyed Pirate Kitty" and Charlie "the Silver Bullet," at the bookstore's Pet Gallery.
Jaguar Habitat - Los Angeles Zoo
Opened in 2014, the Rainforest of the Americas is a state-of-the-art exhibit at the Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens. Detailed sculptures, educational graphics, and architectural elements create an immersive experience for visitors. Animal highlights include amazing creatures from piranhas and giant otters to harpy eagles and cotton top tamarins.
Built on a hillside at the north end of the Rainforest of the Americas, the jaguar habitat is a 7,100 square-foot exhibit space that includes a waterfall and pool, as well as climbing trees and tall grasses. A legendary symbol of power and strength in ancient cultures like the Maya and Aztec, the jaguar is the largest cat in the Americas and the world’s third largest cat. Jaguars can live in many places but they are most at home in the dense rainforest, where the spotted coat provides camouflage for ambushing its prey. An adjacent 1,800 square-foot holding area provides an off-exhibit retreat. As solitary creatures, jaguars prefer to be alone when they're not courting, mating, or caring for young.
Jaguar XKSS - Petersen Automotive Museum
For car buffs, The Vault at the Petersen Automotive Museum is a bucket list experience - an extraordinary collection of more than 250 iconic and rare cars from around the world exhibited in a 60,000 square-foot underground space. Two tour options are available: Self-Guided ($25) and Docent-Guided ($35).
One of the highlights of The Vault is Steve McQueen's favorite car, the legendary 1956 Jaguar XKSS that he affectionately nicknamed the "Green Rat." McQueen loved driving this car fast and reportedly received so many speeding tickets his driver’s license was almost suspended twice during his first year of ownership.
Kitty Bungalow Charm School for Wayward Cats
The Kitty Bungalow Charm School for Wayward Cats is California's only 100% feral cat rescue and socialization facility. As shelter interventionists, the Kitty Bungalow focuses on the most vulnerable of felines - the ferals. Nearly 80 weekly volunteers use guided socialization techniques and objectives to take these street cats from "hiss to home." Their goal is that these cats never have to see the inside of a shelter and the socialized kittens graduate as "Ivy League lap cats" into lifelong loving homes. More than just finding homes for the homeless kitties, the Kitty Bungalow is working at the root of the problem by providing broad based Trap Neuter Return (TNR) and free spays and neuters to neighborhoods in need within Los Angeles.
Pink Panthermobile - Galpin Auto Sports
Based in the San Fernando Valley since 1946, Galpin Motors is a family-owned, award-winning automotive collective that includes ten dealerships and the Horseless Carriage, "America’s first full-service, in-dealership restaurant." Galpin Motors' renowned in-house customizing and aftermarket center, Galpin Auto Sports (GAS) offers everything from window tinting to complete restorations and coach building - taking the wildest ideas from concept art to reality.
One of LA's best car collections is on view in the GAS showroom, which displays dozens of vehicles, including the outrageous Pink Panthermobile. Originally built in 1969 for $100,000, the bright pink custom limousine was used in the title and credit sequences of "The Pink Panther Show." The Panthermobile was designed by Ed “Newt” Newton and the construction was a collaboration between famed customizers, Dan Woods, Joe Bailon and Bill “The Leadslinger” Hines. Built on a 1960s Oldsmobile Toronado chassis and sculpted out of sheet metal, the Panthermobile is an astounding 23 feet long and six feet wide. A massive 7-liter engine moves the front wheels - the driver’s seat is located outside the vehicle in front of the engine. The clamshell door opens to reveal the "Pleasure Capsule" - a groovy interior with pink shag reclining seats, square-tufted upholstery, faux-fur pillows, a '70s car phone, and a bar. The Pink Panthermobile was bought at auction in 2011 and completely restored by GAS under the supervision of Galpin's Dave Shuten.
Red Lion Tavern
A Silver Lake favorite since 1959, the Red Lion Tavern was opened by Ted Mandekic and Edward Pagliano (then-owners of Cole’s Pacific Electric Buffet in Downtown LA) as an “Olde English” pub. New owners took over in 1963 and changed it to a German bar. In 1981, Uwe Backen bought the Lion, remodeled and expanded the bar to three levels, and added the outdoor beer garden in the 90s. The current owners are longtime patrons and friends of the Red Lion, Aidas Mattis and family.
Gather your friends, order boots of beer (2L or 4L available) and nosh on authentic German fare. The Sausage Platter is a must - three whole German sausages (bratwurst, knackwurst, smoked bockwurst) are cut into bite-sized pieces and served with pickles, peppers, and mustard. Another popular starter, the Pretzel Platter features a 14-inch pretzel topped with German sliced ham, salami, landjäger (spiced beef), bierknacker (smoked pork), cheese, pickles, German mustard and obazda. Entrees include the massive Eisbein (boiled pork shank) with sauerkraut, mashed potatoes and gravy, speared with a steak knife; and the Schweinebraten - roast pork loin smothered in gravy, served with red cabbage and mashed potatoes. Veg-friendly options include the Field Roast Veggie Burger in the beer garden; Flammkuchen (traditional German pizza with a white sauce, spinach, onions), and a Vegetarian Bratwurst with mashed potatoes, coleslaw, and German mustard.
There's always something happening at the Lion, from Monday night trivia and Thursday night karaoke to a packed sports schedule. The generous Happy Hour runs Monday through Friday from noon to 6pm.
Room 8 the Cat - Elysian Heights Elementary
Serving the communities of Elysian Heights and Great Echo Park, Elysian Heights Elementary Arts Magnet was once the home of one of the most famous cats in the world. One day in 1952, a large gray-striped tabby cat surprised EHS students by wandering into a classroom and staying on campus until the end of lunch. He left as mysteriously as he had appeared. The cat returned for class the next morning, and after a few days of this pattern it became clear that the friendly feline had adopted Elysian Heights Elementary. Although he roamed the halls and slept wherever he pleased, he was named after the classroom where he made his debut: Room 8. When EHS closed for summer vacation, Room 8 vanished. On the first day of school the following September, Room 8 returned, once again showing up every day like clockwork. Room 8 repeated this routine every year for over 15 years and never missed a day. Room 8 also sat front and center in almost every 6th grade class photo from 1953 until 1967.
Word spread about Room 8, and by 1962 he had become an international celebrity. He was featured in countless newspapers and news programs, as well as TIME, Look, Weekly Reader, Art Linkletter's House Party, and a 1968 documentary, Big Cats, Little Cats. Room 8 received over 10,000 fan letters while he lived at EHS - most were answered by EHS students, aka his "secretaries." In 1966, the Room 8 story was told in the classic children's book, A Cat Called Room 8.
Room 8 passed away in 1968 at the ripe old age of 22. His obituary ran in the Los Angeles Times and in papers as far away as Hartford, Connecticut. He is buried at the Los Angeles Pet Memorial Park in Calabasas. Room 8 is immortalized throughout the EHS campus with paintings, photographs and even sketches in cement.
Saber-toothed cat - La Brea Tar Pits
Located on the Miracle Mile, the La Brea Tar Pits are one of the world’s most famous fossil sites. The La Brea Tar Pits Museum (inside the George C. Page Museum building) houses an incredible collection of more than three million Ice Age specimens and displays Ice Age fossils — including saber-toothed cats, dire wolves and mammoths — from 10,000 to 40,000-year-old asphalt deposits. Every day, visitors can watch the processes of paleontology unfold as scientists and volunteers prepare fossils inside the glass-enclosed Fossil Lab. The La Brea Tar Pits are a registered National Natural Landmark.
The saber-toothed cat (Smilodon fatalis) is probably the most well-known species at the La Brea Tar Pits, and is also the California state fossil. More than 2,500 saber-toothed cats have been excavated from the La Brea Tar Pits and studied at the Museum. Visitors can watch a life-size saber-toothed cat come to life in Ice Age Encounters, a dynamic multimedia performance that uncovers the mysteries of the extinct creatures that roamed Ice Age Los Angeles over 10,000 years ago. The saber-toothed cat puppet is a collaboration between the La Brea Tar Pits Museum and the innovators at Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, whose many film and TV credits include the Muppets and Where the Wild Things Are.
Located in Acton, Shambala Preserve is the high desert home for more than 20 exotic felines confiscated by authorities from roadside zoos and private citizens. Lions, tigers, cougars, leopards, bobcats, and a serval live out their lives at Shambala. The big cat sanctuary was founded by actress Tippi Hedren, who serves as president of the non-profit Roar Foundation and resides at Shambala.
The property is open to the public one weekend a month for Safari Tours, a 2.5-hour planned program that includes a one-hour guided walking tour. Safari Tours are available by advance reservation, for ages 18 and up only. Admission is $50 per person.
Currently on hiatus, Sunset Safaris are limited to 40 guests and include a light dinner at sunset. Pricing is $150 and available by advance reservation only.