Flying Cat Coffee House
3041 SE Division
Portland, OR

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s a flying black cat with a red cape, serving someone a cup of coffee at the Flying Cat Coffee House in SE Portland. I know it’s a local coffee shop, because the Steel Bridge over the Willamette River is on the sign. The shop has several wonderful rugs—each with its own caped & flying black cat—covering the floor, unfortunately ressembling some sort of road kill. But the rug cats are charming, so maybe they can charm their way back to life. In the corner flies another cat, apparently paper mache. He struggles to hold the huge cup he’s delivering; it’s really weighting him down. Cat pictures adorn the walls, but there the cat theme ends, presumably so as not to alienate the dog-lovers of the city. I happen to be fans of both, but especially of Supercats!

The neighborhood offers a lot of alternative shopping and dining, and is rather funky. The shop itself is nestled into the front of an old house; indeed, a bike-rider rents the upstairs, and patrons are requested to respect the rights of this tenant. The store is furnished adequately with older tables and chairs, a couple of easy chairs, a large central table just right for a group, and a big, plush, old velvet sectional with swirly gold-guilded wooden framing and upholstery buttons, that looked to me like something out of the set of Lady and the Tramp. I can just see the two Siamese cats curling up on its cushions, waiting maliciously for the baby to fall asleep. Prim and proper, as it were. Near the back of the store is a children’s area, with a foam mat, its own tiny wooden table & chairs, a blackboard, and a good variety of toys (another reason to be a kid again). The bathroom in the back has a changing table for baby koalas, and one room services both genders. The paper towel dispenser didn’t work for me, but wet hands are a minor problem, unless you’re petting a cat. Which brings me to my main question: What sort of flying black cat coffee house has no resident flying black cats, or any resident sleeping black cats, at least, since cats are known to sleep 80% of the time? The rug kill ones were cute, but unresponsive. No customers had brought their own cats in either, even for a bonding experience, let alone a photo session on that velvet couch. I resigned myself to drinking coffee and eating my cupcake, but it all seemed quite un-cat-like.

Fare: I paid $1.50 for my coffee, a medium roast, and a whopping $1.50 for my day-old cupcake. Their pastries seemed over-priced, and there was just a small selection. Coffee was fine.

Service and clientele: Prompt service, answered questions, and thanked me for my compliment about the cat logo. But later we observed the barrista going outside for a smoke, then tossing away the butt; this objectionable behavior seemed too crude for a “cat-place”. Then again, this is Portland. There were tables outside with customers happily munching food off their square plates, but only one couple inside besides us. Clientele blended into the neighborhood, except for us. People with a mission to be hip.

Rating: 3- (of possible 5) coffee beans. Rugs and children’s areas were good, but lack of even one single cat, I don’t know…limited the rating. Must make the judgement somehow.