Talisa Cantrell is #MadeForKnoxville.

At first glance, Scruffy’s Cafe may look like a quirky, fun place to be surrounded by felines. But Talisa’s business is far more than just a quirky cat cafe. 

In her words, Scruffy’s is “people focused and cat obsessed.” Not only is the cafe a safe haven for cats, but it’s also a space for anyone who needs some support. In true Knoxville style, Scruffy’s goes beyond business–it’s a light for the community and a place built for all creatures and creators.

“We are very focused on being a light to the community and host events frequently, because we understand the importance of community. We want to be a rescue for people, too”

Scruffy's Cafe 1

In Their Own Words..

Scruffy’s Cafe is a safe haven for both cats and people. We host adoptable cats, run a local treats bar, and support all local makers. We are very focused on being a light to the community and host events frequently, because we understand the importance of community. We want to be a rescue for people, too, and encourage anyone who’s struggling to visit us and use “code word: blue” to get free entry and stay as long as needed. We want to be #whatrescuesyou. 

Since opening in the middle of a global pandemic, we have partnered with a major nonprofit and 6 businesses, hosted over 10 events, and found homes for over 100 cats! Scruffy’s Cafe has a one-eyed cat as its mascot and business icon, whose based off of Midna. Midna is my (Talisa) cat. She has been through intense trauma but is still kind despite her battles. She is a good reminder to remind caring and persistent no matter what! 

I have learned the importance of honoring your dreams by just getting started! Too often, people do not try, because the dream seems larger than they are. We all put so much thought into our dreams that it seems impossible to ever get started at all. When in truth, just starting off small is the way to go! Truth be told, Scruffy’s Cafe was planned in a beat up composition notebook— no fancy binders, vision boards, or blueprints. I knew if I made it too complicated, I would be too intimidated to push forward. I actually really love knowing that it all started with torn pages and ink smudges. It’s a very humble and honorable start to what’s become my life mission and passion!

 

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