Kelli Steward, the co-founder of Alabama’s famous cat café, Gatos and Beans, died this weekend. According to AL.com, Steward had been battling “a very serious illness” for a while now. Her death was confirmed by a Facebook post from her page on Sunday.
Co-founder of Birmingham’s first cat café passes away
The social media post said, “Kelli is gone from this world. I don’t have the words to convey the loss of one like her. Things didn’t matter much to her.” It further added that people, pets, and lost animals were Steward’s “passion.”
“We need very little in this world. Like Kelli, we can give back to those who are in need,” the post read. The Alford Avenue Veterinary Hospital, where Steward worked as a receptionist “for decades,” also put up a Facebook post. It reads, “It’s not easy losing a family member and even harder to put that sense of loss into words.”
They further described her as a woman with “a perky attitude” who made friends with the hospital’s staff, as well as the clients. “Much more than a receptionist, Kelli was, for many years, the face of Alford Avenue Veterinary Hospital.”
“In lieu of flowers or cards the family asks that you show your love for Kelli by donating to a charity of your choice to honor her,” the post concluded.
Steward started Birmingham’s first-ever cat café after quitting her job as a receptionist at the hospital, although she continued to work there occasionally. The café, located at 4348 Third Court South, is known for its unique and cozy vibe perfectly suited for cats. Customers can pet and play with the felines, and even adopt the cats.
During an earlier interaction with AL.com, Steward had spoken at length about her love for felines. “They’re all unique. They all are so different, and have such different needs,” she said.
Continuing, she shared, “They have all these fantastic little personalities, whether they’re good, bad or indifferent. They just are who they are.”