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SAN DIEGO — San Diego is now among a handful of cities in the country to have a “cat café”  where customers can sip coffee while they pet cats.

The Cat Café, located at 472 3rd Avenue in downtown, opened its doors Dec. 22.

Customers are able to order drinks and pastries on one side of the café, then walk over to another area where they can enjoy their coffee in the company of cats.

“Cats are so versatile. They love people and they are very cuddly and very smart,” said café patron Dia Bassett.

Though Bassett loves being with cats, she isn’t allowed to have one in her apartment, so she frequents the Cat Café.

“I can imagine many people in downtown can walk over here and just pet a cat and grab a sandwich or something,” Bassett said.

According to the café’s owner, Tony Wang, the cats are provided by the San Diego Humane Society and are all up for adoption.

“If you feel like you want to adopt one, you fill out the paperwork, write a check for the Humane Society and head home with your cat,” Wang said.

According to California Retail Food Code, live animals may be allowed near a food facility if kept at least 20 ft. away.

In Wang’s case, he built several doors, separating the cats from where the food is prepared and served.

The cat café originated in Taiwan. The first one in the U.S. opened in Oakland.