The furry felines at Vancouver's first cat cafe, Catfé, have been so popular with customers the shop has had to temporarily close.

The cafe, which opened in December, lets customers drink a coffee and visit with eight to 12 rescue cats.

The cats — provided by the BC SPCA — are all up for adoption, and now, almost all of them have been.

"I was hoping it wouldn't happen, but I knew it was always a possibility," said Catfé owner Michelle Furbacher.

On one hand, it's a success for the new cafe, which has been so popular it takes reservations weeks in advance for the 16 available spots in its "cat lounge" section. (Food and drinks are served in a separate section, following food safety rules).

"It's turning out to be a really great way to adopt or potentially meet cats you might be interested in adopting," she said. "It's just a warm, comfortable environment" with cats free to roam, "their personalities really come out a lot more."

But Furbacher said it's also a challenge for the Catfé's business model.

"Obviously, we were hoping not to have to be closed," she said. "We want the cats to get adopted, but we also want to have a space where you can just go hang out with the cats even if you're not necessarily looking to adopt."

Furbacher says she doesn't want to keep any cats in the shop permanently, because she feels it would be unfair to them.

Vancouver cat café - Catfé

Catfé lets customers grab a java and play with cats, that are all up for adoption — and now most are spoken for. (Megan Batchelor/CBC)

More cats arrive Thursday

There has been an "adoption spree" over the past three weeks, with 11 cats finding new homes from their Catfé interactions, said Furbacher.

The two cats left in the cafe yesterday seemed overwhelmed by humans, so she decided it was time to close until the next "shipment" of cats, hand-picked by the SPCA, arrive on Thursday.

The holiday season, and even winter road conditions in northern B.C. have slowed the arrival of more cats, she said.

"We get a lot of our cats in from the northern branches of the SPCA," she said.

Furbacher plans to reopen Friday.

In the meantime, she reminds the public there are plenty of cats from other shelters still waiting for homes.

With files from Stephanie Mercier