Cats Den is a recreation room for UK students


Audience members raise lights during Helena Handbasket’s final song of the Cat’s Den drag show on Thursday, February 28, 2019 in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Natalie Parks | Staff

Kamilah Williams

Cats Den is keeping its historic purpose while creating a space where all students and faculty are welcomed.

On the first level of the Gatton Student Center, there is a large space where you can find students doing homework, hanging out with friends or participating in the weekly events. This place is called Cats Dens, and it is where many UK students flock to daily. But how did Cats Den come about?

“The Cats Den in the previous student center was a game room and entertainment center, and when we remodeled in 2002 the name changes to the Cats Den to reflect increased entertainment offerings and social employment space,” said the assistant director of activities and marketing, Dustin Adams.

Some of the events that Cats Den host weekly include Trivia Night, UK Watch party and Open Mic Night. The events take place around 7, 8 or 9 p.m. Events are typically hosted Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, but can take place also on Friday or Saturday, if there is a UK men’s football or basketball game happening.

“Historically, Comedy Caravan is our flagship. The weekly stand-up comedy has now ran continuously for over 15 years with the milestone 500th show approaching in the 2019-2020 academic year. A newer program offered in the Cats Den is our canvas painting event. Students can attend and paint their own masterpiece with the guidance of an instructor. All supplies are provided,” said Adams. 

More canvas painting class will be happening this semester since Cats Den has expanded their supply capacity. The full schedule of events for spring 2019 can be found on the UK Gatton Student Center website.

“For the most up to date information and schedule, follow the Cats Den on social media. There are daily updates as to what events are happening and any changes in programming that may have occurred,” said Adams.

The purpose of Cats Den is to create a sense of community. Many students will come and hang out before and after class, do homework when an event is not taking place or a partake in a friendly game of Monopoly.

“A lot of people come here for the pool tables,” said Gatton Student Center worker Wonjin Kim.

In Cats Den, there are two pool tables that students can play free of charge. There are also a variety of board games students can check out and play while in the space. You can even find university faculty and staff, meeting in the Cats Den for informal meetings.

“The Cats Den, like the Gatton Student Center, is where students can find a sense of community. If Gatton Student Center is the ‘living room’ of campus, the Cats Den is more like the rec room,” Abrams said. “Someplace to kick back and have some fun, be it as a place to study, take a break to grab a bite to eat, or attending an event with fellow students.”

If a student organization is interested in hosting an event in the Cats Den, the application is online. There is also a “Subsidy Program” that allows student organizations a place to program, with up to $250 in assistance paid directly to the provider by the Gatton Student Center.