Cat cafes are taking over the world, one city at a time.
Cat cafes are popping up all over the United States and the rest of the world and fast becoming popular destinations for both tourists and locals in search of a feline fur-fix.
The origin of the idea comes from Asia, where homes are often so small it’s not possible to keep a cat. The first cat café was the Cat Flower Garden, which opened in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan in 1998. The concept quickly caught on in Japan as the Japanese rank amongst the world’s most besotted cat people.
From a cat-lover’s perspective, it’s a place to go to pet cats and enjoy their company. After all, coffee and cats are a commonsense together. However, there is even more in it for the cats that are lucky enough to live here. So many cats don’t thrive in a shelter, which is a scary, noisy place at best. As a result, they often hide and this makes them harder to find forever homes.
A cat café is a very homely environment and the casual ambience allows even the most timid of felines to thrive and show of her best side. Therefore, it’s truly a win-win.
The first cat café to open permanently in America was The Cat Town Café, in Oakland, California. It’s co-owned by Ann Dunn and Adam Myatt. They have been running a nonprofit cat shelter called Cat Town for a number of years, rescuing at-risk felines from the Oakland Animal Services city shelter.
Dunn and Myatt launched a crowdfunding scheme in order to raise the money needed for the project, which has a separate café area adjacent to the cat zone where 15 to 17 cats reside, and where visitors can sit and interact with the felines while enjoying freshly brewed coffee and a bagel. You and a feline friend can also imbibe in catnip tea.
“It’s been so rewarding and the numbers have exceeded our wildest expectations,” said Dunn. “The best part is that the relaxed setting gives shy and nervous cats a place to let their true personalities shine through, which ultimately makes them more adoptable—and more quickly.
“In the first week of opening, a cat named Pilot who had been in our shelter for four months found a home! And this scenario keeps repeating itself,” Dunn added.
The Cat Town Cafe is located at 2869 Broadway, at 29th Street, in Oakland. More information can be found at www.CatTownCafe.com
Since then, the Meow Parlour has opened in New York at 46 Hester Street, New York; The Cat Café in San Diego at 472 3rd Ave San Diego, between Island Ave and J Street; and Crumbs & Whiskers situated in historic Georgetown at 3211 O St NW, Washington, D.C. 20007.
In addition, there are more to come; there’s talk about Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco and Portland.
For anyone looking for a project, or a shelter looking to improve their adoption rate, using crowdfunding sites such as Indiegogo and Kickstarter seems to be the way to go to raise the necessary money.
James Bowen, the London-based author of the widely successful book “A Street Cat Named Bob,” the story of the orange tabby who literally adopted him and changed his life around turned to Indiegogo to fund his latest project called Bob’s World Cat Café.
Apart from visitors coming for a fur fix, Bowen plans to use the café to promote animal welfare and host workshops to better the lives of street cats.
About the Author: Sandy Robins is the 2013 winner of the “Excellence in Journalism and Outstanding Contribution to the Pet Industry Award.” Her work appears on many of the country’s leading pet platforms, such as MSNBC.com, MSN.com and TODAYShow.com. She is a regular contributor and columnist in multiple national and international publications, including Cat Fancy, as well as the author of the award-winning books “Fabulous Felines: Health and Beauty Secrets for the Pampered Cat” and “For The Love of Cats.” Learn more about Sandy on her website or Facebook page. #welovecats