Cat cafes are the cat’s meow in New York City. And while Manhattan has several of the feline-friendly businesses, Brooklyn Cat Café (http://catcafebk.com) will become the first and only in Brooklyn when it opens May 6.
Run by the Brooklyn Bridge Animal Welfare Coalition, Inc., a 501(c)3 animal rescue, the non-profit business secured a permanent space in Brooklyn Heights at 149 Atlantic Avenue after a successful pop-up café in fall 2015 on Myrtle Avenue in Fort Greene, where over fifty cats found forever homes.
“People enjoy relaxing with cats,” says Anne Levin, president of Brooklyn Bridge Animal Welfare Coalition, Inc. “They are fun and a great way to enjoy them if you are unable to own a pet or are far away from your pet because you are on vacation.”
Admission is $5 per person for 30 minutes. Children under 3 are free. Brooklyn Cat Café’s adoption fee is $100 for adult cats, $125 for a single kitten, and $175 for pair of kittens. Guests can bring their own snacks, and the cafe will host interactive and educational events including movie nights, low cost vetirinary clinics, and workshops on cat health and behavior.
Meanwhile, Meow Parlour (http://www.meowparlour.com), New York City’s first cat café, has been thriving since it opened in 2014 at 46 Hester Street on the Lower East Side. Founders Christina Ha and Emilie Legrand self-funded the café with the exception of a modest Kickstarter campaign.
“We set the standards, so every other place will always be compared to us. It’s a big responsibility and we knew that going into it,” says Ha.
“Emilie and I are super hands on with all aspects of the business and it’s challenging to [keep on top] of so many things – including pastry production, transporting the cats, talking to potential adopters, staffing and so much more.”
The pastry chef adds that the biggest challenge will always be caring for the cats.
“They can’t communicate with us directly, so we have to be very attuned to the signals they’re sending us. It’s our responsibility as their care providers to do the best we can for them from providing them premium food to even helping raise money for a surgery one of our cats underwent last year.”
The resident kitties come from the non-profit rescue KittyKind, and Meow Parlour gives a fixed monthly donation, plus an additional amount for each cat adopted.
“We want to connect people with adoptable cats,” explains Ha. “We specifically asked for cats that would not do well in cages or were [overlooked] due to their age, appearance or temperament.”
Guests pay $5 per person per half hour to socialize with the frisky felines while noshing on sweet treats purchased from the nearby Meow Parlour Patisserie, which Ha also owns and operates.
“I think we’re still the only place in the country that also produces all the baked goods for the café,” beams Ha, whose creative menu features fun items like cat poop truffles and cat-shaped macarons.
Since Meow Parlour opened, over 100 cats have been adopted. And if cat cafes are trending, she says the more the merrier.
“We’re all for businesses that benefit animals or any other underserved group,” says Ha. “How amazing would it be if we ran out of stray cats in New York City?”