The cat-café concept first surfaced in Philadelphia last month when Kristin Eissler announced that she was scoping out locations for her Kawaii Kitty Cafe, then followed it up with an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign that’s currently about halfway to its goal. Now, Green Street Rescue founder Kathy Jordan told PhillyVoice that her Philadelphia-based rescue is planning its own cat café for next year.
What makes Le Cat Cafe unique, Jordan said, is that her organization — founded in 2005 — is a not-for-profit and rescues its own cats (Kawaii has partnered with PAWS). The café will be an extension of an organization that already exists.
But does the region really need another cat café? Yes, Jordan argues.
“There can’t be enough cat cafés – it’s not like, ‘Oh, there’s already one so there shouldn’t be two,’” Jordan said. “Japan has 150 – we could have 150 in the city of Philadelphia and still not have enough to get cats off the street. The more cat cafés, the better.”
Of note is that Jordan and her team of five volunteers have been chasing after the cat café concept for years. They were first inspired while waiting in line for two hours for a cat café pop-up that Purina launched in Manhattan in 2014, realizing the concept was more than feasible in Philadelphia. They tested that theory at last year’s Petapalooza in Mt. Airy, taking over a community room at Weavers Way Co-op and serving coffee for patrons while three cats roamed freely.
After a successful first run, they came back for another pop-up cat café at this year’s Petapalooza in June and hope to continue the tradition next year –regardless of how things shake out with their brick-and-mortar plans.
The café would operate on an appointment-only basis, much like other cat cafés. There would also be a three-tiered membership program (bronze, silver, gold) that allows a certain number of hours for visitors each year. That option, she said, would be most attractive for cat-lovers who are partnered with someone who’s allergic to cats, for students living in a dorm and renters with landlords who prohibit pets.
The cat café is a model that, Jordan said, has been proven time and time again — pointing to cafés in Los Angeles, New York, Oakland, Calif., and Washington, D.C. as examples. Meow Parlour, now one of two cafés in New York, has adopted out 50 cats since it opened in December.
Green Street Rescue will seek funding later this month with the launch of its own Indiegogo campaign.