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Are Cat Cafes Coming to America?

Are Cat Cafes Coming to America?

What snuggly attractions do Japan, Korea and several European countries have that the United States doesn’t? Cat cafes. But that’s about to change.

Courtney Hatt and David Braginsky plan to open the nation’s first combination tea house and cat sanctuary in San Francisco. Aptly named KitTea, they envision a space with plenty of natural lighting where patrons can sip tea while stroking a tired tabby or dangling a toy for a playful Persian. And if a customer makes a connection with a certain calico, an adoption is possible.

According to the KitTea website, the business will partner with a local cat rescue shelter to pick about 10 cats that “will be selected based on their personalities and whether they have been socialized to be comfortable around both humans and other cats.” Given Americans’ fondness for both cats and caffeine, why don’t we have a cat cafe already? Health codes are mostly to blame. A Boston cat cafe called Miaou was scheduled to open in 2013 but still hasn’t opened its doors due to issues with having animals in the same facility where food is served.

San Francisco has similar regulations to Boston, but the health department says the cat cafe concept could work if the cats are kept separately from food and beverages — as in a completely different room. KitTea, which is looking for a potential location in Hayes Valley, The Mission or The Lower Haight, says the ideal building would feature two separate sections divided by a closed-off hallway. Patrons would buy their tea in one room and then walk down the hallway to enter the area with free-roaming cats. The two distinct spaces wouldn’t be allowed to share entrances, staff, washrooms or storage spaces, but Hatt says she’s “confident” that the cat cafe will get the approval necessary to start crowdfunding the business.

KitTea plans to open in spring or summer of 2014.

Article by Laura Moss

Photo by Sarah J. Poe

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Kara, selected from Mother Nature Network

Mother Nature Network's mission is to help you improve your world. From covering the latest news on health, science, sustainable business practices and the latest trends in eco-friendly technology, MNN.com strives to give you the accurate, unbiased information you need to improve your world locally, globally, and personally – all in a distinctive thoughtful, straightforward, and fun style.

96 comments

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2:26AM PDT on Oct 18, 2014

Thank you!

3:21AM PDT on May 21, 2014

I love this idea, but I's have a problem. I would want to stay all day!!

And, then when I got home, my 5 fur balls would have NOTHING to do with me because they would smell the other kitties (LOL)!!

8:43PM PDT on Mar 17, 2014

Chinmayee J asked: "This is a great idea, however what happens if a patron gets bitten or scratched?"

Interesting question, but if I am going into a cat café I would imagine most of the cats there are used to being with people. If one worries, avoid going into one. Accidents sometimes happen but I would love a café with a feline touch.

9:06PM PDT on Mar 15, 2014

This is one area where I'd actually favor a special carve out (or loophole) to the health code to make this practical. Requiring a hallway separating the food prep area from the place where the customers and the cats comingle would rule out a lot of prospective locations and would be kind of pointless, but the idea that you'd have to have two staffs who are segregated is a killer.

3:07PM PDT on Mar 14, 2014

Looove the idea! But they should be homeless cats :)

12:59PM PDT on Mar 13, 2014

This is maby a good idea to rehome cats who are in a schelter, come to know your new kitty while drinking your afternoon tea!!

5:09AM PDT on Mar 13, 2014

it's time for anteater cafes

6:58AM PDT on Mar 12, 2014

This is a great idea, however what happens if a patron gets bitten or scratched? Also, so many other cats (e.g. grumpy ones) would get excluded from this and might have longer lengths of stay in shelters...however at least it would reduce the load on the shelters, as well as providing a lovely relaxing atmosphere for both patrons and cats - I would definitely visit one of these!

2:51PM PDT on Mar 11, 2014

I like the whimsy of a cat cafe and the practicality of it. There seems to be a niche for something like this. Shop owners know if they don't keep it clean they'll lose their business so I'm sure the majority of them will do a fine job. There is the bad apple in every barrel, however. For people who have allergies; Don't go to a cat cafe, there are plenty of other tea/coffee shops for you to go to. Obviously no one would come to a cafe of this nature bringing their own pet, cats wouldn't like it at all. Or, who knows, there may be one or two out there who would.

1:35PM PDT on Mar 11, 2014

Thanks for sharing!!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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