Peanut butter and jelly. Elizabeth Taylor and diamonds. And now in Seattle, cats and coffee.
Seattle’s very first cat cafe is opening this Saturday in Wallingford and no, it’s not a BYO-cat situation.
Cat cafes have been popular in Taiwan and Japan for years, and now Seattle will have Seattle Meowtropolitan Cat Cafe.
“Basically, it’s a cafe that you can hang out with cats that are adoptable,” says Jaime Kelley, the first in line at the friends and family soft opening on Tuesday. “It’s kind of the best of both worlds; you get your caffeine, they get adopted, you get your snuggles. Perfect.”
Seattle Meowtropolitan Cat Cafe co-founder Matt Lai explains how it works.
“Within the cafe there is a separated room where the cats live,” Lai says. “We call it the cat lounge. So a customer would come into the cafe, order their drink and get their drink in a disposable cup. Then they are free to bring their drink into the cat lounge.”
There are a couple of doors separating the cafe from the cat lounge for health code reasons and to make sure curious kitties don’t escape. But the 10 shelter kitties currently in residence seemed perfectly happy being pet and snuggled, or exploring the ramps and bridges built just for them.
“As you can see we aim to create a cat wonderland,” Lai says. “The room is customized just for cats. All the structures in there we gave thought into: where would a cat like to go? What would make a cat feel comfortable?”
Cat cafes are perfect for cities, where lots of apartment dwelling renters can’t have a cat of their own. Even Lai doesn’t have a cat at home.
“I do love cats,” Lai says. “I’m actually allergic to cats and I think a cat cafe is perfect for someone like me because while I can’t have a cat at home, I can come play with cats when I want in the cat cafe.”
Anyone is welcome into the cafe to order a latte or snack on a cat shaped cookie. But to enter the coveted cat room you must first make a reservation. Fifty minutes in kitty heaven will cost you $10. And if you meet someone you like, all the cats are available for adoption.
“I just think it’s awesome,” Kelley says. ” A lot of people don’t go to shelters but everyone goes to coffee. I just think it’s an awesome concept and a good way to get awareness out about rescue.”
UW student Yosuke Kume has been to several cat cafes in Japan, and is happy to have one nearby to relieve the stress of studying.
“It’s so cool, I love cats! Cat cafe is very famous in Japan so I think this cat cafe is going to be famous also in Seattle.”