An Afternoon at NYC’s First Cat Cafe

December 22, 2014 § Leave a comment

meow parlour storefront

Last Monday, Meow Parlour opened to much fanfare. Finally, New York gets its own permanent cat cafe! (I believe Cat Town Cafe in Oakland has the honor of being the first in the U.S.)

The first time I visited a cat cafe was in Hong Kong (pictures here and here); it was definitely more of a cat-themed cafe that happened to have pet cats — lots of tables and chairs with a full-fledged menu of kitty-shaped things.

In contrast, Meow Parlour centers on the well-being of its four-legged tenants. There’s lots of open space to sit and play with the cats, which are all up for adoption through KittyKind, plus nooks for them to hide in if they’re tired of human interaction. As my friend Jennifer said, it’s so hard to resist wanting to take one home!

I donated to Meow Parlour’s Kickstarter immediately upon learning about it, thus securing myself a reservation for two this past Saturday. When I arrived at 2 p.m., all but two of the kitties were sleeping (I think there were about eight total?), so I chilled and took in all the cat-friendly decor.

sleeping kitty

meow parlour cat cafe

The black hoop is a wheel for them to run on!

meow parlour cat cafe

The atmosphere was as serene as a yoga studio during meditation. We humans were respectful of kitty naptime, padding around in our socks, just happy to be in the presence of so many cute kitties but also obviously wanting to play with them! It was almost surreal; we all knew why we were there, but we weren’t going to be gauche about it.

Marty, the black and white kitty, was the most active during my visit — he prowled around, chased toys and generally didn’t sit in one spot for long.

Handsome fella

Handsome fella

Marty + Jennifer

Marty + Jennifer

By the time Jennifer arrived and joined me on the floor half an hour later, the kitties started waking up a bit (if only to move to another spot to sleep). Except this one, which was just passed out:

sleeping kitty

“Leave me alooooone”

As we were chatting, another cat —Liza, I believe — came up from under my arm and climbed into my lap, purring and kneading me. OMG. Best moment of my life?!? It came close. (I FELT SO SPECIAL)

8-catlap

SO FLUFFY AND PERFECT (PURRFECT)

SO FLUFFY AND PERFECT (PURRFECT)

My cat allergies have prevented me from having much interaction with cats, a tragedy considering they’re one of my favorite animals. (Claritin helps.) Any previous experiences were hardly positive, as I’ve been scratched quite a few times when trying to get friendly with cats :(

Anyway, sitting there with a perfectly soft and warm cuddly cat in my lap made me realize that the cat cafe experience has the potential to be so special because we don’t choose the cats; they choose us. Even if I needed to pee in that moment, I would’ve stayed there for as long as Liza wanted to be in my lap. I felt anointed. (Cat owners are probably rolling their eyes but just LET ME ENJOY THIS.) At no point did I see anyone grabbing or picking up a cat like you might at home or at your friend’s home.

My cat allergy is the only thing preventing me from turning into a crazy cat lady.

After an hour, Jennifer and I got hungry, so we put our shoes and coats back on and headed to Meow Patisserie around the corner. (Turn left out of Meow Parlour and take a right on the first street, Ludlow.)

The bakery was serving classics from my favorite macaron place, Macaron Parlour, which preceded all this cat cafe business. I’m so happy for Christina (and her husband Simon) for all their successful ventures! They only just opened their first macaron shop in fall of 2012, and now there are three bakeries and one cat cafe! That must be crazily time-consuming. (To be clear, Meow Parlour is a joint venture between Christina and Emilie Legrand, not Simon.)

kitty macarons

Of course, there were cat-shaped treats there as well. Apart from the counter, the Patisserie has no furniture…yet? So we brought our goodies back to Meow Parlour to eat and be among the kitties for another hour.

If I didn’t have other stuff to do, I would have happily spent the maximum five hours there. (It’s $4 per half hour.) And now that I’ve had a cat in my lap, I can’t stop thinking about wanting that feeling…all the time. Help!!

cat on shelf

cats playing

13-play

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