A new cat café is opening in the Lower East Side serving macarons – with a side of kitty love.
Meow Parlour – which is the first ever cat café in New York – will have 12 cute cats for patrons to pet over their morning coffee.
And, if you fall for one particular feline during your visit, you can even adopt it.
The idea came about when Christina Ha – co-founder and head pastry chef at the popular Macaron Parlour bakery – told employee Emilie Legrand that she’d love to have a cat café.
Emilie has visited cat cafes all over the world and immediately jumped on board as an investor and partner, and is passionate about bringing her best experiences of cat cafes to the New York version.
“I really wanted a space where both cats and people would feel comfortable,” she says. “In the cat cafés I’ve visited, I noticed that people talk more softly than in regular cafés, and that contributes to a relaxing atmosphere.
“Cats have this soothing effect on people and, in Tokyo, it looked like customers were there primarily to enjoy a quiet retreat.
“That’s why we imagined a space where people could benefit from this atmosphere while working or chatting with friends, and where cats could be free to take a nap on someone’s lap or observe patrons from a higher shelf.
“I also learned that to have the best experience in a cat café, it’s important to keep in mind that the cats are the real bosses…and that’s what makes it so special, because each visit is different.”
The café, which is due to open on December 15, is separated into two facilities: Meow Parlour, which includes bespoke playpens for the adoptable cats, along with ample seating, free wifi and plenty of room for the cats and humans to roam and play; and Meow Parlour Patisserie, where the baked goods and drinks are made.
Those visiting the cats order food and drink from the patisserie and have them delivered next door to Meow Parlour at not extra charge.
The Meow Parlour space is designed so that the cats have spaces to retreat when nervous or tired, and in need of a rest. The facility can comfortably accommodate up to 12 cats and 30 people at a time.
The cats are all carefully vetted by well-respected rescue group and partner, KittyKind, and Emilie acts as liaison with the group to ensure that the cats are treated with the utmost care.
Christina also holds a NYC certificate in Animal Care and Handling and she’ll take responsibility for maintaining cleanliness standards and regulations for both Meow Parlour and its bakery.
She says: “Our establishments are completely separate. We have Meow Parlour, and Meow Parlour Patisserie, two different entities at different addresses. Our establishments are both in compliance with the Department of Health.”
For those who meet the cat of their dreams at the café, adoptions can be set up through KittyKind, pending the submission of an application, an interview, and a home visit.
All of the cats at Meow Parlour are vaccinated, spayed/neutered, and well-tempered. In order to avoid stressing the cats with too much socialization Meow Parlour also has a secluded environment for the cats, which is closed to the public, where they can relax undisturbed.
Christina adds: “We’re working directly with KittyKind to identify which of their cats will be best equipped to live at Meow Parlour. We’ll also work closely with them to determine whether the cats should stay at Meow Parlour until they’re adopted, or move into another foster home. The cats are our first priority.”
*Meow Parlour is located at 46 Hester Street. To spend time with Meow Parlour cats, guests will be charged $4 per half hour, or $30 for the maximum five-hour period. Appointments can be made online or on a walk-in basis.
A special time for children under 12 to enjoy Meow Parlour will take place from 3-5pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. Meow Parlour offers a reduced rate of $12 per hour for 1 child and their chaperone.