If you are planning a trip to the Big Apple and are afraid you will be missing the companionship of your cats, fear not. I am sure you will miss your special cat(s) at home but as long as you have hired a reputable pet sitter, relax and visit the dozen cats at NYC’s first cat café called The Meow Parlour. It is a fun place to get your kitty fix while away from home. All the cats there are adoptable and most are friendly. Some preferred to be left alone to nap- just like at home.
Cat Cafes have been around since 1998 when the first one opened in Taiwan. Since that time several more have opened in Japan and other parts of the World. It is only over the last 2 years that this idea has caught on in the United States and Canada. The first one in the USA was in California followed by Florida, Colorado and Oregon. All of the above were too far for me to travel so I was thrilled when one opened in NYC in December of 2014.
In Japan most people don’t have their own cats so they go to the cafes to visit those. The ones in The United States and Canada are connected to shelters so all the cats are available for adoption. If I didn’t already have a house full with 15 I would have adopted one.
The Meow Parlour has a $4 fee per half hour. In addition, you can go to their café and purchase coffee and pastry. The $4 is paid in advance to hold your reservation and this is done 3 months prior to your visit. Once you are there, you can opt to stay longer and pay the extra charges.
I immediately fell in love with Franklin as I am sure many do. He was a sweetie and loved affection, I was even able to rub his tummy. All the cats there have photos on the wall with their back story. Franklin was picked up on the streets of Brooklyn. He had been run over by a car and had a crushed pelvis. After surgery, he is now healed and ready for his forever home. I was surprised to learn that a couple of the kitties had been there since the opening in December 2014. Several others have passed through the doors in the few months that the café has been opened.
The place was busy and had about 10 people visiting while we were there. That doesn’t sound like much, but it is a small space and some of the cats were sleeping so everyone was trying to spend time with the active ones. The place has been “catified” with walkways, hidey holes and napping spots. There is even a kitty door that allows the cats into another room that patrons don’t have access to. I thought this was a good idea so if any feel threatened they have a place to go to feel safe.
All the cats in residence are mellow or they would not be able to be there. Some are shyer than others, but none seem to have any big issues. When you arrive, you are asked to take off your shoes and wipe your hands with antibacterial gel. A worker is always around to insure the safety of the cats. Despite all these wonderful things I did have a couple issues that I would like to warn you about.
First off, the Meow Parlour is off the beaten path unless you are heading to Canal St. It is only one street away from there and I know many tourists to NYC do visit that area. I prefer the theater district where we stayed so the cab ride was $20, each way. It was difficult to catch a cab back to the hotel as that area just didn’t have many around. Fortunately, it is only $4 to go into the cat café.
I also noticed graffiti everywhere around, including next door. I don’t think I would have felt safe without my hubby next to me. The other problem is the part where you purchase your beverages and cat shaped cookies. NY state law won’t allow food prepared near animals so it is in a separate building which makes sense. It would be ideal if they were side by side, but you have to walk down the street and take a right and walk a little more. We walked right past it because it doesn’t have a very big sign.
The coffee and cookies are pricey and average at best. I hope a portion goes to the shelter and not just to the rent. I am spoiled at home with 15 cats that want my attention (most of the time). There were 10 cats and about that many people. We had reservations at 3 PM which must have been nap time. Most of the kitties just wanted to sleep. The 3 that were moving around would get swarmed with people so it was hard to get to pet any. I am not good at sharing so I was frustrated about this. I don’t want to knock the place though because it is a great idea and has helped many kitties get adopted. Despite all my complaints, I am glad we went and recommend any cat lover going to the city to check it out.
The Cat Café is open from noon-8 PM every day except Wednesday when they are closed. They are located at 46 Hester St. in NYC. To make reservations or read more about it, please visit: