The cat cafe dream has been slowly trickling across the ocean from Japan and beyond, with planned establishments popping up in a variety of American cities over the past few months. Over a year ago, one local cat lover wanted to open one here in Boston, but there's been no word from Miaou Boston in many months. This weekend, Bostonians got a small taste of the wonders of a cat cafe at a special pop-up event at a holiday craft fair.
But now, the dream for a permanent cat cafe lives again.
A Brown graduate student, Amanda Davis, has just launched a $65,000 Indiegogo campaign to open a cat cafe called Le Chat Noir, possibly in South Boston, Boston Magazine reports. The campaign will last until January 21, and $1500 has currently been raised. Rewards include opening day invites and a corporate sponsorship package.
"Le Chat Noir will be the first of its kind in New England," Davis writes on Indiegogo, "and as Boston is a rather sophisticated city, I can think of no better place for this unique business. Statistics show that there are more cat lovers in Massachusetts than any other state in the US, and customers here will definitely appreciate a relaxing feline-themed coffee shop."
She goes on to explain that there will be just ten cats (brought in from local shelters) at Le Chat Noir (to avoid "overcrowding"), and the place will be "a posh Victorian team room-meets-cat paradise." Reservations will be accepted, unlike your favorite neighborhood cat-less coffee shop. In fact, reservations will be required in the beginning, as Davis probably rightly expects a huge surge of interest when it opens, and only ten customers will be allowed inside at a time so the cats aren't overwhelmed with visitors. For those who can't get in, there'll be a kitty cam online.
Customers will be required to avoid waking up sleeping cats, using flash photography, or picking cats up, and children under eight will not be allowed. Le Chat Noir will be open eight hours a day, giving the cats plenty of time to rest without being surrounded by people. "This is a place where a cat can be a cat," Davis writes. "We envision this as their home, and us as their guests." Those who fall in love with a particular cat will have the opportunity to adopt the animal, pending the result of an application and interview (plus an adoption fee).
Davis hopes to open by mid-November 2015, but the licensing hurdles are sure to be an adventure, and there is nothing quite like this already open in Boston to act as a precedent.