Cat cafés are slowly becoming a thing as many people are slowly embracing the culture. These mostly run on goodwill and are largely dependent on the community’s willingness to visit the lonely cats. Cat cafés were wildly popularized in Japan and it seems the trend has picked up in Washington DC as well. In New York, the cat cafe is a difficult venture to pull off due to the strict health department rules that basically state that animals and food preparation cannot mix. The Kitten Lounge located in Georgetown Washington DC can easily be mistaken for a set of a music video. The pastel throw pillows and the exquisite faux-fur rugs boast of a peaceful and serene environment. A splashy and bright yet cute pink neon sign on the wall reads “meow you doin’?” Clever! Behind the counter, tote bags are up for sale and they read “relationship status: cats”. On a regular day, on the floor,a handful of people are sprawled, shoes off, playing with the kittens while some are simply petting them or enjoying being in the midst of all those cats.
The Kitten Lounge, on M Street, happens to be the second cat-oriented business owned by Kanchan Singh. She quit her consulting job back in 2015 and started Crumbs & Whiskers (the first cat Cafe in Washington) which also happens to be nearby. Since Singh paved the way, cat cafes have been springing up everywhere. Some of Singh’s competitors include Meows Corner in Sterling, Patriot Pawsabilities in Fairfax and the Mount Purrnon which is yet to be opened in Alexandria.
Inspiration Behind the Cat Cafe…
The Mount Purrnon is set to be different from its competitors in that it is colonial-themed and will serve its visitors alcoholic beverages such as beer and wine. For those in the dark, the concept of the Kitten Lounge is pretty simple. You pay a fee, then play with the cats at the establishment, and buy some snacks. The lounge is beneficial mostly to the cats because most of them there are looking for homes. The setup exposes the cats to potential adopters. Humans aren’t left behind and as Singh states it is most beneficial to individuals who for one reason or another can’t have a pet. Those with issues such as too long work hours, those who live in non-pet-friendly buildings and environments or those who are just simply overwhelmed by everything around them especially the hot political environment, currently benefit from the establishment. True to Singh’s Kitten Lounge, her cats do offer a much-needed escape from real life. The list of people who visit the lounge is also overwhelming as everyone from staff to the patrons of the city finds themselves in the setup looking for relief from their everyday life through Singh’s cats.
Trump’s Name on a Litter box…
Since her café is located in Georgetown, college students and tourists as well visit the lounge. The Valentine’s Day Special at the café, however, is the saddest day for Singh and her cats as customers always pay to get their ex’s names on the floor of a cat’s litter box. Basically what happens is that customers write their ex’s names in a litter box until the end of February and on March 2nd, the box is filled with litter and the cats are allowed to use it. Singh and her staff will watch the litter and document the process on Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook. She stated that the idea was inspired by people who often said that there are very many places where they could celebrate with their partners but nowhere to piss on their exes. Singh and her team joke that the idea might have been their proudest moment since they opened the establishment.
The team was surprised by the wonderful feedback and the litter box was soon filled with names of various exes even resulting in people writing names on top of others. The team at Kitten Lounge is yet to decide whether they’ll need a new litter box. The idea was originally intended for exes only but Crumbs & Whiskers decided to allow customers to write the names of those who’ve scorned them and anyone they feel deserves to be shitted on. According to Washingtonian, the climate in the lounge has shifted since 2016 politics. Many of her visitors prefer to have another name written on the litter box, the president’s name. The annual Valentine’s Day event is the only special thing the setup has in place. Both Singh’s establishments, the Kitten Lounge and the Crumbs & Whiskers host cat yoga and trivia nights.
They also host a lot of bachelorette parties where cat ears are allowed as opposed to the usual stripper bachelorette lineups. On a normal day, the rates start from $15 for a total of 15 minutes and can go as high as up to $35 for 70 minutes. The owner, Singh however still maintains that the aim of the lounge is to find homes for the cats. Since the lounge opened in March, approximately 200 cats have been adopted. The good news is that there is no limit as to the number of cats you can adopt. Another cat café in Clinton Street called Koneko is bent on allowing its customers relate and play with the cats while appreciating the art displays. The set up took up residence from a tattoo parlor and has a polished art collection and exquisite design.
One of the art pieces includes a giant mural by Tim Diet who is a street artist. Koneko’s rates are $15 an hour and one needs to make a reservation. The café provides sweet snacks to its customers from the Meow Parlor Patisserie. There are also Japanese bar snacks served at the joint including house-made jerky and jicama salad as well as seasonal pickles, beer, wine, and desserts. According to the New York Times, Koneko was the first cat café in New York City when it opened its doors to the public last December.