Imagine a place where you can sip a cup of your favorite tea with a strange (but oh-so-adorable) cat sitting on your lap – it sounds like bliss, right? We have cafés and coffee houses for miles, why not add our feline friends into the mix. Too bad such a place doesn’t exist in real life… or does it? Actually, it does: Japan has been doing this for YEARS, and now you won’t have to book that pricey vacation to Tokyo – cat cafés will be coming to America soon!
Yes, you read that right. It’s official: Cat-loving duo Courtney Hatt and David Braginsky are currently in the process of working on KitTea, a cat cafe they are hoping to open in San Francisco this year. If all goes as planned, KitTea will be a gourmet tea house as well as a “cat and human oasis.” Following guidelines and standards from the Association of Shelter Veterinarians, the cafe would house 10 cats maximum and allow for 30 to 35 people at a time. When the felines get tired of the human patrons, they will be able to escape to a cats-only room or they can head over to an entire wall meant for climbing or an entire wall just for scratching.
According to their website, here’s how the genius idea came to fruition:
“Courtney, immersed in the stressful world of tech and startups, was working in a bustling cafe one day. She stumbled upon an article about a cafe for cats in Japan. City dwellers in Japan retire to the cafe after their demanding jobs and take refuge in the cafe, which looks and feels like a welcoming living room, but hosts several resident free-roaming cats.
Cat cafes are a hit in Japan and parts of Europe, in part because the majority of apartments do not allow furry companions. Of course, the inherent awesomeness of cats probably also plays a role: they’re elegant, cute, therapeutic, and goofy all at the same time.
As Courtney looked around the cafe, she became overwhelmed with its buzzing and frenetic energy. Though everyone was sitting in close quarters, there were no spontaneous interactions with others and it lacked comfort, relaxation, and socialization.
That’s when it hit her: a cat cafe would be a natural addition to the eclectic culture of San Francisco. That’s when Asana software engineer David Braginsky came into the picture. He shared the same vision of a space where people could relax with a cup of tea and interact with cats and other cat enthusiasts. Now they’re making this dream a reality and looking forward to opening KitTea’s doors to the San Francisco community in 2014.”
KitTea is also planning to partner with a local rescue group to take in cats from the shelter. A real-life cat cafe that also saves them from being euthanized and getting run over by cars, as well as other possible dangers – where do we sign up?!
Unfortunately, there is one major hurdle the cafe needs to overcome: they need to get it approved with strict food safety laws that prohibit non-service animals in food establishments. According to the website, the cafe plans on opening this Spring. However, there is no set space or location determined thus far and with permits pending, it might take a while longer for the dream to become reality. In the meantime, get a purr-fect head start on planning your upcoming San Francisco trip later this year!