Necessity calls for invention, and when the Japanese realized that their large population could not afford to have pets in their small apartments, they sought a way to enjoy the companionship of the felines. As a result, cat cafes bloomed, and today, despite having their start in Taiwan, cat cafes have been launched all over the globe. In the US, the main aim of cat cafes is to allow more felines to have forever homes, and to this end, Miami’s first cat café opened its doors on June 27, 2020. Below is everything you should know about this cat café and what you should consider before starting your own if interest ever arises.
Its opening had been set for March 2020
If you have ever experienced speed dating, then Miami’s first cat café, The Cat Meow Cafe, will not be much of a challenge for you. Just like in speed dating where you meet lots of singles in search of a connection, this cat cafe will allow many patrons into the cat lounge where the cats will be allowed to roam freely. The guests will get a chance to interact with several cats simultaneously to see if they can connect with their unique personalities. Those who find furry friends that appeal to them can adopt them immediately.
However, it would not be possible without the help of Miami-Dade County Animal Services, whose goal is looking for new ways to provide the shelter cats with forever homes. Since we still have to curb the spread of the coronavirus, guests will have to wear masks while within the premises, and if you forget yours, the café has more than enough masks and hand sanitizers to cater to its patrons. However, the amount of time you get to spend with the felines is limited since the café only opens for seven hours each day, from Tuesday through Sunday. The limited time and the fact that it has only been open for a few days have not stopped over 50 cats from finding their human parents and a lifetime supply of love.
What you need to start your cat café
If giving cats a forever home has always been part of your philanthropic idea, then starting a cat café should be in your vision. However, it is not as easy as just allowing people in the space and giving them time to establish a connection with cats. As the word “café” suggests, you will also be providing food to the patrons. Consequently, there will be a need for high standards of cleanliness and general hygiene. Cats are clean animals, who regularly groom themselves, but it could be such a bad picture for your café if a guest spotted fur in their food or drink. The best way to avoid such scenarios will, therefore, be to keep the felines in an enclosed space away from the food preparation area.
Additionally, cats, especially kittens, love to play; therefore, you should invest in a stimulating environment with lots of toys. It would also ruin your reputation if cats became so bored that they started disturbing the patrons. Of course, since the cats will remain indoors, then litter boxes should be readily available within the café and ensure that you empty them regularly to avoid a foul smell that would send the patrons away. All the same, you should also not go overboard when creating a stimulating environment; loud noises are unwelcome in any social setting.
Every business has to incur expenditure, but you can keep the costs low by involving an animal shelter. Veterinary care for pets is usually quite high, and by teaming up with an animal shelter, managing a cat cafe will be less stressful as The Penny Hoarder explains. Most of all, as much as you are trying to limit the expenses of running the café, ensure that you do not look for such a small space that the guests are not able to interact with the cats properly. Since your main aim is to facilitate adoption, your café should provide the cats with enough room to be in their natural element to allow patrons to make informed decisions regarding which feline best suits them.
Is a cat café a worthy investment?
If your passion is providing homes to cats, then indeed, a cat cafe could be your true calling as Sana Hamelin found out. Sana was a lawyer, but the minute she came across an article about America’s first cat café, she knew she had found the ideal job. Therefore, she decided to start her own café, Denver Cat Company, a few months later, when she quit her job at a reputable law firm and used her savings to fund her dream. As the entrepreneur told FirstBank, after spending her savings, she had to depend on the $5 entry fee that she charges her guests and the amount is barely enough to cater for all her expenses. As a result, she had to incorporate other ways of making money, such as selling tea, coffee, and other merchandise.
While Sana’s story can discourage anyone from venturing into this cat business, Kanchan Singh’s is quite different. She is the woman being Washington D.C.’s first cat cafe, Crumbs & Whiskers, which she launched after raising $15,000 on a Kickstarter campaign. Unlike Sana, who said her business was not lucrative, Kanchan raked in $22,000 on her first day, and that was only the beginning; the demand became so high that she was too overwhelmed to clean her premises. The money kept flowing in, and she opened up her second cat café two years later, in Los Angeles. It was also a success, and Kanchan was making a seven-figure amount annually. Unfortunately, the prosperity was not enough to keep her from living an unfulfilled life, so she decided not to expand her business, as she published on Entrepreneur.