We humans may think New York City’s cat cafe, Meow Parlour, was created to give people a chance to escape the cold harsh world and snuggle with a bunch of kitties. Well, it is, but it was also designed to be a purr-fect place for adoptable cats to live until they find their forever homes.
Here are 10 things that I think make Meow Parlour an awesome place for felines.
Cats love to watch the world go by and a New York City street is a great place to do it. Manhattan is a people-watchers’ paradise. I was tempted to join the kitty in the picture below, but I thought it would look funny if I sat on the table, too.
An entire wall features shelves and holes for cats to explore their vertical inclinations. Rope-lined holes connect the cubbies, and many of the cubes feature kitty toys to swat or comfy beds to snuggle in for a nap — out of reach of humans, if required.
Above it all, the feline residents can look down upon everyone else. And since we’re in New York, an acknowledged fashion metropolis, the kitties can strut the latest in feline style on Meow Parlour’s ceiling-high catwalk.
Because sometimes you gotta go. Some litter boxes are behind closed doors, while others are out in the open, though carefully camouflaged. I sat next to a litter box for 15 minutes before I realized what it was.
There are plenty of places for cats to scratch and stretch. Sometimes simultaneously. Sometimes alone. Sometimes with friends. And, of course, the cats can always stretch out or curl up on any available lap — or laptop — brought in by visitors.
Sometimes a cat just needs his space; hidden underneath and behind benches and tables are spaces designed for kitties to disappear into, but are still accessible by staff. When cats know there are safe places to run to, they are less stressed and much happier.
A feline twist on the baseboard mouse hole, a cat hole leads to a safe room, a refuge from people. No human visitors allowed. On the other side of the wall is a litterbox, and the cages where the cats sleep at night (for their safety). This is typical of the thought that went into the planning of Meow Parlour; it’s all about the cats, and the people are the bonus.
A basket of approved toys provides entertainment for the cats and amusement for the visitors. It’s against the rules to bring your own toys — again, for safety reasons — but there are plenty of popular mousies and fishing poles and other chaseable items. And with a dozen cats roaming the cafe, it’s a safe bet that someone will want to play.
In addition to a constant supply of laps, numerous napping locations are available, from the more traditional cat beds to modern saucer-shaped lounges and comfortable cubbies. The rules require visitors to let sleeping cats lie — not wake them up — though you may “gently pet” them while they’re snoozing. This is a Very Good Thing, because it is very hard to resist running a hand over the warm, soft purring bundle napping just a few inches away.
Every cat can size up visitors, interviewing humans for possible selection as a permanent home. I fell in love several times over while I was there, though I knew better than to bring someone home and upset the delicate balance of canine and feline power in my house. To adopt one of the kitties, you need to submit an application to KittyKind — a nonprofit, no-kill, all-volunteer rescue organization based in New York that chooses and helps care for the cafe cats. And if your life has a cat-shaped hole in it but you didn’t connect with any of the cafe residents, KittyKind can introduce you to many other deserving felines.
Have you visited a cat cafe? Tell us in the comments what made that cafe a great place for the cats!
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About the author: Susan C. Willett is a writer, photographer, and blogger whose award-winning original stories, photography, poetry, and humor can be found at Life With Dogs and Cats. She lives in New Jersey with three dogs and four cats (all rescues) and at least a couple of humans — all of whom provide inspiration for her work. Refusing to take sides in the interweb’s dogs vs. cats debate, Susan enjoys observing the interspecies interaction among the varied inhabitants of her home — like living in a reality TV show, only furrier. In addition to Life With Dogs and Cats, you can find more Lilah, Jasper, and Tucker (and the rest of the gang) on Haiku by DogÔäó, Haiku by CatÔäó, and Dogs and Cats Texting.