Vancouver’s first cat cafe is finding it hard to keep felines in stock.
Catfé, located inside Vancouver’s International Village mall in Chinatown, officially opened its doors on Dec. 14. The unique business, modelled after pioneering “cat cafes” in Taiwan and Asia, is part cafe and part foster home for cats. Patrons can order a latte, then head into the special cat lounge for some quality time with cats available for adoption from the BC SPCA.
After years of anticipation and lots of legal and logistical hurdles, Catfé is off to a roaring start. “Purristas” at the cafe serve up coffee and treats. Meanwhile, “cat whisperers” lead guests into the adjoining cat lounge, which can accommodate up to 16 visitors at a time and is often booked solid.
For a $5 fee with any cafe purchase, you can wander in and enjoy some quality time with the resident felines. In fact, the cats are so popular that advanced reservations are encouraged. Visitors include cat lovers of all stripes: from feline fanatics with cats of their own at home to prospective owners looking for the purrfect pet.
But all that popularity comes at a price. In just its first 10 days of operation, Catfe has already adopted out seven of its eleven resident cats, notes an article in the Vancouver Sun. According to Catfe owner and operator Michelle Furbacher, who funded the venture with a $50,000 Indiegogo campaing, “They’re flying off the shelves. There’s a bit of a cat shortage.”
She attributes the success to the fact that potential adopters get to see the cats in a social setting, rather than just in cages. The animals have the freedom to roam around, interact with one another and guests and play with all kinds of specially designed cat toys and installations.
Fortunately, the current cat shortage should be short-lived. The cafe aims to have about a dozen cats on premises at any one time. It’s closed Thursdays for “restocking,” when a new herd of cats is brought in from the SPCA.