“People who hate cats will come back as mice in their next life.”
Peas and carrots. Caviar and champagne. Cats and coffee. These are things that have gone together since time immemorial. That last pair has been tragically hard to find outside of the home, sadly, but that is finally about to change. The Cafe Meow, Minnesota’s first cat cafe, will open their doors to people and cats alike at 2323 Hennepin Ave by spring this year.Cat cafes are, in a nutshell, cafes with cats. In them you can enjoy a cup of coffee, a chocolate chip cookie, and a comfortable cat all under one roof. The world’s first cat cafe opened in Taiwan in 1998. The Cat Flower Garden became an international sensation, and soon cat cafes began popping up all over the world. California received America’s first cat cafe in 2014 (in San Francisco, of course), and now we’re next.
“It’s as much a dining experience as it is a therapeutic one,” said Danielle Rasmussen, who together with longtime friend and business partner Jessica Burge will run The Cafe Meow. “The local community has always been a huge part of what we do, so we’re serving products by local companies Bootstrap Coffee Roasters, Northern Lights Tea Company, and My Sister’s Sweets. Our cats will be the real stars of the show, of course.”
“Due to zoning regulations,” explained Jessica, “the cats won’t be in the actual dining area of the cafe. Instead, they will have their own big room full of furniture, toys, catwalks, and lots of shelves on the walls to bounce around on. There will be plenty of hiding places, too, for when the cats decide they need some ‘me time.’ The cats’ quarters will be visible from the dining area through two big windows, and of course everyone will be welcome to come visit them inside!”
Because no one wants to subject cats to something they find unpleasant, and because even fewer people want to be around cats in an unpleasant mood, cats are selected to lounge at The Cafe Meow after passing a personality test to see whether they’d like it there. (Since candidates have already spent time at a rescue, they all know someone who can vouch for them.) Only extraverted cats visit The Cafe Meow; shy ones maintain their preferred privacy.
The best part of The Cafe Meow is that if you meet a cat there who you really love, you can take them home with you forever. The Cafe Meow is partnering with Animal Ark, Pet Project Rescue, Ruff Start Rescue, and No Kitten Left Behind to give cats who need good homes exposure like they never could have received at a rescue alone.
“This is a great way for cats and people to meet,” said Danielle. “Whereas dogs are big and outgoing and can get along anywhere, cats need a certain kind of environment for their wonderful personalities to shine. And where else but at a cat cafe can people bond over cats in public? Until the city starts building cat parks, not many.”
Whether you need to be with a cat for five minutes or for the rest of your life, The Cafe Meow will be there for you. Even if you just need a good cup of coffee, consider having one in a room with a fuzzy, purring view.
By David Scheller