My Visit to New York City’s First Cat Cafe

As a cat obsessed loving New Yorker hearing about cat cafe’s popping up all over the world  – Italy, Paris, England, LA and San Francisco – it’s hard not to feel left out. When do we get a cat cafe? We ARE New York City after all!

Purina One Cat Cafe NYC

Thanks to folks at Purina One Cats in conjunction with North Shore Animal League, NYC cat lovers will get the full-on cat cafe experience thanks to a pop-up shop from until tomorrow 4/27 from 10am – 7pm at 168 Bowery at Kenmare.

I had a chance to go on Thursday and learned a few things about myself and NYC:

  • New Yorkers love cats
  • I am not the cat whisperer I believe myself to be (photos to come),
  • I may very well have a crush on Carrie Ann Inaba from “Dancing With The Stars.”

Cat Cafe Line on Thursday April 24th

When I arrived on the first day the cafe was open to the public the line was already to the end of the block. According to the Huffington Post, some cat fans waited over two hours to get in on Friday (Yikes!). Thanks to I HAVE CAT I was able to forgo the line and make a beeline to the kitties!

Though I must admit that the first thing I did was not to see the cats, but to make a beeline to the barista for my complimentary cat’achino! They were ridiculously adorable and I found it hard to consume as I wanted to preserve it some how!

NYC Pop-up Cat Cafe

(Notice the paw detail in the cat’achino – so cute! ) 

Cat'achino and NYC Cat Cafe

Now on to the main attraction Carrie Ann Inaba the cats!  There are fifteen adoptable cats there who spend their time at the cafe from 10am-7pm after which they go back to North Shore Animal League for the evening.

As of Thursday when I was there one of the cats, Blake, had worked his magic on a member of the crew working at the cafe and became the very first adoptee! Go Blake!

Adopted Cat

By yesterday, according to the adoption wall featured in the Huffington Post, four cats total had been adopted! As cats are adopted they will “replenish” the cafe with more adoptable felines.

Photo courtesy of The Huffington Post 4/25/14

Photo courtesy of The Huffington Post 4/25/14

 

I, of course, chased the first cat I saw and had a photo-op. You can see the clear look of surprise (or is it shock?) on Sushi’s face.

Me and Sushi at NYC Cat Cafe

Just look at those eyes! (Sushie’s aren’t so bad either – ha ha!)

 

There were lots of people hanging out enjoying the kitties who seemed to all be very relaxed, mellow and happy. PURINA ONE selected the Cat Cafe setting to talk about their 28 day Challenge specifically for this reason. They wanted people in relaxed, conversational moods. Looks to me like it worked pretty well to me!

NY CAT CAFE

Chunky Duchess playing with a feature toy

Chunky Duchess playing with a feature toy

Someone is cozying up, perhaps making a case for adoption?

Someone is cozying up, perhaps making a case for adoption?

It takes two people to hold up Freddy (who was adopted since my visit!)

It takes two people to hold up Freddy (who was adopted since my visit!)

Sasha looks perplexed by the bird that has landed on her.

Sasha looks perplexed by the bird that has landed on her.

 

Not all the cats were happy about being cuddled – at least not by yours truly. You can see that Zander (I think that’s his name) has resigned himself to his fate and gone to his “happy place.”

Tamar Arslanian at NYC Cat Cafe

The cafe had plenty of windows and sunlight and was decked out with some pretty cool custom cat towers and toys.

Cat Furniture NYC Cat Cafe

It’s better to be inside than outside!

NYC Cat Cafe

Just like my Mr Petie, this kitty refused to make eye contact the moment I tried taking a photo. Perhaps he’s just too famous and I needed to ask his agent first?

 

Carrie Ann Inaba (Founder of the “Carrie Ann Inaba Animal Project”) was there to talk about the 28 day Purina One Challenge she had two of her rescue cats on – Mimi and Blizzard. It turns out she has four cats in total – one of whom is special needs (Mimi) – and a dog (it’s with this information that my celebrity crush begins).

Carrie Ann Inaba

 

Carrie Ann spoke about how she met Blizzard and Mimi:

“Blizzard’s story is that he had a Mom who sadly passed away which is how he ended up in the shelter. I met him and fell in love with him instantly. He’s a very regal long-haired white cat…Mimi has special needs, and makes a funny snort sound – she’s the cutest cat and I just fell in love with her!  They have these little personalities. You meet and cat and it chooses you and both these cats chose me and I’m very lucky to have them.”

 Below, Carrie Ann with Blizzard on the left and Mimi on the right.

Carrie Ann Inaba with Blizzard and Mimi

Photo on left with Blizzard from littlegatepublishing.com, screen grab on right from Purina One video

 

I had the chance to meet bum-rushed Carrie Ann and introduced myself. This is where the magic happens people. See below:

  • Photo 1, I introduce myself, tell her I have a cat blog and 3 rescue cats (she’s totally psyched)
  • Photo 2, She comes in for a hug and is fist pumping because I have rescue cats (notice the woman in the background – I think she’s just jealous)
  • Photo 3, It is complete. We have bonded (woman in background knows it’s all over and she has no shot with Carrie).

Tamar Arslanian and Carrie Ann Inaba

Carrie Ann and I bonded.

Tamar Arslanian and Carrie Ann Inaba at NYC Cat Cafe

And finally, right before leaving, I got a bit of loving time. It may not look like it in the photo but we really were kissing in that second photo. My photographer will be fired as he missed the money shot!

Finally some kitty loving - NYC CAT CAFE

I kept wondering what they were going to do what that cool cat pillow I was leaning against when the cafe closed….hmmmmm.

A few more cat pics for your viewing pleasure.

IMG_7131

NYC Pop cat Cafe

Comfy kitty at NYC Cat Cafe

NYC Purina One Pop-Up Cat Cafe

Outtakes proving I am definitely not the Cat Whisperer. I may actually be the anti-Cat Whisperer!

outtake Cat Cafe Tamar Arslanian

Is that a baby size hiss I hear?!

Tamar Arslanian NYC Cat Cafe

Someone is trying to make a fast escape!

 

I had the most amazing time at the Purina One cat cafe and hope they have many more adoptions over the weekend. It would be wonderful to have something like this in NYC full time, though I fear it would mean I’d never get anything done!

I wonder when Carrie Ann and I will hang out next. Maybe I’ll make a trip to LA…

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  • That really was a most wonderful report and I sure enjoyed reading about your fun time!

    • Tamar

      I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed it 🙂 I wish everyone could have experienced it!

  • Pat DeWald

    Great article! I like that pillow too. Did you manage to swipe one?

    • Tamar

      Sadly I did not. My backpack was already full. But I would probably have taken a cat before a pillow! ha ha!

  • Also one opening in Melbourne! A whole plane trip away but I’ll still have to go 😉

    • Tamar

      OHHHH you can report on it for us yes?!??!??!! Ohh I want to come!

  • Betty Murphy

    Great Article and Photos!! I’ve never understood why we in America are so late coming to the party of the Cat Cafe. They have multiple thousands of these in Japan, and can’t seem to get enough of them. The animal culture there is so very different, they inherently have such innate respect for these amazing creatures. For instance, if someone goes in one of the cafes, and sees a cat sleeping, they would never think of disturbing it, they just enjoy watching it as it rests. When you see the huge payoff of people being able to interact with the cats, who may not otherwise be able to have a cat live with them, and then the HUGE adoption rate, the “price of business” seems so astronomically low. I hope that this is just the first of many, many more wonderful cat cafe opportunities in the good ‘ol USA. Just one more celebration of that miracle known simply as “Cat.”

    • Betty I understand in Japan they have more cat Cafes because in many rental apartments they are not permitted to have pets. In this country cats are the number one pet as most cat owners have an average of 4 cats which is plenty. But this is just the beginning in USA!

      • Betty Murphy

        WOW! People have an average of 4 cats each?!?!?!?!?!!! I had NO idea. People acted like I was crazy when I flew 6 across the country when I moved. It is WONDERFUL that there are so many who long before now discovered the magnificence of CATS. Thanks so much for your comment.

        • Yes, they rock in the US on the number of cats 🙂 I was awesomely impressed too when I first found out that – almost all our Facebook cat fans from the US have 6-11 cats in their care!! I wish we allowed to have more per household in Australia. xox

  • Rena

    Great story and photos, Tamar! I am jealous–not because of Carrie Ann (I didn’t know who she was until I read your story. Mea culpa bigtime)–but because you got to go to a cat cafe! What fun. The kitties are adorable, and I’m sure that you just caught “Miss Hissy Fit” in a bad mood!
    🙂

    • Tamar

      Aw thanks Rena, glad you enjoyed it (my Mom had zero clue who she was!). They were a trip all those cats – hope they all got adopted! Fingers crossed!

  • Thanks for the review! Don’t worry about not being a cat whisperer–cats are still cats no matter who handles them!

    • Tamar

      Thanks Bernadette 🙂 You always know how to make someone feel better!

  • Oh I soooo love this post–it has everything–except for Sexy Cat Men. but that can easily be remedied.

    But I love the cat cafe concept, cats of course and have loved Carrie Ann Inaba since I saw her on Dancing with the Stars as a judge. I’m a huge fan for many years. I have followed her on Social Media and she actually follows us as well on Riverfront Cats. How cool is that.

    Tamar I’m so envious. I HAVE to come visit you and the Cat Cafe!!

    GREAT PHOTOS!

    • Tamar

      It was a Pop-Up cat cafe so it ended on Sunday 🙁 I want Carrie to follow I HAVE CAT! Fingers crossed!

  • Mom immediately fell in love with Chunky Duchess. You are correct. Too bad this will only be one for a month. Hope every kitty who finds itself there gets a new forever home. XO, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth & Calista Jo

    • Tamar

      She seems to be a popular one and guess what? It’s only open for FOUR DAYS! 🙁 I hope all the babies get adopted!

  • My human is SO envious! She wishes they would have a pop up cat cafe in L.A. She would so be there, pestering all the cats. And I would get a couple hours’ worth of peace.

    • Tamar

      Your human should NOT be jealous b/c they are opening a REAL cat Cafe in LA!!!! I’ll have to come visit you all to check it out!

  • I wish it was here more than one weekend. I had a massage conference this weekend and can’t make it. 🙁

    • Tamar

      oh, that’s a big time bummer 🙁

  • what fun!! we were hoping you would get there and give us the scoop. we hope all those kitties find homes and that Purina pops up in other cities

    • Tamar

      I hope I got you the scoop you wanted! Fingers crossed maybe they will take the show on the road?!

  • Laurence

    Love the pictures, so cute..

    • Tamar

      Merci!

  • Donn Borden

    Thanks for your good work here.

    • Tamar

      Thanks so much Donn, that means a lot 🙂

  • Awesome post and posts! I so wanted to go but couldn’t. It’s clear we need to get our health code laws changed so we can have full time cat cafes!

    • Tamar

      Awww thanks Layla, you’re the best 🙂 Glad you approved!

  • I mean photos! The best part is seeing adoptions take place so quickly. Win win!

  • Awesome report, Tamar! Glad you had so much fun, and even more glad that so many kitties got adopted! 🙂

  • Wow! I will go to NYC in 2015, january!!! I neeeeeed to visit this Cat Cafe!!!!

    • Tamar

      Marilia I hate to be the one to tell you but it was only for 4 days 🙁

  • Dale

    I think I’m in love…….

    • Tamar

      with?……

  • Congratulations to all the smart people who adopted! (not to say if you didn’t adopt you aren’t smart)

    What a wonderful idea, and hopefully with lines around the block people will see that there is a demand for this..

    • Tamar

      exactly!!!!!!!!!!! thanks Connie!

  • jmuhj

    Wonderful reportage and photos! (And yes, you do have gorgeous eyes — green, right?) Looks like the white fluffer is quite smitten with you. As for the tiger on the cat furniture, maybe (s)he just didn’t like the wookie cat tree?!? If you haven’t already, you can see a small interview with Carrie Ann in the July/August 2012 issue of BEST FRIENDS magazine 😉

    • Tamar

      Awwww thank you. They are hazel technically 🙂 I haven’t seen the interview and will have to check it out – thanks so much!

  • mary

    our only child lives in NYC, she went inside the café, got to pet lots of kitty cats..she has an only cat that only like to be alone and with our only child..she told me and her dad it was wonderful and informative, hip hip hurrah for Purina One to sponsor such a neat café, hoping it will all year long for the need of the animal place North Shore Animal League to get their kitteh cats out and about and adopted by loving people who care about cats! Bravo to them..

    • Tamar

      How wonderful that she got to go and tell you all about it! thanks for reading my post too!

  • Aww, this is wonderful. I just wish it was a permanent cat cafe and not a pop-up! I would definitely stop in on my next visit to NYC!

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