Inside Brooklyn’s First Cat Cafe

Upon visiting the latest addition to the NYC cat café a week after its opening (by which they’d already made 6 adoptions!) I noticed a few things that make Brooklyn’s first cat café distinctly different from its counterparts on the island of Manhattan.

Brooklyn Cat Cafe

Atmosphere:

Instead of a carefully curated environment with chairs and tables placed just so, this café has a distinctly casual, homey feel. In fact, while pre-packaged snacks and cold drinks are available for sale, patrons are not restricted from bringing food and drink in with them. And while there is wi-fi, it’s not as much place to go study or work on your thesis as it is to sit on sofas – or the floor – and interact with the adoptable cats and kittens.

Brooklyn Cat Cafe

Not For Profit 

While the other cat cafes partner with rescue groups, Brooklyn’s cat café is fully owned by and operated by the 501c3 organization Brooklyn Bridge Animal Welfare Coalition Inc.

Community Outreach Mission 

Community outreach in all forms seems to be the café’s core reason for being. Ann Levin, President of BBAWC, wants to work with schools and communities that don’t have regular contact with animals (beyond the upscale Brooklyn Heights neighborhood where the café can be found). From teaching children about humane animal education and providing them with practical information – like what to do if they see a stray on the street- to bringing in speakers to discuss good pet parenting providing low-cost clinics, and eventually incorporating pet therapy into the café’s breadth of offerings.

Brooklyn Cat Cafe

While they have a Mother cat with her three-week old kittens in an enclosure  (the kittens will not be handled by visitors or up for adoption until they reach 8 weeks of age),  Ann uses the “cute factor” not only to lure visitors into the café, but to teach them about the importance of spaying and neutering.

 

Kid-Friendly

To say the café allows children is an understatement. They embrace them. Unlike other cat cafes that limit their “kid” hours, and have minimum age requirements, this cat café seems to be geared to the under ten set.

Brooklyn Cat Cafe

Board games, worksheets, a table with a chalkboard surface and special arts and crafts events are intended to entice children of all ages. The decision to make the café kid-friendly was driven both by Ann’s desire to encourage exposure to animals at a young age, and to cater to the family filled neighborhood in which the café is situated.

Ann says, “Studies show exposure to animals creates empathy and respect. If our goal is to have a cruelty free world [we can] open their eyes about potentially harmful behavior.” So it makes to begin this education with children.

Brooklyn Cat Cafe

But don’t fret you cat-loving adults out there, the café is planning on having adult-only “happy hours” and currently host yoga classes and movie nights in an effort to appeal to more mature clientele.

Brooklyn Cat Cafe

The Nuts and Bolts

Brooklyn Cat Cafe

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  • jmuhj

    Great article and photos — huge props to Ms. Levine for her progressive and educational approach to cat cafe-ing! Just hope and pray there’s very close supervision on the kids around the cats, though. Kids often don’t know their own strength and if they aren’t disciplined and watched closely, they can startle or even hurt cats. Don’t let that happen, Ms. Levine, please!

    • Agreed!

    • BBAWC

      We did not make the decision to be so open to kid visitors lightly! The cafe has 3 – 4 volunteers during the busy kid times, so the children are closely monitored and taught how to safely interact with our cats and kittens. The parents have been fantastic and so happy to visit!

      • jmuhj

        Very glad and relieved to read this. Keep both eyes open and be vigilant. Thanks.

  • This sounds like a very cool place!

    • Very different from the other cat cafes that’s for sure!

  • That cafe isn’t far from Mom’s office!

  • catchatcaren

    what a completely delightful post and I LOVE that this one has a more “homey” vibe as you mentioned. I am the type that would love to sit on the floor with the kitties and I love that you said that this cafe is geared towards that. I also love that they are introducing cats to children. This was a fabulous post, makes me wish I didn’t live in Michigan and could go there NOW!! catchatwithcarenandcody

    • Awwww you are too sweet! Thanks for commenting lovely – it’s been too long since we’ve connected!

      • catchatcaren

        you are welcome and I sooooo agree!!!!!!!! Love you always!

  • pilch92 .

    This sounds like an amazing place. I want to visit, I went to The Meow Parlour last year and was not impressed with the location or having to get my coffee from a separate building, not even next door.

    • sadly here you have to bring your own coffee as well – you should check out Koneko in the Lower East Side

      • pilch92 .

        I hope to get to them all one of these days. I don’t mind bringing my own coffee if it is in a nicer area.

  • Raffi Lido

    I knew you guys would knock it out of the park- congratulations. It’s purrfect!

  • Awesome! Time for a trip to Brooklyn, I’d say! 🙂

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  • Karin ~☆

    This cafe seems very cool! Thank you for sharing =^-^=