Don't worry about locating building numbers when visiting Meow Parlour—just look for the crowd of gawkers with their phones pointing towards an all-glass storefront. That's sure to be the scene from now on at 46 Hester Street, where the city's first official cat cafe opened to the public today. Inside, about half a dozen kitties scampered across floor pillows, poked their heads into stacked boxes and did a lot of sliding around as they chased jingling toys across the smooth floor.
Along one wall sits a giant wheel, which serves as a cat-propelled exercise implement similar to a hamster wheel; along another, a row of tables and stools meant for the human visitors, though the cats don't see the distinction. Everything inside is meant to make the cats as comfortable as possible, including a hidey hole in the wall when they need a break and plenty of modern litter boxes courtesy of Modko, which donated all of the furniture and other cat-approved elements. Humans must relinquish their shoes upon entry—there are cubby holes and a coat rack—so as not to track in too many germs, dirt, rock salt and other unfriendly hazards.
All the cats at the cafe are available to adopt from partner KittyKind, a rescue organization that operates out of the Petco on Union Square. The team selects outgoing and unflappable cats to populate the cafe, each one with a headshot and Playboy-type personality chart on a wall near the front. Other adoptable cats from the organization's many felines can be found in binders located inside the cafe in the hopes that a visit might inspire someone to give a cat a forever home. Believe me when I say that after an hour playing and petting all the cats, I was very tempted to begin the application process right then and there. Shout out to mah boy Marty!
The food elements of the cafe are actually located around the corner at Meow Parlour Patisserie (34 Ludlow), a business owned by one of Meow Parlour's founders, Christina Ha. Visitors can stock up on coffee, cat-shaped cookies and other baked goods, then bring them inside to hang with the cats, thereby avoiding any issue with the Health Department.
You can reserve slots in 30 minute increments at $4 for up to five hours on their website, but you'll have to plan way, way ahead; all reservation slots are already booked for the next two months. Eventually, walk-ins will be accepted, but for now, mark your calendar for February 14th when the next slot opens up.
46 Hester Street, website