It's the hottest cafe to open in New York City since the Pussycat Lounge, and it's only around for four days! Purina One's pop-up Cat Café at 168 Bowery features cat'achinos, pastries and, yes, adorable and adoptable cats from the North Shore Animal League!
The food part of the operation is very much separate from the bigger area where the cats are. The café offers espresso and coffee drinks—if you get the cat'achino or latte, you'll get kitty cat latte/foam art—and the pastries are pre-packaged off the premises. That, coupled with the fact that the food and drink are free, is probably why the cafe was able to swing the Health Department Sanitary Inspection Grade of "A" that is prominently displayed in a window. (The Health Department told us, "For any food service establishment regulated by the Health Department, live animals, other than fish in a tank or service animals, are prohibited.")
You can bring your cat'achino and snack into the main space—which has tables, couches and lots of caturniture—and nosh amid some of the most friendly and social cats we've ever encountered. (Disclosure: My cats are neurotic, probably because we do stuff like this.) Sixteen cats will be roaming the café (eight were at the press preview today) exploring, climbing or playing. And if you can't make it, don't worry—it's going to be on Livestream!
Matthew Carroll, offsite coordinator for the North Shore Animal League (which is the world's largest no-kill shelter), said the cats were carefully selected to make sure they'd be comfortable with people. Reporters, photographers and camera operators oohed and awwwed over the kitties who are looking for their forever (furever) homes.
Duchess, a lovely white cat, strutted over to wherever there seemed to be people and demanded our attention while Zander, a grey and white cat, was very relaxed and chilled out by a window sill. My personal favorite was Ciarra, who hung back near a trash can but happily submitted to chin scratches and belly rubs. Here's information about all the cats.
Purina's Niky Roberts says the cat food company was inspired to open the Cat Café to start a dialogue about feline health issues—and, obviously, to promote Purina One's benefits. (Mission accomplished!) Purina has no plans to launch another cat cafe at this point, but they are "open to it."
The Purina One Cat Cafe is at 168 Bowery. Its opurrrating hours are Thursday, April 24, to Sunday, April 27, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Also, capacity for the cat cafe is 65 people, so we can't wait to see the long lines of people, anxiously waiting for the chance to see the kitties.