Jenny Huang sat down to enjoy a complimentary Cattuccino and muffin after waiting three and a half hours outside Purina ONE's pop-up cafe on Saturday. A devoted cat lover who is currently unable to own a cat of her own, Huang is just one of hundreds of New Yorkers who spent hours waiting for a chance to pet or adopt one of North Shore Animal League's rescued cats during the four day event in Manhattan's Bowery neighborhood. Cat cafes are becoming increasingly popular in cities across the globe, and this is the first of its kind in the United States. We stopped in for a few hours and were impressed to find a fun, light-filled environment designed for optimum kitty comfort.
Purina ONE and North Shore Animal League did a fantastic job of moderating the number of people inside the temporary cat cafe. As it was, the space was loud and a bit chaotic, with people crawling on their hands and knees sometimes to touch an elusive creature that had slipped from their grasp. Most visitors seemed familiar with handling cats, but occasionally a volunteer had to step in to let people know that it’s best not to chase the cats all over the cafe. In fact, the organizers deliberately provided a number of hideouts for cats uncomfortable with being in the spotlight.
More than just a publicity stunt for Purina ONE, the cat cafe resulted in at least 11 new adoptions. Said to be the world’s largest no-kill shelter, North Shore Animal League has saved more than one million animal lives since 1944. Their representatives were on site to answer questions about cat health, feed and behavior and most importantly, to facilitate adoptions. The group also had a mobile shelter outside, which gave those who couldn’t wait in line and passersby an opportunity to adopt a cat as well.
“After waiting in line for 4 hours on Thursday I am happy to say I adopted little Wyatt and he’s settling in nicely,” said Nicole Desmond, writing on Purina ONE’s live streaming page. “It was totally worth the wait. He’s such a sweetheart and full of happy energy. I hope the other cats that went home today are feeling relaxed and loved after a hectic weekend.”
A number of speakers gave the event something of an educational bent. On Friday, artist Linda Griggs talked about cat-friendly interior design, Shelter Director Christina Travalja talked about the benefits of adopting a cat the following day, and Feline Behaviorist Dorit Shevach-Shani advised those present on Saturday evening how to introduce a new cat into their home.
“Hi, Purina One, congratulations on the success of the cafe,” writes Sheryl Holland. “Obviously you are filling a deep need that New Yorkers have to socialize with and be around cats.”
All images © Tafline Laylin for Inhabitat