Attention feline fanatics! Meow Parlour--New York City's first cat cafe-- just opened and cat-deprived New Yorkers are ready to pounce. The new Lower East Side experience by Christina Ha and Emilie Legrand of Macaron Parlour has already seen a feverish level of interest, with the reservation schedule already booked up solid through mid-January. Curious to sneak a peek inside? I recently got the chance to test-drive the cats with my kids. Read on for my photos!
Want to know what it’s like inside the Meow Parlour cat cafe? Come along with me…
The first thing I noticed about the Meow Parlour is that these folks take their cat cafe operation seriously. We booked well in advance online and there is a bunch of paperwork you need to fill out before you can get friendly with the cats. The proprietors clearly care more about the health and well-being of their cats than about making a buck, and that thoughtfulness is reflected in the interior design of the space, as well as the processes that visitors need to go through to gain entrance.
As you can see in the above photo, the founders have designed the cafe to appeal to the cats living at Meow Parlour. The “bookshelves” have strategically placed holes throughout, so it is really more of a cat climbing-wall than anything else, and there are many nooks, crannies and hidden spaces for the shy ones to hide, sleep, or retreat from the overwhelming attention of excited children. There are carboard boxes, scratching posts and cat toys galore – even a giant cat wheel (sort of like a hamster wheel), which no cat seems to want to go near.
You need to remove your shoes and sanitize your hands, but once you actually get inside the in-demand space, it is charmingly tranquil, warm and quiet. There are boxes of cat toys you can choose from to try to entice the kitties, and about 10 cats currently living in the cafe.
Our favorite cat was named Julian – he’s the spunky and energetic guy with the white face and paws going for Petey’s cat toy. He’s not even a year old yet, which means he still has a lot of that playful kitten energy and wanted to play constantly. He wasn’t at all phased by my 2 year old trying to pull his tail, and even gave my super feisty toddler a run for his money (funny video below):
The cats are all adoptable from KittyKind, so we’re eyeing Mr. Cuteypants Julian. My older son Petey says that Chris and Liza (a pair of matching bonded tabbies) are his favorites. Really, all of the cats in Meow Parlour are very friendly, social and calm, with great personalities for hanging out with people all day. As you might expect, they’ve all been hand-selected by the shelter to go to Meow Parlour as their most friendly and adoptable cats.
If you’d like to check out Meow Parlour for yourself, be sure to book in advance using their online reservation system. You’ll be able to rent the “cat room” for $4 per half hour for as little as half an hour and up to five hours. If you bond with one of the little cuties, you can take one home! All of the animals at Meow Parlour come from all-volunteer, no-kill rescue group KittyKind, and are adoptable. Hands off Julian though!
Meow Parlour is located at 46 Hester Street in Manhattan.
Images © Jill Fehrenbacher for Inhabitat