Cat cafe fever is finally hitting Philly, with forthcoming Kawaii Kitty Cafe hoping to open this winter. Philadelphia Business Journal today talked to owner Kristin Eissler, who has not yet nailed down a location but has partnered with PAWS and is currently seeking a space in either Old City, Northern Liberties, Fishtown, or Fairmount.
Eissler tells PBJ she needs about 1,200 square feet for the concept, which will feature "kitschy" decor and house ten to fifteen adoptable cats at a time. The cafe space will be separated from the cats by a glass partition for optimal cat viewing no matter where you sit. (Health codes require the separation, but you can bring your purchases into the cat area if you so choose.)
Posts to the cafe's Facebook page note that La Colombe coffee will be served, and the shop will also sell merch like catnip-stuffed, sushi-themed toys from Philly's own Polydactyl. There's also mention of an Indiegogo campaign to help fund the opening effort, which is not yet live.
The cat cafe concept has produced no shortage of hysteria since the first North American iteration opened in Montreal in August 2014, having since spread to New York, the Bay Area, Chicago, and beyond. The idea originated in Taiwan but really exploded in Japan ("kawaii" is Japanese for "cute"), where the notion has by now expanded way beyond cats, sparking goat cafes, owl cafes, and more. The cafes can provide a cuddly respite for people who can't keep pets of their own, but the ultimate goal is to introduce and bond potential adopters to animals in need of a forever home.