What is Meow Parlour?
Cats! Emilie and Christina LOVE cats and they LOVE baking. The duo met at Macaron Parlour (where Christina is an owner and Emilie was the first intern at the store. She was hired out of internship within 3 days. Superstar!) and through their shared love of all things cats, have started Meow Parlour.
Meow Parlour wants to open a permanent cat cafe in NYC. Meow Parlour is teaming up with the rescue group, KittyKind, to have a permanent space where adoptable cats can roam free. Guests can come in and rent time (like how internet cafes work) to interact with our free roaming cats. If you're unable to have a cat now, you can get all the love and affection you need at Meow Parlour. If you have cats, you probably love them and want to meet more. If you want another cat, come and find your new friend through us!
Where we're at in the process:
The food will be supplied by Macaron Parlour. We picked out a location in the Lower East Side. We have already filed our drawings and pulled our permits. Construction has started and we believe we'll be open by December. What can go wrong and why are we asking for your help?
Well, logistics. We can plan all the things in the world, but it's impossible to get things right on Day 1. So we're asking for help. We're asking for your help in 2 ways - 1) financially so we can purchase some of those smaller items specifically for our cats (individual cages, cat toys, cat wheel, custom furniture, and other items that will provide fun and comfort to our rescue cats) and 2) help us figure out logistics.
We're using our Kickstarter to allow people to have access to our cafe before we're open to the public, which will help us figure out the logistics of people checking in and out and the best ways to keep our guests happy. In exchange for early access, we're also raising money to buy things to keep our cats happy. We think it's a win-win.
A few of the questions below are likely to come up. We wanted to have adoptable rescue cats at our location so that we can really help cats find their perfect forever home. KittyKind is helping us select the right cats for the cat cafe. We'll be working together to curate a group of cats that get along with each other and just adore people. We want to also feature cats that may not get enough exposure without being able to interact freely with potential adopters. All of our cats are rescues and they are looking for a wonderful forever home!
Aren't cats territorial? Some cats are very territorial and some bond with new cats right away. We'll be working constantly to make sure we have the right mix of cats and any cat that doesn't seem happy will go into a foster home or to KittyKind's main adoption center at Petco. A stressed out cat will make our cat cafe unpleasant for both our cats and our guests so it's important to maintain a balance.
Did we say individual cages? Are we going to be caging the animals? When we're working with bringing in foster cats into our homes with our residential cats, we separate the newcomers and introduce them slowly to our family. Even after the cats have met and they're initially not hostile with each other, we like to keep them separated when we're not at home until we're 100% sure that the cats are okay together. We believe that this is the least stressful way to introduce cats to each other. Since our cat colony will change as cats get adopted and new cats are brought in, we want to keep our cats in private kennels while we're closed when we're unable to supervise them. This way we can control introducing new cats and work hard towards the best environment while we "foster" these cats as they wait for the right forever home.
What will our cats be eating? We wish there was a clear answer. Personally, we prefer feeding our cats premium wet food that we supplement with dry. We've experienced foster cats who would rather starve than eat wet food or cats who need to eat special prescription food. For example, in one of our cases, it took us two weeks to wean an adult cat off of high calorie, low quality kitten chow to a high quality dry food diet and then it took another few weeks of testing out wet food options before finding one that the cat found acceptable. While we'll be feeding the majority of our cats premium wet food, there's no black and white answer when it comes to individuals so we're going to do the best that we can do. We'll be working individually with each cat to try to give that cat the best food that we can and making adjustments for special situations.
We also will not allow our guests to feed the cats. Besides not being able to keep track of their diets by allowing others to feed them, we also don't believe in modifying their behavior. We don't want to wrongly motivate our cats to only interact with people for a reward. We want our cats to do cat things and be cats...you know, sleep, ignore you, beg for pets, and then chase a toy like it's a real bird.
Litter boxes? Well, that's a dirty subject! We'll have litter boxes cleverly hidden out of sight. That's our problem, not yours!
Why KittyKind? KittyKind is a all volunteer, no kill, nonprofit rescue group located in NYC. Christina owns two KittyKind cats and they are extraordinary. She has also fostered several kittens through them and she is so happy to be part of that process. She also loves how much work KittyKind puts into matching cats with the right people and following up to make sure that everything is going well. She is a better cat owner because of it. She couldn't stop visiting them at the Union Square Petco and eventually, all the volunteers came to recognize her. Now they're all buddies and there was absolutely no other organization that we could have considered for this project!
Risks and challenges
We're doing something new and while we have experience in the food and customer service based industry, trying to coordinate people and cats is a challenge. We're going to be opening this year. The issue is how smoothly it will go. We're not asking for a lot of money because we really just want community support to help us hammer out the details that we really can't test without an audience. We want all different types of people, not just our friends, to help us figure out how to do this well. We're asking for our backers to help make this a positive experience and it's possible that logistics get in the way of making your first visit an amazing one. That's why we are offering visits in packs or in unlimited quantities so if we don't get it right on the first try, tell us, and we'll work hard to make it amazing your second and third times!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (19 days)