Several years ago my father sent me an article about a cat café in Oakland, CA, which is in the SF Bay Area where I was raised. The café is called “Cat Town”. The article had photos and detailed how the newly opened facility was a resource for people wanting to adopt a cat without going to the county animal shelter. I have since visited this facility twice and was delighted to find that it was just as appealing in reality as it was in the article. Check it out online. As the website says, they have adopted out over 1,000 cats since they opened, which is a big number of feline lives saved and made better, not to mention their adopters’ good fortune.
So, the idea was born….a cat café in New Orleans. I have had cats all my life, and love their (usually) calm demeanors, loyalty and other-worldly presences. Also I have the proper server-type mentality that cats seem to need and like! I had been looking for something to do in my retirement and this idea seemed a perfect fit for me.
So….I started looking for a location in 2016. A double (duplex for all you Yankees) would be perfect, and I soon found what I thought would make a great location, in the Marigny neighborhood. I would put the cats on one side and the food concession on the other, so that patrons could buy whatever they wanted to eat and drink and carry it into the cat site. But that owner thought my ideas were too far out and ambitious for his site and he refused to rent to me.
Soon I realized that trying to have cats and food in the same facility (other than a side-by-side property) would present possibly insurmountable issues. I believe there was an effort to open a cat café on Magazine Street in 2015, and my guess is that the reason it didn’t work out is this very real issue: local health departments frown on having animals in the vicinity of food; they will not issue a permit for it. So I started to wonder why you would need to have food anyway, especially in New Orleans? There’s food and drink available just about anywhere. Generally, I imagine that the food part is used to support the cat part in most cases, so I started to think about what I could do, other than sell food, to help with the expenses. You will soon see what I decided on, and I believe it will work well.