A handful of U.S. cities now have cat cafes, coffee shops where customers can order a latte, maybe a pastry, to be consumed while fraternizing with shorthairs, tabbies, and other assorted felines. Lamentably, Seattle is not one of them...though there might be a dog bar in the works.
Now three locals are on a mission to correct this grievous inadequacy and open a cat cafe here. They’ve bestowed upon their future establishment pretty much the best name in the universe: Seattle Meowtropolitan.
Matt Lai (official title, according to his email signature, is “Cool Cat”) says cat cafe plans are moving along, but still nascent. He and his two partners are about to launch a round of crowdfunding, which will help determine minor details like the location and the space. Still they’re hoping to be open by mid-2015, preferably somewhere on Capitol Hill.
That said, Seattle Meowtropolitan has already selected Herkimer Coffee as its roaster of choice. The website offers fair warning that drinks may contain cheesy cat puns like "catpuccino."
In a spectacular instance of irony, Lai is allergic to cats. And way too busy to own one himself, even though he’s a huge fan. Minus that allergy, he’s pretty much the poster child for the sort of demographic that has made these cafes a phenomenon in places like LA and New York (even Portland has a cat cafe in the works). Lai's business partner Louisa Liu hails from Taiwan, homeland of the cat cafe. They were surprised to see Seattle didn't yet have such a thing; what began as a joke morphed into a serious endeavor.
Let's clear up one of the biggest misconceptions of cat cafes: You do not actually bring your cat here. Cat cafes are designed for catless individuals to commune with felines, and to promote pet adoption. Nor do cats roam wild, adding a fur garnish to your catpuccino; they hang out in a room separate from food and coffee service, and the whole theoretical setup has been okayed by King County's health department.
Seattle Meowtropolitan will have a mix of adoptable pets and friendly house residents, says Lai, all from local shelters. He and his partners are already talking to shelters and cat behaviorists to ensure they end up with a companionable mix of felines that actually enjoy interacting with people all day. Seattle Meowtropolitan's website is a handy place to track any and all cat cafe developments.