"A what?" you ask. A Cat Cafe. It popped up in one of the travel newsletters I received. The article was written by an obvious cat lover and the cafe was in Montreal. That would make sense. It's not the US and it is French, I thought. Then I wondered if there was such a concept, an epicurean feline entrepreneur in the states. Lo and behold there are a few places!
First a little background. Cat cafes have been around for a while. They started in Asian countries where living quarters can be quite small an not conducive to having a pet. The cafes, where several cats are allowed to roam freely in the dining area, allowed the patrons to get their pet fix while not having to care for one in a tiny apartment. It caught on and began to spread.
Of course New York City would be one of the first to open a cat cafe. The Meow Parlour gets its cats from a rescue center and they are all up for adoption. A fee for time spent in the cafe allows you free wifi access. You can also order food and beverage. Someone on TripAdvisor mentioned filling out a waiver. I couldn't find information on what type of waiver but I'm guessing it's a disclaimer relieving the cafe of any responsibility in harm that might come to you. The reviews (mostly from cat lovers) were good and reservations are usually needed to get in.
There is a site that lists 24 cat cafes in the states that are open, in the process of opening, or just recently closed due to funding. It appears they all work with animal shelters and have a cover charge that goes to help fund the shelters. I kept wondering how they got around the health codes for restaurants. I still haven't figured that out but the one that tried to open in Cleveland didn't succeed--at least not yet. They were still trying to work things out with the health department.
Interesting concept but I'm more intrigued with a restaurant that has an aquarium--as long as it's kept clean.