Over the weekend, Brown graduate student Amanda Davis began a $65,000 Indiegogo campaign to bring the first permanent cat cafe to New England. Inspired by the popular Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium in London, Cat Town in Oakland, and KitTea in San Francisco, Davis’ Le Chat Noir would be a posh Victorian tearoom with ten felines on the premises to sip coffee and relax next to. Assuming Davis reaches her monetary goal, which closes on January 21, Le Chat Noir would be aiming for a November 2015 launch date.
“I’ve been planning this for a very long time,” Davis says. “When I first saw that they were doing it in Taiwan and Japan, I was one of the first people that was watching it on Youtube. I just thought it was going to be a great idea. I didn’t really have the courage to do it though until I saw [the success of] Lady Dinah’s in London. That was the impetus for really getting this ball rolling.”
Expecting a high volume of visitors, at least at the beginning, Davis will be taking reservations and charging a $5 cover fee at her future cat cafe. The costs to get into Le Chat Noir will go toward the cats’ care, including toys, high quality cat food, vet bills, and litter box maintenance. Davis wants to limit the number of guests to 10 at all times, so the felines aren’t “overwhelmed.” House rules will also dictate the following:
In compliance with health regulations, Le Chat Noir will have a coffee bar in front where customers can purchase lattes, tea, and baked goods, all purchased from local bakeries. The cats will be located in a separate room, where guests can lounge with their new feline friends.
“The cats are going to be roaming around [in the lounge area],” Davis says. “It’s going to be their place. We’re just their guests.”
A “Purr-ferred Pals” package will be available for 10 visits that will reduce the cover charge per visit. There will also be an online kitty cam so for those unfortunate enough not to get reservations. Le Chat Noir intends to get heavily involved with local shelters and rescue organizations, both encouraging donations on-site and by bringing in shelter cats that will be available for adoption.
So, how did Davis come up with the $65,000 figure? Well, she’s aiming high. Davis is targeting a piece of prime real estate in South Boston, where rents are steadily escalating. All the money will go toward utilities, taxes, commercial licenses, supplies, cat care expenses, and initial startup costs. Donors to Davis’ cafe will receive prizes like special opening day access ($100), no cover charge for the first 10 visits ($500), and a mention in all Le Chat Noir related press ($10,000).
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