This past weekend, Purina One opened The Cat Café, a four-day-only pop-up in lower Manhattan that represented the first ever cat café in the U.S.
The shop was stocked with complimentary coffee and cappuccino — topped off with cream cat faces — along with adoptable cats and kittens, courtesy of North Shore Animal League, the country's largest no-kill shelter.
Outside, a large sign on one window read, "Join us for coffee, conversation, and cats!" Every day, different cat experts and interactive demonstrations provided insights about cats and cat health. Visitors were also encouraged to sign up for the Purina One 28 Day Challenge, which encourages cat owners to switch their pet's food to Purina One dry formulas for 28 days and gauge the difference in their cat's health.
With local health codes preventing food from being served alongside live animals, a separate 600-square-foot room sold light snacks and drinks that patrons could carry into the 1,600-square-foot cat-roaming area filled with couches, climbing trees and 16 cats at a time.
City-dwellers and tourists endured four-to-eight hour waits for the chance to take pictures and stroke some cats. Tahnee Nicholson told the Los Angeles Times, "It's nice to just sit and read or relax with a cat in your lap."
Purina gained widespread media coverage and saw over 5,000 people view a livestream of the event on Purina ONE's site. Thirty-six cats were adopted.
But another storyline was the rollout potential of cat Cafés. They're common in some Asian and European cities, largely because the majority of apartments do not allow furry companions. Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium, which opened in London in March and is booked through June, charges five pounds ($8.29) for up to two hours of cat lounging. Efforts are underway to open cat cafés in five U.S. cities: Catfé in Los Angeles, KitTea in San Francisco, Cat Town Café in Oakland, Cat Café in San Diego, and Purrington's Cat Lounge in Portland.
Purina has no current plans to open a permanent café. Spokeswoman Niky Roberts, told the New York Post, "Certainly it's something we'd never say no to. If there's an appetite for that, it's certainly something we'd be open to."
What grade would you give the Cat Café as a pop-up concept?