Ten dollars buys one hour with a roomful of about 15 cats at The Café Meow, which opens today.
There is Frankie, a “talker” who watches people out the window. Sylvester is a “ladies man” wearing a tie. And there is Annabelle, who kept warm inside the undercarriage of a car until the driver entered a car wash.
“She’s a little bit of a character, probably because of that,” said co-founder Jessica Burge. “She loves being up high and loves being held.”
The cats sleep on perches that stretch to the ceiling, stand on a glass ceiling above the room entry, run inside an exercise wheel or curl up on visitors’ laps.
“This way they really get to shine in their personalities and you get to meet them,” said Burge. “…Definitely choose a cat for their personality, not their looks.”
Staff members hope each cat is adopted quickly — a cat café in Vancouver actually ran out of adoptable cats shortly after opening — but cats could stay for several months as they acclimate to the shop and find new owners. Adoptions are handled through No Kitten Left Behind, Minnesota Animal Rescue and Ruff Start Rescue.
Customers can sit at tables outside the cat room or bring treats inside.
“Cupcakes from FoxCakes are going like crazy,” said Burge, highlighting the Northeast Minneapolis baker’s vegan cupcakes.
Blueberry scones by My Sister’s Sweets are another hit, and the shop also offers T-Rex Cookies, Bootstrap Coffee and teas from Northern Lights Tea Co.
The cat room is limited to 10 visitor reservations per hour, with space for a couple of walk-ins. The first two weekends are nearly booked solid.
Only friendly cats are admitted to the café, but overnight, the owners can keep an eye on them through a surveillance camera and even talk to the cats through a speaker.
“We’re making a little bit of joy and happiness in the world,” Burge said. “Seeing that dream come to reality is heartwarming and wonderful.”