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Play With Cats and Eat Macarons at New York's New Cat Cafe

By Sybile Penhirin | December 9, 2014 12:17pm
 Meow Parlour, which will be the city's first permanent cat cafe, is set to open on Dec 15.
Meow Parlour
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LOWER EAST SIDE — A cafe featuring dozens of freely roaming felines that are up for adoption is set to open next week.

Visitors to Meow Parlour, which is opening at 46 Hester St. on Dec 15., will be able to play and cuddle with cats for up to five hours, while sipping hot drinks and eating macarons from Meow Parlour Patisserie, located around the corner from the cat cafe.

“Our goal is to give a second chance to cats who sometimes have a difficult time getting adopted,” Meow Parlour co-founder Emilie Legrand said in French. “Black cats, older cats…they’re not as sexy as kittens so we wanted to give them more visibility."

Legrand, a 32-year-old pastry chef, described the 800-square-foot cat cafe as “cozy,” featuring free Wi-Fi, coffee tables, cushions and a large bookcase with cat beds installed on some of its shelves.

All the felines will be vaccinated, spayed and neutered but clients will still have to take off their shoes at the entrance to avoid bringing in any viruses, Legrand said.

The dozen cats, which will rotate as they get adopted, will be provided by KittyKind, a local rescue group that aims to find permanent homes for abandoned animals in New York City. Adopting a cat will cost $125 and KittyKind will handle the adoption process, Legrand said.

Cat lovers can already book a time slot online, with 30 minutes costing $4 and five hours $30. Meow Parlour also accepts walk-ins, but reservations will take priority and almost all time slots have been booked through early February, Legrand said.  

Legrand was working for Christina Ha, a pastry chef who owns two Macaron Parlour shops in the city, when the two women got the idea to combine their passion for cats and pastries.

“It kind of started as a joke, but after doing some more research we realized it was actually possible,” Legrand said.

Because of Health Department regulations, the coffee shop will not be located inside Meow Parlour, but roughly 200 feet away at 34 Ludlow St., Legrand said.

Meow Parlour Patisserie is set to open at the same time as Meow Parlour and will mainly offer macarons and pastries, as well as sandwiches and soups.

For now, patrons will have to buy their food there and then bring it to the cat cafe, but Ha and Legrand are planning to set up a delivery service so clients don’t have to leave Meow Parlour.

Dozens of people who donated a total of $6,550 to Meow Parlour through its Kickstarter fundraising site will be able to get an early start mingling with the cats from Tuesday through Sunday. 

"It's a test week, we'll make the latest adjustments and then anyone will be welcome to come in," Legrand said, adding the cat cafe will host up to 20 people at once.

Meow Parlour will be open from noon to 8 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and from noon to 10 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 3 to 5 p.m. will be reserved for children under 12 years old who are accompanied by an adult.