Have you heard?! Of course you’ve heard. It’s been all over the news and even on the Rachael Ray Show last week. New York City’s first permanent “cat café,” Meow Parlour, opened in December in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The Law Office of Katia Teirstein successfully secured an E-2 investor visa for French owner Emilie Legrand, who will be Owner and Director of Communications for the business, through a change-of-status application that processed in six little days.
The concept of a cat café is growing in popularity around the world, but Meow Parlour is the first of its kind in New York City. Patrons can make reservations online for time to enjoy the café that is home to cats who are available for adoption. Beverages and treats are prepared in the Meow Parlour Patisserie offsite and are brought to the cat café, in accordance with city sanitary regulations. The cats are provided by Meow Parlour’s partner, Kitty Kind, a New York City no-kill animal rescue group, and are vetted for health and friendly disposition. As cats are adopted, new cats are gradually introduced, creating a constantly changing household at Meow Parlour.
Meow Parlour began accepting reservations at noon on December 5, 2014 and immediate demand was so high (over 1,000 reservations made), it “broke the internet,” prompting a temporary shut down of the site. The reservation tool is now up and running and time slots are available. Although reservations are booked solid for the next couple of months, slots continue to open up regularly, so be sure to check out the Meow Parlour’s website and Facebook page for updates on new openings.
Here’s why the Meow Parlour had “puuuur-fect” E-2 Treaty Investor Visa profile (sorry, the pun couldn’t be stopped): French ownership, a substantial and at-risk investment (including leases, permits, renovations, and more), experienced executives/owners (Emilie owns Meow Parlour with Christina, an American who also operates the popular French pastry shop Macaron Parlour in NYC), as well as recruitment of a growing support staff at both the lounge and Patisserie locations. Emilie and Christina also had a smart business plan with realistic and thoughtful projections for growth and costs, illustrating that these two entrepreneurs know what they are doing. Last but not least, we included a list of over 150 recent press articles about the hotly anticipated opening, including coverage by the NY Eater, the New York Times, News.com, the Examiner, the New York Daily News, Daily Mail, Yahoo, Timeout, the New York Post, and many more.
I grew up on a farm outside of Seattle, Washington, where we had cats, dogs, rabbits, horses, hamsters, turtles, snakes, and even a one-eyed raven named “Darwin.” I was born and raised an animal-lover and when the Meow Parlour team came to me with the project, I was beyond excited. Living in New York City is sometimes tough for animal ownership (anyone else out there also get a puppy in a one-bedroom walk-up?!) and places like Meow Parlour not only provide an avenue for adoption for rescue animals, but a place where fellow animal-lovers can meet and enjoy time with four-legged friends in a comfy setting.
If taking a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, or perhaps getting through some emails on your laptop with a hot cup of tea as an adoptable cat sleeps on your lap sounds like a nice afternoon, then head over to Meow Parlour’s website and book your reservation. And if a cat steals your heart, put in an application for adoption and help support Meow Parlour’s mission of finding good permanent homes for rescue cats.