Cat cafes started two decades ago in Asia, and have become very popular in South Korea. The trend has been picked up in Europe, and is now starting in Canada. The first cat cafe in Canada opened in Montreal, with others opening in Vancouver and Toronto in the fall. The two cat cafes to open in Toronto are Kitty Cat Café and Pet Me Meow.
Kitty Cat Café will open in the central west end of Toronto by Jennifer Morozowich. Morozowich is a lifelong animal lover, and hopes to have six to 15 cats in her cafe. There will be two areas to the cafe, one where customers can enjoy their food and drinks cat free, and the other where people can play freely with their new feline friends. Morozowich feels that Kitty Cat Café will be a good way for Torontonians to relax, and unwind.
“It’ll be for people who need to get their kitty fix, people who need to de-stress — because cats really do help de-stress — it’ll be people who just really love cats and want to hang out with them.” Morozowich explains.
If customers want to continue hanging out with the cats, they can adopt them right from the cafe. Morozowich has partnered with T.E.A.M. Cat Rescue which is a registered non-profit, volunteer and foster-based cat rescue based in Toronto. They will also be providing all the rescue cats for adoption.
Pet Me Meow will be owned and operated by Jeff Ro and Ashkan Rahimi. Ro and Rahimi will be partnering with Toronto Cat Rescue, which is a no-kill charity cat shelter that is 100 per cent run by volunteers.
“This is to end cat euthanasia and to stop cat homelessness,” Ro declares. “We love our cats, and this is important in our hearts.”
Pet Me Meow will be located in Toronto’s downtown west-end, where all of the cats will also be available for adoption. Before Pet Me Meow opens in the fall, Ro and Ashkan decided to hold Toronto’s first pop-up cat cafe. The purpose of the pop-up cat cafe was to see what the future of owning a cat cafe would be like, and to bring awareness to people who have not considered adopting a pet in the past.
There was an overwhelming response for invitations to the pop-up cat cafe. Within a 48 hour period, 80 per cent of the invitations were sold, and before the pop-up cafe opened, two cats were adopted. By the end of the evening, eight out of the nine cats were adopted to new homes.
Pet Me Meow will follow the same format as Kitty Cat Café. There will be one room for customers to enjoy food and drinks, and a separate area to play and engage with the cats.
“The whole vibe of the place is just going to be kind of warm and relaxing, where people can just kick back and spend a day there.” Ro said.
If you are worried about the well-being of the cats, they will be living in good conditions, and checked up on by veterinarians.
“This cat café is really going to be (the cats’) home, and visitors to the café are really going to be guests in their home.” acknowledges Ro.
“The cats have to be 100 per cent social, happy, healthy,” assured Morozowich. Morozowich mentioned that all the cats will be checked by veterinarians, and an animal behaviourist before being placed in Kitty Cat Café.
Its seems that Toronto is ready and very willing to have a cat cafe open in their city. Ro has received many messages, and e-mails from Torontonians asking how they can help.
“It’s a really humbling experience, how welcoming people are to this idea,” points out Ro. “People are really passionate about cats.”