April 24, 2014

Purina One Cat Cafe: NYC

I don't wait in line if I can help it. Not for Cronuts, not for brunch, not for nightclubs. If there's a line over 20 minutes, I'm on to the next place. This is New York City, for crying out loud! Options abound at every block!

Then came the country's very first cat café to NYC. Apparently, I threw all my standards out the window – in exchange for a few minutes with some cuddly kitty cats. I'd actually been hoping to visit the cat cafe in London, but its opening was delayed until a week or two after our big trip in January (posts on THAT trip coming soon!)

I could not believe my eyes when I saw the line for the cat café wrapping all the way around the building on Bowery. It went pretty quickly at first – moving about 20 feet in about 20 minutes. Then we stood there for a long, long time. All in all, I waited THREE HOURS. I still cannot believe I did that. I had lots of company though, from tourists to locals-- and it wasn't just all ladies, either, despite the many 'cat lady' references I've heard this week. It was actually a very diverse and amiable group of people who just think cats are cool. Ya dig?

 About 30 minutes before I went inside, one of the women working at the café came out and asked us all to keep our visits to 30 minutes. Were they not already asking everyone that?

Inside the café, you can get free coffee and free snacks. They had muffins and cappuccinos and drip coffee when I went in-- all from Brooklyn-based Cafe Grumpy. I had to pass up the final blueberry muffin and go right to the kitty cats. Priorities!

By the time I got inside, the cats of had a long day of tons of attention. Most of them are very chill, sleeping on people's laps or resting on the perches around the room. The cats were all extremely well-behaved and seemed quite at ease, despite all the people (and a multi-person film crew setting up and breaking down all over the place). These cats are clearly very well cared for and look quite healthy and happy. The socializing didn't seem to bother them at all, but there were lots of safe, quiet hiding places for the ones who needed a break. I saw about six in the rotation around the room. I have to say some of my fellow cat lovers could do a better job of sharing the love, but whatever. (I'm looking at you, sofa-hoggers!) You just have to walk up to someone holding a cat and get in on the fun.

If you're going, I don't recommend going alone like I did. It's tough to snag a cat and a place to sit at the same time. I did get to cuddle with Little Miss Valerie for a few minutes – oh man, I was this close to adopting her myself. However, someone already beat me to it. In fact, four of the 16 kittens had been adopted by the end of that day

So how was the food? While I turned down the chance for a muffin, I actually did go back afterwards for a cappuccino. The baristas we're making adorable kitty art in the foam. My "cat'accino" was absolutely fantastic. Smooth, rich coffee from the folks at Cafe Grumpy- and it was free! 

Artsy kitten in the foam!

Hopefully they get a little better about managing the visitors and people won't have to wait so long. 

So it's not the same as cafes in other countries, where the food area & the cats mingle. The areas are very separate, but who cares!?! Kittens!

If you're in NYC and want to go, I do suggest you bring a friend (and/or a book and maybe even a snack) and don't be shy about asking to hold or play with any of the cats- but get there soon! The cafe closes on Sunday, April 27th!

Purina One Cat Cafe

168 Bowery

New York, NY


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