Three cat cafes opened in New York City this past year. Purrfect! Not a single one is called “Mew York”. Are you “kitten” me?
However disappointed I was by the brilliant pun going to waste, I was still excited to pay a visit to Meow Parlour. Not only is Meow Parlour New York’s premier cat cafe, it was the second permanent cat cafe to open in America. It opened in December 2014.
The cat cafe trend is still new enough that maybe you haven’t heard of it. It’s hugely popular in Japan but only just catching on elsewhere. The concept is simple: a cat cafe is a place you can go to hang out with cats.
All my Cat People readers read that and thought: THAT IS SO COOL! I WANT TO GO THERE NOW!
All my Dog People went: Seriously? That’s a thing? And people actually pay for it? How is this a trend?
Ah, the old Cat People VS Dog People divide. Sorry there are no puppy cafes, Dog People. Maybe someday? For now it’s all about cat cafes.
What to Expect When Visiting a Cat Cafe
Make A Reservation
The cats get overwhelmed if there are too many people in the space so a cat cafe will fill faster than Starbucks but never be crowded. Meow Parlour strongly encourages reservations. Sometimes they accept walk ins but don’t take the risk. Unlike a coffee cafe, were you can sit and nurse you Americano for as long as you like, you pay by time at a cat cafe. 30 minutes will cost you $5. They do have free wifi so if paying for the time would motivate you to be super productive, great! But most people aren’t on their laptops at this cafe, they’re hoping for cats on their laps.
When You Arrive
You’ll be asked to sign a waver saying you’ll follow the rules (no pulling tales! no flash photos!) and accept that cats are cats (they might scratch or chew up your computer cord, you can’t sue). You’ll be asked to take off your shoes and use hand sanitizer then you can go back to the cafe area.
I felt like I was at a party where I didn’t know anyone. It’s a new experience so it felt a little weird at first. Then I sat down with a cat, asked the friendly staff some questions, and felt comfortable in no time. It’s cat toy Mecca!
Ordering Food or BYOB
For sanitary reasons, food cannot be prepared in the same area as cats. Cat cafes will have a separate space where the typical cafe prep takes place. Here Meow Parlour Patisserie is around the corner. Meow Parlour was started by the same people behind Macaron Parlour, of course I had to get an adorable macaron.
You can order while with the cats and they just bring your treats from around the corner. However, since you are paying for your time, there is really no expectation that you order something. In fact, they’re fine if you bring in a beverage from elsewhere. Just no outside food.
Hours and the Best Time to Go
Meow Parlour is open 12-8pm ever day except Wednesday. There are specific Children’s Hours 4-5pm Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday when children 10 and under are welcome. If you’re planning to bring a kid, check out their website carefully first, Children can stress out cats, thus the restrictions. I was told the cats are most playful at opening and in the early evening.
Look for little details around Meow Parlour, everything is so cute!
And if you’re looking for cat merchandise, they have a large selection. They actually had “Mew Yorker” shirts! Yay! The pun isn’t going to waste! (Haha, how could I have ever doubted.)
Enough about the space. You want kitty cuteness!
Meeting the Cats of Meow Parlour NYC
They’re all available for adoption. The staff is really friendly and happy to talk about their furry crew.
Most of the cats were sleepy when I arrived at 2:45PM. I was told this is typical in the afternoon.
You can gently pet cats while they are sleeping, so this wasn’t a huge disappointment. Still I was happy that over the hour I was there many of them were playful or at least got out of bed/box!
This is Stevie. He’s super cute and active, with amazing blue eyes. He almost became Stevie Cyrus last week.
Yep, Miley Cyrus visited Meow Parlour and almost adopted Stevie! There are pictures on Instagram (Meow Parlour has an adorable Instagram). Miley didn’t follow through. Maybe she realized she’s not responsible enough for a cat, maybe she was worried his cuteness would upstage her. I tried to tell Stevie he was better off and he made this face.
He does weird things with his tongue, just like Miley Cyrus! Aw, they would’ve been perfect for each other!
This is Bobby, he’s the Cat Geek of the cafe. He likes chasing virtual mice in computer games and has a funny little goatee. All the pretty girls keep over looking him- he’s been at Meow Parlour 10 months without being adopted.
I got Bobby chasing toy mice too. Here he is about to pounce.
He’s sweet and playful and only 2 years old. Someone needs to choose him instead of his slightly more attractive, younger friend next time!
That friend right now? They named him Love. How’s Bobby supposed to compete with a cat named Love??
He’s a little guy and really cute and true to his name, loves love! We totally bonded.
Aw, look at Love playing!
He even climbed on my lap for a minute! Aw, Love, you’re such a charmer!
Bobby just slunk away and hung out on his computer. Poor cat geeks, they never have the chance to create an App that makes girls notice them!
So many stories and personalities. There are usually around 10 cats on the floor so even with the ones sleeping, the ones being antisocial, chances are good one cat will be awake and playful. I’d only intended to stay 30 minutes but I ended up staying a full hour- easy to do! Haha, and I have my own cat at home. Who is the best! I’m not looking to replace you Pip! Don’t feel threatened by my cat cafe visit! I did leave wondering if Pip would like a friend though…yep, WARNING: you will leave wanting to adopt a cat! If that’s something you can do, great! Kitty Kind over sees all adoptions and all these cats are hoping for “Forever Homes”.
Meow Parlour is located in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, 46 Hester Street. Directions and more info are available on their website. Check it out! And thanks to the staff for being so friendly! And to the owners for allowing access to kitty love for all!