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January 29, 2014 at 3:00 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

KitTea Shop in San Francisco Soon To Be First American Cat Cafe

By Erin Froehlich More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the Feline 101 Blog Series

Could it finally be our turn, American cat lovers?

While the US is generally known as trend-setter, our demanding health codes have put us far behind in at least one now global trend. It’s been years since Japan opened the first ever Cat Café and the idea of a warm cup of joe in a room of friendly felines has been teasing us ever since!

You can now find kitty cafes throughout both Asia and Europe and so far, we’ve yet to hear of any health consequences they’ve caused. So why can’t we just make sure things are being done in a sanitary way?  I mean, are coffee-sipping cat owners in danger at home?  As an avid coffee drinker in a multi-cat home, I’m voting no and I know I’m not the only one! Since we first heard the concept, cat people of the US have been calling for a cat café experience and entrepreneurs have been looking for a way to give it us while remaining inside the law. Now, finally, the aptly named KitTea cat café in San Francisco is posed to do just that.

“What really drew me to the concept was the idea of a space that was relaxing and didn’t have a high frenetic energy like coffee houses do,” said cofounder Courtney Hatt.  But according to her and her partner David Braginsky, that’s not the only draw.  If they have their way, KitTea will actually end up serving two purposes -  first, to let people enjoy hot beverages and felines in one location and second, to find forever homes for shelters cats.  As customer sip KitTea’s specialty catnip tea blends, they could actually be looking for new furry friend to bring home as well. Win win, I say!  Only problem?  The pesky sanitation laws.

No matter how careful staff is to keep things neat and tidy (or how silly many cat owners, myself included, may find this) you still can’t legally have cats in a place where food is on sale.  In fact, you can’t even house them in an adjoining room separated by a door or let them share a restroom or storage cupboard. Luckily  though,  there is a loophole Hatt and Braginsky have found that will allow an American cat café experience none-the-less. You see, while you can’t have allow cats in a place that sells food, you can allow food in a place that adopts out cats.So, KitTea will actually be two side-by-side businesses – to the right, a specialty tea and coffee shop and to the left, a cat sanctuary (which just so happens to be set up exactly like a specialty tea and coffee shop would be). ;)

Though they have yet to finalize the location, Hatt and Braginsky have been working with the local San Francisco Health Department and are confident they will be able to go forward with venture and possibly pave the way for similar businesses elsewhere in the US. (*fingers crossed* Grand Rapids! Grand Rapids!)

Until they open it, here’s some of the cat café’s around the world to give you an idea of what we have to look forward to!

UPDATE: "In the words of cat cafe entrepreneurs Courtney Hatt and David Braginsky, "KitTea is now going to be a reali-tea!" The incoming local cat cafe has exceeded its Kickstarter CrowdTilt goal and will officially be opening up their zen-inspired tea house retreat this year. [EaterWire]"


TIME: Fancy Feast; Why San Franciso May Start an American Cat Cafe Trend

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