Cat Cafe NYC


By Tanya Silverman

Photo courtesy of Ethan Covey.

The time has finally come for New York City. In an enclave adorned with fluffy toy mice, floor pillows, and feathered ribbons, Meow Parlour, the city’s premier permanent cat cafe, opened its doors Monday Dec 15 in Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

Two brown tabbies scurry around, a ginger nestles into a stationary elevated orb and lets his striped tail stray out, while up front, a little calico perks her nose out by the clear display window as she observes the outside world of Hester Street.

Just the idea of Meow Parlor became so popular that even before opening to the public, the cafe was already booked with reservations through February.

“Today, a lot of people are not ashamed anymore to say that they love cats,” states co-founder Emilie LeGrand.

Having flown from Paris with her two cats, LeGrand also carried with her a cultivated outlook on international cat cafe culture. While traveling in Tokyo, she observed how human patrons would sit on the floor and get really close to the cats. In Paris, however, it felt more like a “regular French cafe or restaurant” except with cats roaming around.

“Here we decided to do a mix of the two,” LeGrand explains, “so people are able to sit on the pillows on the floor, but there are also higher tables for people who aren’t comfortable [down there].”

Photo courtesy of Ethan Covey.

A pivotal difference from the other cafes she visited abroad was that the cats were not for adoption. Offering a service to find vetted cats permanent homes had been integral for Meow Parlour since day one. As such, the cafe partnered with Kitty Kind, a local rescue group, and all cats present can be adopted.

In addition to offering a calming, cozy refuge from the hectic city, LeGrand is excited for customers to appreciate the transformative ambiance that the felines help foster. She acknowledges the independent, unpredictable nature of cats in that humans cannot forecast or control their actions. LeGrand says that on some days at Meow Parlour, the cats will be sleepy, and the customers can converse or read books. Other times, the cats will be playful and the energetic environment will be an opportune time for visitors to observe their unique habits.

The cat cafe also has a sister bakery, the Meow Parlor Patisserie, soon to open around the corner. As simple as cats, coffee, and cookies sound, it seems like that’s just what NYC needs.