Meow! Former Litigator Hopes to Open Denver's First Cat Cafe

Sana Hamelin and her cat Little One
Sana Hamelin and her cat Little One

Sana Hamelin used to be a corporate litigator. Now she's an entrepreneur looking to create Denver's first cat cafe. Cats, coffee, books and art would all be featured at the Denver Cat Company -- if Hamelin can just raise the money to open her place. Currently her crowdfunding campaign is far from the $50,000 goal, and the deadline is just days away.

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Still, Hamelin believes that Denver could be the purr-fect place to open a cafe for quirky cat lovers looking to sip some java and read a book. She'd like to find a spot on South Broadway where she can open the Denver Cat Company; she plans to run a lending library out of the cafe, and dedicate at least one of its walls to local artists.

But cats, and coffee, would be the real focus. Hamelin hopes to team up with the Denver Dumb Friends League to provide cats for the cafe, each one available for adoption. Along with grown cats, a kitten corner (entry available with a special pass) would up the cuteness quotient.

Beyond providing cats, Cat Company would offer a flexible cat-sitting option. "We will ensure that your cat gets the care it needs, including appropriate attention and petting if desired, tailored per your instructions," promises the website.

This cozy cat cafe is a far cry from the litigation world Hamelin once occupied. "I'd thought I had realized the American dream," Hamelin says of her former career. Originally from Pakistan, she moved to the United States ten years ago. She is the first woman in her family to go to college and live independently. After several years of high stress and long hours in corporate litigation, she decided that it was time for a change.

"Having my own business has always been my dream," Hamelin explains. "I want to do something that makes me happy." Her three furry feline roommates already do, she adds.

Although there are cat cafes in Europe and a couple of similar projects have been proposed in California, Hamelin says her Denver Cat Company would be a first for this town -- and if she can meet her fundraising goal, she'll be able to open it that much faster. The campaign ends on Tuesday, August 12; find information and options for different donation packages at the cafe website.

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