In August, we reported that Sana Hamelin, a lawyer by training, was hoping to crowd-source enough funds to open a cat cafe -- a place that would combine a coffeehouse, book shop and art gallery with real cats that customers would pay to spend time with. The concept popular is popular in Japan and, despite falling short of the crowdfunding goal, Hamelin is sure it will work here, too. So she's going ahead with the plan: She's leased a space on Tennyson Street in the Berkeley neighborhood, where she hopes to open the Denver Cat Company by mid-November at the latest.
Denver Cat Company is partnering with the Rocky Mountain Feline Rescue, a no-kill facility, to provide the cats, which would be available for adoption as well as lap time. Adoptions would be handled by the rescue organization -- and all fees would go to that group.
Hamelin and Feline Rescue reps were on hand at last week's First Friday art walk on Tennyson, with kittens from the shelter and information about the cat cafe. "We did a meet and greet with two kittens," Hamelin says. "And I've been spending time meeting the other businesses, like Hops & Pie -- apparently they love cats."
Forging ahead despite a tight budget, Hamelin would welcome funding to help furnish the space, she says. She was hoping to open her cafe sooner rather than later to be able to claim the title of the first cat cafe in the United States -- a previous cat cafe in New York City was merely a temporary pop-up version sponsored by Purina ONE -- but it now looks like a location in Oakland, California will beat her to it, if only by days.
Still, for cat lovers looking for a cozy corner where they can curl up with a book and a kitty, Denver Cat Company will be a unique addition to the metro scene.