A Cafe for Cat People Opens Downtown

Good morning. It’s Thursday. Today we’ll look at a cat cafe on the Lower East Side where people can play with cats who live there or are up for adoption.

Credit…Dylan Kenseth

On Sunday, Christina Ha threw open the doors to the brand-new Essex Street home of Meow Parlour, her cat cafe.

In the cafe, which Ha, 38, says was the first of its kind in New York City, human visitors can snack on food and drinks — they buy them next door, in a space with a separate entrance and address to abide by New York City health code — while they play with cats who either live there permanently or are up for adoption.

At 18,000 square feet, the space is three times as large as its previous iteration, which Ha co-founded 10 years ago around the corner on Hester Street. While the old space could accommodate 15 cats, this one can fit more than 20, and the space is designed to be a feline paradise.

“The cats who had been in the previous space were like, ‘What is all this other stuff?’” Ha said.

There are booths where humans can relax while cats climb above them on shelves and peek down at them. The walls are lined with circular holes for cats to climb through to get from room to room. There is a bookshelf for them to explore, and a tree with hammocks hanging off the branches for snoozes.

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