Tokyo-Style Cat Cafes May Be Coming to L.A.
If you’re like nearly everybody in their mid-20s, you’d love to have a pet but you know that you lack both the time and, let’s be honest, the responsibility to keep one alive for more than a week. Luckily there is a new type of cafe popping up around the western world that could cure this very predicament. Originating in Japan, cat cafes are like every other cafe, except that they are swarming with cats that you can pet as you sip your morning java. These cafes have already shown in up in Canada, Europe, and Australia, and are soon to open up in San Francisco and Oakland as well. But non-allergic Los Angelenos need not feel left out, because with enough Kickstarter dollars, Carlos Wong is planning to open the first cat cafe in the City of Angels.
Wong first fell in love with the multi-species cafe concept after spending a year in Tokyo. It was there that this business model started with cat and dog cafes, but it soon branched out into owl, goat, rabbit, and (not kidding) penguin cafes as well. Trying to start non-exotic, Wong’s proposed cafe will be only cats and will be called – what else – Catfe.
After his immersion in the dense, fast-paced environment of inner Tokyo, Wong returned home to Los Angeles and thought that Downtown L.A. has a pretty similar vibe to it. After what had to be an uncomfortable conversation with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, officials said the concept would be workable, provided the food was prepared in a separate, non-cat covered building. In order to jump this particular real estate issue, Wong is thinking he may have the food prep area separated from the feline quarters by a wall of plexiglass. You’d get your food on the HUMANS ONLY side and then bring it over to the interspecies region to eat.
Wong’s Kickstarter goal is high, $350,000 high, to be exact. But Wong explained that this specific business requires a substantial financial cushion to begin with. “If it’s just a café and you’re not making enough money, you can just jury-rig something to try to make it work. But these are live animals. I don’t want to be in that position.”