ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — The global cat cafe trend has hit Annapolis.
Kittens In Cups opened its doors at 177 Defense Highway recently to cats and cat lovers alike. Owner Hailey Taylor hopes to create a comfortable environment for shelter cats.
“It’s about finding these cats homes,” Taylor said. “And get them in an atmosphere where they’re not stuck in cages. I know they’re a lot happier here.”
Cat cafes have been popular in Japan for years and have made their way to major cities across the United States. The Washington, D.C., cat cafe, Crumbs & Whiskers, opened in 2014, and Charm Kitty Cafe is set to open later this year at Whitehall Mill in Baltimore.
Taylor’s idea for a cat cafe in Annapolis came after a visit to Crumbs & Whiskers last year for her 23rd birthday. A lifelong cat owner, Taylor said she had been looking to combine her interests in helping shelter cats and art since graduating from Maryland Institute College of Art last year.
“I really wanted to marry my love for cats … and my art,” Taylor said. “And here we are.”
Taylor’s artistry can be seen all over the cafe. She designed the business’ logo and has created cat-themed merchandise for Kittens In Cups. The cafe has two main rooms for customers to sit: one with tables and chairs, and the other with comfy lounge chairs and pink fluffy pillows. Small details, like a Grumpy Cat pillow and cat-shaped lights, are sprinkled throughout the rooms.
The cats are free to roam wherever they like in the lounge areas, but all of the animals have personal crates in the back of the cafe.
At Kittens In Cups, there are several packages available for local cat lovers: 30 minutes in the cafe costs $7, 75 minutes cost $15, three hours costs $30 and an all-day pass costs $45. For all of the packages, customers can use free Wi-Fi, play with the cats and lounge on the couches. Prepackaged pastries from Annapolis bakery Sweet Hearts Patisserie are for sale, as well as coffee and tea from a Keurig machine.
The rules of entry are simple: You have to be older than 7 to enter to cafe’s lounge area and anyone younger than 15 must have an adult with them.
One catch, though: You can’t bring your cats from home into the cafe.
Kittens In Cups has about 10 animals and can have up to 18 cats. All of the cats have been pre-screened by the SPCA of Anne Arundel County to make sure they get along with other cats and humans, and all of the animals are available for adoption, Taylor said. Three cats have been adopted since the cafe has opened.
The cafe comes at a “very helpful” time for the animal shelter since kitten season is quickly approaching, said Kelly Brown, president of the SPCA board. Beginning in early spring and ending in early fall, kitten season is a time when there’s a drastic increase in kitten litters coming into animal shelters. The Annapolis shelter also covers supplies needed for the cats.
Brown has noticed the animals have acclimated quickly.
“It’s a fun and charming environment for both the adoptable cats looking for forever homes and the people coming in to see them,” she said.
The cafe offers classes for customers, ranging from arts and crafts to fitness. Recently, Kittens in Cups hosted a DIY event at which customers made cat-shaped planters. The cafe will host yoga classes Wednesday and Thursday.
Sarah Taylor, Hailey’s mother and business partner, said she’s been surprised at how quickly word has spread in the community so far. She credits this to “cat lovers telling their friends” and the business’ Facebook page, which has garnered an active following. The cafe uses its Facebook page to crowdsource potential events and highlight the cats’ different personalities.
The Taylors hope to install a bar for a barista to make coffee for customers. But for meow, they would like to convert some skeptical Annapolis residents into cat lovers.
“Just come for 10 minutes,” Sarah said. “Come with your stress and let a feline work it out.”
Information from: The Capital, http://www.capitalgazette.com/