‘Ottawa’ Ottawa’s First Daily Cat Café Set to Open this Spring
Josée Cyr is hoping Ottawans will pounce on a new cat café set to open this spring, complete with vegetarian-friendly eats, a selection of local artisanal coffee and, of course, around a half-dozen cuddly, purring cats.
Feline Café will be the first daily cat café in Ottawa. It joins The Purrfect Café at Kind Space in Centretown, which holds a cat meet-up with coffee and tea every second Thursday of the month.
The location and opening date of Feline Café are yet to be determined, but Cyr is hoping for a spring launch at a place in the Glebe or Hintonburg.
Cyr, a 25-year-old Centretown resident who studied commerce at Laurentian University, said she had heard of the cat café craze sweeping Asia and parts of Europe, but didn’t really tune in until she was unhappy with the job she was working, and looking for options. Cyr was passionate about business, food and animals, and it was a natural next step to intertwine all three.
Feline Café is her first big entrepreneurial venture.
“Cats have helped me tremendously,” said Cyr, the owner of three felines, Bella, Tut and Pharaoh. “I’ve always been an animal lover but my parents had allergies so we never really had pets growing up.
“I’m naturally very introverted, so (cats) kind of soothe me and really help me. The soothing sound of them purring, it’s really therapeutic.”
Cyr is hoping her café will give people the same sort of joy and comfort.
“One of the main things I want is to help get cats permanent loving homes, but also to make the experience available to people who can’t have cats,” she said. That includes people living in animal-free apartments or those who have partners with allergies.
Cyr envisions her café as a cozy coffee shop that includes a separate “cat zone” with six to eight roaming felines. The cat zone, which is admission by donation, will be decorated with custom shelving, bridges and hammocks. Only food and drink purchased inside the store will be allowed in the area.
Cyr also plans to carry a selection of local coffee, with a vegetarian and vegan-friendly menu that includes sandwiches, salads, soups and sweets. She has partnered with Strawberry Blonde Bakery, a local vegan and gluten-free bakery, and also hopes to work with Happy Goat Coffee Co.
As for the main attraction, the cats, Cyr plans to pair with a local rescue (undetermined as of yet) to host a variety of different breeds from the rescue’s foster homes.
“We’ll make sure the cats are socialized and OK to be around people. We’re going to be working to make sure it’s a healthy environment and there isn’t one cat who’s, like, super territorial.”
Cyr has organized a launch party on Tuesday at SAABOON on 595 Gladstone Ave. The event, from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., will feature free snacks and beverages, plus a presentation on the new café and a few “funny cat videos.” Cyr will also be launching a Kickstarter that day, where she hopes to raise $5,000 before the online fundraiser closes Dec. 1.
The free tickets for the launch party have all been snapped up, but Cyr said she has a waitlist in case space allows, and people can still participate through the Kickstarter.
The café will launch even if Cyr doesn’t raise the $5,000.
“The funding for sure helps you get things going. But the real goal is to see what demand there is and to create that buzz and community and to really get people excited about it.”