Can you imagine anything better than a kitten cuddle session over coffee with friends? LifeStyle chats to the founder of Sydney's cutest ever pop-up cafe and her dream to bring the cafe to permanent life.
"Good meowning everyone! Welcome to the cat cafe!" Founder Veronica Morland greets all her cat-obsessed patrons warmly - and we're lucky enough make the cut.
Hundreds of cat lovers from across Sydney attended the first ever pop-up cafe in NSW. Filled with adorable kittens, the 4-day pop-up wasn't just for crazy cat ladies wanting the purrfect Instagram shot!
Morland, a self-proclaimed "crazy cat lady", launched the 4-day pop-up cafe in the dream of raising money for a permanent cat cafe with hopes it would encourage the adoption of homeless felines from across the city.
For only five dollars each, groups of 15 booked in for half hour sessions to order takeaway coffees, relax and play with kittens ranging from ages eight to 12 weeks old - donated by animal welfare charity Maggie's Rescue.
We chatted to Veronica to get the low-down about her plans to expand the cafe and what she hopes to achieve:
Q. What made you want to start this Kickstarter/cat café venture?
A. Sydney Cat Café will be anything but ordinary. Even as far as cat cafes go, the model is unorthodox, so we didn't want to launch our crowd-funding campaign the usual way. Rather than simply doing a media blast to spread the word, we brainstormed more guerrilla-type ideas and this one was at the top of the list. What better way to test the waters and introduce ourselves to the cat-loving community than to give people a taste of things to come. It's win-win-win - the kittens received lots of expressions of interest for being re-homed, our friends at Maggie's Rescue get exposure for their incredible fostering network and to see how the cat cafe concept will be received, and the community gets to try this wonderful concept before ‘buying’, so to speak!
Q. Have you always been a cat lover?
A. Yes! My family always owned cats as I was growing up, but when I moved to the city to study and work, I found as many Sydneysiders do, that rental restrictions and long working hours made it near impossible to own a cat. In fact, some of my friends think Sydney Cat Café is the result of pent-up frustration for not being able to adopt for so many years. I think cats are marvellous!
Q. How did you find the response to the pop up café?
A. We had a whole roll-out plan for announcing it. First, update the Sydney Cat Café website and social media. Then, get listed on some event websites. Lastly, approach media and get what we could. I got as far as step one and within a few hours of posting on Facebook, I had far more booking requests than we could possibly accommodate! By the time my submissions for event listing had been approved, the entire event was booked out. Most cases of media coverage came organically. The schedule was jam-packed, and the requests kept pouring in. On the day, we had many hopefuls rock up to see if there were any cancellations. Needless to say, there were a few sleepless nights to keep up - but it was the best "problem" to have, and I am so grateful to the community for their support.
Q. What do you hope to achieve with the Sydney Cat café?
The Café will be billed as experiential - a space unlike any other. Apart from the all-important presence of felines, we'll offer complimentary wifi and set-ups to suit all needs. Whether you need a place to work, a date-spot with a difference or simply a home away from home, every detail will consider the Café's vision of creating a place that encourages its patrons to linger.
Importantly, we aspire to open Sydney's first adoptable cat cafe - that's to say that the cafe would function as a foster home for felines looking for forever homes. This way, Sydney Cat Café will not just provide an opportunity for cat-lovers who can't own pets to spend time in the company of these beautiful creatures, but also provide prospective adoptive parents the chance to get to know their cats before making this important commitment. We want to promote responsible pet ownership and the '"adopt, don't shop" movement.
To help Veronica reach her goals, please donate to her Kickstarter here.