A Furry Feline Welcome From A Cat Cafe

Plans are underway to open KitTea, a gourmet tea house in San Francisco, where patrons mingle with "resident" cats. The felines will come from rescue shelters and be up for adoption. NPR's Scott Simon talks to Courtney Hatt, the co-founder of KitTea, about starting a cat cafe.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The city of San Francisco may see the opening of a Cat Cafe, a place where homeless felines and people who crave the companionship of a cat can comingle over a cup of coffee or tea. In fact, the place is called KitTea. Get it? Courtney Hatt says she got the idea to try to open the cafe while reading an article.

COURTNEY HATT: So I was in a cafe and just lots of people around, but nobody was really interacting with each other, and that's when I came across the story about cat cafes in Japan and I thought, wow, that's kind of the cafe I want to be in right now versus where I am at the moment.

I just thought this is something not only, like, interactive where people are not just interacting with the cats, but they're interacting with each other 'cause they have something in common. Sort of like when you go to a dog park, the people at the dog park talk to each other; where there's not really anything like that for people who have cats, and a lot of people in the city own cats.

So that's when I decided to build this cafe startup where I could save cats and also create a space that's very Zen and relaxing for people with stressful jobs or who don't have access to our animal friends.

SIMON: So the idea would be that the cats would be there and they would - people could come into the cafe and they could have the companionship of a cat for as long as their cup of coffee or tea lasted?

HATT: Yeah. I should clarify, 'cause a lot of people think, oh, it's a place where I can bring my cat. That would be great, but cats are very territorial so it would just probably be a mess. Like, there would probably be cats marking their territory, scratching, getting in fights. It could be a really serious problem. They're not as easygoing as dogs with one another.

So our plan is to - we're working with two rescues at the moment and they're providing us with cats that they've already screened for behavior. And so a lot of these cats are actually going to be kittens because kittens get along versus adult cats, especially sibling kittens, so we're maybe going to start out with a couple of cat families. So, the mom cat and her babies.

And if they fall in love with that cat, they can adopt the cat.

SIMON: And that sounds like that's your whole idea?

HATT: Exactly. And tea.

(LAUGHTER)

SIMON: Courtney Hatt, the co-founder of KitTea, which will perhaps be opening later this year. Thanks so much for being with us. Good luck.

HATT: Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF A SONG, "EV'RYBODY WANTS TO BE A CAT")

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (Singing) Everybody wants to be a cat because the cat's the only cat who knows where it's at. Everybody's picking up on that feline beat, 'cause everything else is obsolete. Now a square with a horn makes you wish you weren't born every time he plays. And with a square in the act...

SIMON: This is NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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