BROOKLYN, N.Y. - The Brooklyn Cat Café located on Montague Street in Brooklyn Heights doesn't serve food, but it draws people from around the city and beyond. Instead, visitors pay $7 for 30 minutes of kitty cuddles.
“We have people come because they love cats or they're looking to adopt cats or have someone in their family that's allergic and they can't have one. So they come to sort of get their cat fix,” says Rachel Foster, one of the co-founders of the unique café.
“Just seeing this many cats altogether playing and living it up and having a catty great time is really fun and amazing,” said one man who visited the café.
The café is operated by the Brooklyn Bridge Animal Welfare Coalition, a nonprofit rescue group. The staff is all-volunteer.
“We were doing a lot of adoption events and we noticed that most of the visitors actually just weren't interested in adopting,” says Ann Levin, the Executive Director of the Brooklyn Bridge Animal Welfare Coalition and co-founder of the Brooklyn Cat Café. “They just wanted to play with our cats and so we decided to take advantage of that.”
They created a popup café in 2015 and opened a permanent space the next year.
They just moved to a larger location on Montague Street, allowing for more cats and more quality time with them.
“They love touching you, they're really playful...they almost seem like dogs practically,” said one woman who enjoyed her time with the friendly felines.
“Of course, the whole idea is to get the cats adopted, but here at the Brooklyn Cat Café if you want to adopt kittens you have to take home two,” says Ann Levin. “Because they're better socialized. They're better companions when they play together.”
While the Cat Café is primarily about cats, some other small rescue animals call it home, too. And believe it or not, rats are one of those animals. A terrarium was built and donated by the Brooklyn-based set designers for Saturday Night Live.
It features a kitty cam, and last year a video of rats grooming and comforting newborns kittens went viral.
“Our rats always help us when we have orphan kittens and the kittens need to have companionship but can't be with another kitten because we don't know if they're healthy yet,” says Levin. “The rats take great care of the cats.”
The café hosts movie nights, yoga and more. There is coffee and some packaged snacks, but the food here is for the felines and the rats.
For more information go to catcafebk.com.