PHOTOS: Le Cat Café is Finally Open — We Checked it Out

Philly's long-awaited cat cafe had its grand opening Sunday. We were not disappointed.
Le Cat Café | By Mariam Dembele

Le Cat Café. Photo | Mariam Dembele

Are you a cat lover? Do their little paws and furry tails overload your cuteness receptors? Do you secretly follow multiple cat blogs on Instagram — and find yourself liking every pic? If so Le Cat Café at 2713 W. Girard Ave. is the spot for you. By now you’ve probably heard the spiel: cats and cappuccinos. But were you wondering what it’s like to be surrounded by eight of the furry felines? We were, too, so we stopped by Wednesday last week on their first day of appointments (the grand opening was Sunday, March 6th) to check it out. We were not disappointed.

As Philly Mag’s Sandy Hingston had previously hypothesized, this is not the right place to compose a formal email or leisurely drink a glass of water — in fact I would strike getting any work done from your agenda. However, I would argue that it’s a pretty enjoyable place. We stopped by last Wednesday around 2 p.m. — after the cats were tired out from playing and were in the mood to snooze — making it the perfect spot for cat cuddles and photo ops.

Things to Keep in Mind:

The cats have personalities, too. While hanging out with the eight cats that were there on Wednesday, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Snow White’s Seven Dwarfs; you’ve got the Bashful ones, your Sleepys, Grumpys and Happys of the group. Some were tired, some were a bit scared. Then there were the ones that were ready to play, excitedly roaming around the cafe, even climbing up on top beams near the ceiling.

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Kinky Boots looks down at guests from the top beams of Le Cat Café. Photo | Mariam Dembele

Others were content with a nap in the cozy front window of the cafe.

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Cheerio relaxes in the front window of Le Cat Cafe on Wednesday, March 9th. Photo | Mariam Dembele

Adoption Option: 

Founder Kathy Jordan created Le Cat Café with one important purpose in mind: to find these furry felines permanent homes. Jordan has worked with Green Street Rescue, one of the cat rescue and adoption agencies in the city, for about 20 years, so she’s seen the reality of the stray cat problem in Philly — everything from cut tails to diseases and neglect. In 2015, the Philadelphia Animal Control & Control Team reported they took in over 10,000 stray cats. Jordan estimates that that’s not even a drop in the bucket.

Some of these cats have been through some pretty rough circumstances, Oreo — the feisty black cat with the white paws — was found in North Philadelphia walking through broken glass while kids nearby taunted him. Jordan said she recognized him as a cat she had previously been asked to spay, but the owner later realized he couldn’t take care of Oreo and ended up putting him out. At Le Cat Café those who would like to adopt are required to fill out an application form which takes Le Cat staff to 24 to 48 hours vet before a guest can take one of the little fur-balls home, hopefully ensuring that none of the cats end up back on the street.

Oreo gets a bush down by one of the Cafe visitors on Wednesday, March 9. | By Mariam Dembele

Oreo gets a bush down by one of the Café visitors on Wednesday, March 9th. Photo | Mariam Dembele

On Wednesday, I witnessed the magic take place, when the first adoption application was turned in. An older couple took a liking to the energetic Kinky Boots and quickly asked for the paperwork. Jordan assures that all the cats have received the proper shots, have been spayed or neutered, and are ready to enter new homes.

Kinky Boots grabs a toy at Le Cat Cafe on Wednesday March 9 | By Mariam Dembele

Kinky Boots grabs a toy at Le Cat Café on Wednesday March 9th. Photo | Mariam Dembele

As Jordan likes to say “every cat you adopt saves two lives” — the one you rescued and the one for whom there’s now room in the cafe.

Activities

If just hanging out isn’t quite your jam, Le Cat Café also offers several programs because some things are just better with cats.

  • Yoga: Exactly as it sounds — but with cats
  • Purrlates: Pilates — but with cats
  • Pawsages: Massages — but with cats
  • Senior Moments with Cats: This is the equivalent of a happy hour where seniors can enjoy some quality time with the cats.
  • Furrytails Storytime: Jordan recommends this for children who are shy readers, maybe overcoming stutters or a lisp, this is a chance to read out loud in an open environment, and it also helps the cats by allowing them a chance to interact with humans.
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Le Cat Cafe. Photo | Mariam Dembele

Up and Coming… 

But will Le Cat Café be able to maintain the attention it garnered during its Grand Opening and sustain itself in Philly? It may be too soon to say. Cat cafes have flourished in Japan. Vice reported in 2010, that in five years 79 of the cafes popped up throughout the country. Now, the trend has hit the U.S. In 2014, the country’s first cat cafe opened in Oakland, California. Since then there’ve been cafes established in New York, Oregon, Florida, Massachusetts, and many states in between. While we’re still in the beginning stages of the process, if we follow the trend of Japan, cat cafes could soon be a major fixture in the U.S.. The next cat cafe for Philly, Kawaii Kitty Cafe, is due to open sometime this year in Queen Village.

Le Cat Cafe | By Mariam Dembele

Le Cat Café. Photo | Mariam Dembele

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