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July 13, 2015

Kawaii Kitty Cafe crowdfunds its way toward opening

Philly's first cat cafe seeks kitty-loving donors

As Philadelphia Business Journal reported last month, Philadelphia's first "cat cafe" -- a coffee shop and cat adoption center -- will open this winter. To get things going, entrepreneur Kristin Eissler is crowdsourcing the funding she needs to open Kawaii Kitty Cafe. She's begun an Indiegogo campaign that's already raised eight percent of its $20,000 funding goal in just four hours. 

Cat cafes are very popular in Asia and have slowly been cropping up in the United States. The shops serve regular cafe fare and give guests the opportunity to mix and mingle with adoptable cats in hopes that the kitties will find new homes. 

In a partnership with the Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society, the cafe will house 10 to 15 cats looking for homes. Announcements will be made when they find families and when new kitties take their place. If they don't find a home, the cats are welcome to live at Kawaii forever. 

Kawaii has yet to find a location, but they are looking in the Northern Liberties, Graduate Hospital, Washington Square West and Fairmount areas. Once they open, the shop will house the cafe side, which is a no-cat zone, and a cat lounge, where guests can bring their food and hang out, separated by a glass wall. 

Eissler's Indeigogo page gives further details about the fare Kawaii will serve: 

We will be serving La Colombe coffee and specialty drinks like bubble teas and frappes!  Light food will be available such as soups, salads, sandwiches, and pastries. The cafe will be BYOB!  Wine and cats, could it get any better?!

Guests get the stress-relieving benefits of hanging out with cuddly cats (or getting to know their soon-to-be pet) while the cats get the benefits of living in a cage-free, safe environment. The cafe will be reservation-only, with $5 buying guests a half-hour in the lounge. The $5 provides extra money for the cats' well-being and care while the reservation system ensures they won't be overwhelmed by crowds. 

Supporters of Kawaii's Indiegogo campaign will provide money for the cafe's construction, food, litter, general medical and cat care and, of course, kitty furniture. The quirky perks supporters can expect include having their exes' name written inside the cafe litter box ($15), early registration for a cat yoga class ($25), access to a private wine-and-cat party ($150) and a lifetime membership ($5,000).