If your kids wish you were one of the 30 percent of NYC households that owns at least one cat (statistic courtesy of the American Veterinary Medical Association), they now have an easy way to enjoy kitty time: Meow Parlour, the new “cuddle a kitty” cat cafe that just opened on the Lower East Side.
The Cat Cafe Concept
Modeled on cat cafes popular in Japan (where small apartments and a pet-averse culture make it difficult to own a feline), South Korea and Taiwan, this is an animal lover’s dreamland – perfect for kids who want a kitty but can’t have one. Whether you’re a cat free household due to allergy, your apartment building’s “no pet” rule, or a simple lack of interest on your part, Meow Parlour should cure your kid’s cat wish, at least for a little while.
What You’ll Find Inside
The Meow Parlour boasts 12 free-roaming cats, from kitten to mature adult. Some are outgoing, some just-friendly-enough, others timid. To spend time with all of them, you rent access to the space, dropping by a 30-minute visit or staying for up to 5 hours. Prices start at $4 per person per half-hour. The number of guests is limited to 10 at a time. Not into cats yourself? Let your kid do the cuddling while you take advantage of complimentary Wi-Fi and a moment to use your laptop without your kid asking for attention.
Because of health department regulations, no food is made or sold within the cat café, though you can bring in food that you’ve purchased at the Meow Parlour Patisserie (owned by the Meow Parlour owners), just a few steps away. Macarons, doughnuts, pastries, coffee, tea, hot chocolate and other pastry house treats are available. Everything on the Patisserie menu is seriously amazing: The owners are pastry chefs who met in culinary school; they first opened a pastry shop together before branching into the world of pet parlours.
How Can You Get Cat Cuddle Time?
Visitations must be booked ahead of time and we hear the slots for older kids and adults are filled through February. Jump onto the online scheduling page to reserve your day and time for the future now. The Meow Parlour has extensive rules about who can visit the Parlour, how many people can come as a group, hand sanitation, how to behave around sleeping cats, which animals are to be left alone and even visitor behavior within the space. Be sure to read the rules online before submitting your booking. And whatever you do, do not bring in a person who you haven’t registered beforehand: The Meow Parlour is very strict about such things and one unregistered person is enough to get the entire group turned away.
Meow Parlour’s main hours are for guests ages 10 through adult. Younger visitors are allowed only during specially-designated times on Mon., Tues. and Thurs., from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Note: Meow Parlour is very strict about this, so don’t try to sneak an underage sibling in with your older children during main hours. Further, be prepared to sign a release on all kids you bring into Meow Parlour.
All of that being said, don’t let the fussy rules scare you away. The staff is friendly and well meaning and wonderful at showing the kids how to treat cats with respect and love. Meow Parlour is a fun, easy way to introduce your kids to cats if you don’t have pets at home. Gift certificates are available, if you want to share the love with other cat-crazy kids or adults.
What Happens if You Fall in Love?
Should all this time in the Meow Parlour lead you to want a fabulous feline of your own, you’re in luck: All animals are up for adoption through KittyKind, an all-volunteer rescue group; visiting over several days lets you and your family get to know a particular animal before committing. As Meow Parlour mascots leave for forever homes of their own, KittyKind provides new cats for Meow Parlour guests to spend time with.
46 Hester St., Lower East Side
No phone calls
General Visiting Hours: Tues. – Thurs. 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Visiting Hours for Children Under 10 years: Mon., Tues, Thurs.: 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Photos: Meow Parlour