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The Day Has Come: NYC's First Cat Cafe Is Officially Open!

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Photos: Ethan Covey

Meow Parlour's opening day is upon us! After two months of waiting for New York City's first cat cafe to debut—and lightly stalking its Instagram account—Meow Parlour's doors are open and its kitties are ready to be petted! (Kind of. They'd really rather sit on a shelf and slow-blink at you from a distance. Or curl up inside one of Meow Parlour's many cat beds.)

The Hester Street space is booked solid through February, but we caught up with co-owner Emilie Legrand to talk about beating the wait list, how the cafe part actually works, and whether her own cats get jealous of her feline co-workers.

You have cats at home! Do they get jealous when you cheat on them with the Meow Parlour cats?

No, that's the crazy thing. They don't get jealous at all!

I think I saw someone with catnip! Can guests bring their own cat toys?
No, we're asking people not to bring anything, especially not treats because we're not feeding the cats outside of their feeding time.

How long are you booked right now?

I believe we're booked until the end of January, but then people can cancel their reservations, so keep checking the system! Slots might open. The booking system opens 60 days in advance.

How many cats are you opening with?

We have eight cats right now, but we may have another one in the next day.

Is that the limit?

We're going to have between eight and twelve cats. It depends on how fast they get adopted.

Is there a place for the cats to go when they don't feel like being social?

Yes, they have a little private room that they can go to, there's a cat door. They can also climb up the shelves, and hide inside the tables and benches. There are a lot of hidden spots where they an have some time off if they are tired.

What are the rules for interacting with the cats?

Customers have to read the rules and sign a waiver. There's no flash photography, no feeding the cats, things like that.

Do you think people will come with their laptops to work? Or is this strictly kitty playtime?

I think it will depend on the hours of the day. I expect some people will come to work while others will come with a friend to chat.

How do you order food?

For the moment, you go across the street to the cafe and bring the food here.

What do you serve in the cafe?

Cat-shaped macarons of course, and cat-shaped linzer cookies. We also have some savory items, like sandwiches.

Have there been any bites or scratches yet?

Squinkles doesn't let any cats get near her, so she hisses a bit if she's unhappy. But so far it's been good.

Where are the litter boxes?

Those are in a separate room, through the cat door.

· It's Happening: Real, Live Feline Spotted at Meow Parlour [Racked NY]
· Of Course Meow Parlour Broke the Internet [Racked NY]
· Four Facts We Learned About Meow Parlour, NYC's Cat Café [Racked NY]