Cat lovers! Vancouver could be getting its very own cat café as soon as this coming fall. The founder and owner of Catfé, Michelle Furbacher is just waiting to receive approval from the city in order to get the ball rolling.
Furbacher has always had a love of felines and in 2012—started her own cat sitting business—Smitten Kitten Cat Sitting. By being around a variety of cats, Furbacher tells 604 Now that she developed a “feline mentality” and understands that they each have their own unique personalities.
Cat Cafés are extremely popular in Asia, particularly in Japan. Furbacher stumbled across a video of one of these cafes and it inspired her to open the first one for Vancouver. “I became immediately obsessed,” she says. “I thought that because of strict food safety regulations this kind of thing wouldn’t fly in Vancouver, but the more I thought about it, the more ideas I got that could make it work.”
At this point, because of these strict regulations, Furbacher isn’t sure if she will sell food or beverages in the café. “I’m looking for ways around it, that the city will approve. Perhaps a vending machine, selling bottled drinks or foods that were made and packaged off-site, or teaming up with some food trucks to station outside,” she says.
But the main goal is to create a space where people can socialize with cats and each other. “There will be wifi, board games and a small library if you want to read a book while chilling with some kitties,” she says. There will also be trinkets, souvenirs, jewelry and artwork for sale (all cat-themed of course). She also hopes the catmosphere of the cafe will be very relaxed and will host movie nights, book readings and drawing workshops. “There will be an entrance fee and/or an hourly rate,” she says.
Furbacher wants to team up with animal shelters by bringing in cats that need to find their fur-ever homes. That way, people may eventually develop a bond with one of the cats and want to adopt them. It also gives people who aren’t allowed pets the opportunity to make some four-legged feline friends. But choosing the cats for Catfé will need to be carefully thought out beforehand. “We’d choose cats that enjoy socializing with people,” she says. “There would be a trial period before opening to make sure cats were compatible with each other as well.”
As for the location, Furbacher is still trying to find the purr-fect spot but is looking for somewhere central; such as Gastown, Main Street, Broadway or Commercial Drive.
To get updates on Catfé, check out their Facebook page.
Written by: Meagan Gill
Photo courtesy of: Michelle Furbacher