San Francisco’s next café is a little bit more eccentric than you would expect…especially because it involves cats. Yes, you read the correctly. A cat café. Now before you pack your feline friend and head over to KitTea, think again. It isn’t a café to bring your own cats to have tea with you. Instead, it is a place where anyone can come in, enjoy a pot of tea, and hang out with cats already in the restaurant! As their mission statement reads, KitTea aims for create a zen retreat where people and cats can hang out to the benefit of both, within the setting of a relaxing tea house.
Courtney Hatt, David Braginksy, and Benjamin Spingle announced their plans to start a “cat café” earlier this year. According to Hatt, cats were “inspiring to [her], because they live in the moment and have such a calming way about them.” Once she had learned about cat cafes in other countries such as Japan, she became motivated to bring this same concept to San Francisco.
Hatt sees the business having up to 10 different cats within a space that allows about 30-35 customers at a time. However, the cat oasis is not just to enjoy. As stated on their FAQs page, the well-being of the cats comes far before the business of tea. All cats will be available for adoption, and a portion of the proceeds will be going directly back to taking care of the precious felines.
You may be asking yourself, “Are there not a lot of health concerns to deal with?” Yes, there sure are. Not only does the proper building need to be leased, but also all the food and safety regulations that come along with it.
The owners have been in continuous communication with the San Francisco Food and Safety Program, as well as the San Francisco Environment Health Department. According to the health department, in order for KitTea to become a reality, they must essentially run two business: the tea house and the cat haven. The spaces will not be able to share anything, including staff, storage, entrances, or restrooms.
If KitTea becomes a reality sometime very soon, it will be the first cat café in America, hopefully with many more to come.
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