Minnesota’s first cat cafe is finally here; People can have their coffee and play with some cats

Published 7:45 am Friday, February 16, 2018

By Nancy Yang

MPR News/90.1 FM

Minnesota feline fans, rejoice. You’ll finally be able to get your catfeine fix when the state’s first cat cafe opens in Minneapolis this Friday.

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For the uninitiated, we’ll clear this up right away: No, it’s not a cafe for your cat.

The Cafe Meow in the Uptown area is a coffee shop where you can also play with local rescue cats that are up for adoption.

Cafes with a side of kitten cuddles originated in Taiwan in the late 1990s before spreading to Japan, where they exploded in popularity.

In recent years, the concept has made its way across the globe.

And meow, Minnesota. (Sorry, that’s the last cat pun we’ll use today.)

The cafe has been a dream four years in the making.

“When I was in my last semester of university, I was looking at what I was going to be doing — I was thinking web developing — I went to school for graphic design,” said Jessica Burge, one of the cafe’s co-owners. “But then Purina ONE had a cat cafe that popped up in New York City and I was like, ‘Well, oh my gosh, this is it, this is what we need to do.’”

She mentioned the idea to longtime friend Danielle Rasmussen who agreed that was a neat concept but didn’t immediately jump on the idea.

Months later, they went to the Internet Cat Video Festival at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. The attendance that year was enough to reassure them their plan was a great one — more than 10,000 people showed up.

“We looked at each other and we said ‘OK, Minneapolis needs one of these. We should actually do this because it could do really well,” Rasmussen said.

They plunged forward into the world of learning about zoning laws, scouting out locations and figuring out how to run a business. They considered a space in Dinkytown at the University of Minnesota, but eventually settled on their Uptown location thanks to easy access to the freeway, its walkability and proximity to other businesses.