If you build it ... they will purr.
That’s the hope of one Boston-area entrepreneur, who said that her plans to open the city’s first Cat Cafe took a step forward this month, after she signed a lease for the business.
Diane Kelly told Eater Boston that she was postponing the announcement of PURR Cat Cafe’s location, but the Boston Globe reported that earlier Facebook comments indicate Kelly was eyeing a Brighton storefront.
Kelly hopes to partner with a Boston animal shelter to help provide an open-air environment for rescue cats outside of a traditional shelter, while giving patrons an opportunity to interact with the cats in a more intimate setting.
“Purr Cafe will be a safe haven for homeless cats until they find their forever home,” a statement on the Purr website read. “We will also work diligently to provide a great environment for our hooman [sic] friends to enjoy the company of our cats.”
Kelly told the Globe last month that she’s already spent $25,000 to hire a designer for her website and merchandising, an architect, broker and lawyer to help her through her next hurdle: the permitting and zoning process.
The Globe reports that Kelly plans to partner with a bakery to prepare and deliver baked goods -- prepared off-site -- in order to provide some food to patrons without running into issues from the health department.
Beyond food, customers would pay a rate -- Kelly reportedly estimated $12 to $15 -- for access to the animals, and any accompanying good feelings.
“When I first started looking I thought: Am I crazy? Can I really make a living off a cat cafe?” Kelly said, according to the Globe. “And then I did research and I realized I could.”
Kelly said she will turn to crowdsourcing for some additional revenue as well. She may have some luck — her Facebook page already has over 1,300 likes.
But don’t feel too bad if you’re skeptical: Boston has been burned on these kinds of promising developments before.
A graduate student famously tried to crowd-fund a cat cafe in the city called Le Chat Noir, but fell short of her $65,000 goal, according to the Globe. Another attempted cafe — Miaou Boston — was floated as a possibility in 2013, but never materialized.