It goes without saying that napping at work is usually frowned upon. But if you’re one of the kittens living inside the cat lounge at Kawaii Kitty Cafe in Queen Village, you get a free pass. Like clockwork, when the hand hits 3:00 p.m. everyday, owner Kristin Eissler closes up the shop for an hour so the main attraction can well, take a cat nap. “They’re up all day playing and interacting with customers, so this is their time to relax.”
Inspired by her frequent visits to Tokyo when she had worked in the fashion industry, Kawaii is her ode to the Japanese culture of kitty cafes with one big exception. “In Japan, there is no health code, so cats would be running around the kitchen. So we wanted to make sure to separate the dining area with the cat lounge.” Duly noted.
When paying a visit to Kawaii, it’s important to note that you can get too attached to these adorable kittens since they all come from local shelter PAWS (Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society) and are available for adoption. Having only been open for a month, the cafe has already found 11 kittens a permanent home. One of them, Miss Cake, didn’t have to purr too hard to get someone’s attention. “She just started sitting on my lap and I couldn't resist. I had to adopt her.” says Eissler. That makes three altogether with Zissou and Beef, a 17-pound cat, to round out the trio.
The reception in the neighborhood has been ecstatic. “All our time slots have been filled pretty much everyday.” says Eissler. Eager customers who wish to visit the cat lounge pay a $10 fee for 60 minutes of playtime which covers the cost of food, toys, liter and medical care. If an hour of time sounds hardly enough, cat lovers can opt for a yearly pass. “This is my fifth time visiting. Me and my husband own two cats and we have a rule to not have cats outnumber the amount of people in the house. Otherwise they start plotting against you. But you can never have enough cats.” says Amanda Kindler of Germantown.
One thing Kawaii Kitty Cafe is not, however, is a kitty day care. "People have come in on more than one occasion and asked if they can drop off the cat for the day and then pick it up after work,” Eissler says.
The cafe may not serve as your personal cat-sitter, but in the eyes of 7-year-old Aliza Leger from Fox Chase, who was visiting the cat lounge with her mother for the first time, it’s doesn’t have to be. “I think this place is beautiful.” Meow!
If you go,
Kawaii Kitty Cafe
759 S. Fourth St.
Cat lounge: $10 per person per hour
Tuesday-Friday: 11a.m.-8 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.