I scheduled my arrival to NYC to be early in the day so I could meet up with a local friend who is also a cat lover, and we went to Koneko together. That was my very first cat cafe visit. The next day, I went back with the rest of the BlogPurr event attendees. Photos on this page are from both visits.
Walking down Clinton Street on the lower east side of New York, a modest sign above one storefront hints that there are cats inside.
The overhead sign is so modest that when the cat cafe is open to the general public, a sidewalk sign beckons you inside with the magic words: adoptable kitties.
The cafe itself is a single storefront’s width, serving wonderful coffee and tasty, Japanese snacks. Try the green cheesecake… it isn’t wasabi pie, even though I joked that it might be.
All of the decor is themed around the real guests of honor at the cat cafe, like the sign on the restroom.
At the back of the cafe is a glass-fronted cattery. The glass separates the food-serving area from the area of the cafe reserved for the cats.
When you enter the vestibule for the cattery, you take off your shoes and just wear your socks. If you don’t have socks, the cafe supplies slippers. This prevents cross-contamination of the cattery area. You also learn about the important rules for visiting the cat cafe.
Inside the cattery, 20 adoptable cats from Angellicle Cats Rescue roam free in three different areas. Or instead of roaming, many of them sleep.
It’s amazing how relaxed some of the cats are with strangers wandering through. These adoptable cats will be remarkably well-socialized when they go home with new families.
Some people would think that having 20 cats in a confined space would be dirty or smelly, but the cattery is spotless. Cat litter boxes are tucked discreetly away behind cat doors labeled to identify what is on the other side. I doubt the cats actually read the signage, but it’s really cute.
There are two separate indoor areas of the cafe, connected by a stairway. The cats don’t have to take the stairway meant for the humans. They have their own, private opening between floors. Downstairs, they can use wall-mounted shelving to make their way down from their private catwalk.
There are plenty of places for cats to scratch, stretch, and engage with visitors.
There are also plenty of high shelves and places the cats can get away from visitors if they aren’t in the mood for being bothered.
This cat, Cello, had just arrived at Koneko that day and was already playing with visitors.
The cafe’s outdoor catio has an impressive mural, representing lots of cats from pop culture.
More cats seem to congregate on the catio than indoors, enjoying the fresh air.
Outside, they do some of the same things they do indoors, like sleep.
But the real attraction is the falling leaves and pigeons that land on the fire escapes above.
The catio keeps the cats safe while they enjoy the fresh air and the sights.
What better way to fall in love with an adoptable cat then watching her chatter at birds?
While cat cafes started as ways for people without cats to spend time with cats, being able to meet cats in the cafe who you can fall in love with and bring home is a wonderful alternative to cats spending extended time in cages while they wait to find homes.
In fact, during my visit to Koneko, the staff told me that this cat was getting ready to go to his new adoptive home that evening. Coffee, cats, and happy endings all under one roof!
Getting to Koneko
Koneko is on the lower east side of Manhattan in New York City. The closest subway stop is the 2nd Ave stop of the F line. From there, walk east on Houston Street and turn right on Clinton Street. You will find Koneko at 26 Clinton Street. Look for the sign with their emoticon-style logo over the door.
Disclosure: My travel costs to the BlogPurr event were paid by Merck Animal Health.