I visited my first cat café in Tokyo in April, 2014. Calico Café was hidden among nondescript office buildings in Shinjuku. I took an elevator up to the 6th floor and stepped into 5,000 square feet of cat paradise.
As I left Calico Cafe, I only had one question: Why doesn’t anything like this exist in New York – the capital of Big Ideas?
And so Koneko began. It’s been a rollercoaster of Health Department work sessions, cat photoshoots, tea tastings. I made multiple research trips to Asia and visited over fifteen Cat Cafes in Japan and Thailand. Koneko is the culmination of a love for and fascination with cats, a lot of blood, sweat and tears, and a desire to infuse my favorite elements of Japan with the grit and flavor of the Lower East Side.
I can’t wait to share Koneko with the world.
The café seats 20 and offers a curated menu, including expertly brewed Stumptown coffee, a selection of hand-picked teas, house-made Japanese bar snacks, beer, wine, sake, and some crazy good bites from my favorite local bakeries.
The Cattery team will be there to ensure both you and the kitties have a great time. Each team member is carefully trained in animal care and is a loud and proud Cat Person. Our core mission is to find forever homes for our cats – we hope you’ll consider! I’ve teamed up with Anjellicle Cat Rescue, City Critters, and K9 Kastle – three amazing rescue organizations that are doing incredible work in the city.
Koneko’s Cattery is architect-designed and developed exclusively for cats. It includes both indoor and outdoor spaces, a multi-floored catwalk, cubbies, towers, you name it. Think Donald Judd meets Cirque du Soleil...for cats.
I wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise, though. You’ll have to see for yourself.