Ginger Digest

WATCH Our idea of heaven: sipping coffee amidst purrs and meows at India’s first cat cafe

Posted on November 17, 2016: The next time you ask anyone out for coffee in Mumbai, and are wondering where to go, you might want to give the Cat Café Studio in Versova a go. If both you and your date are cat lovers, this café may seem like heaven on earth for you. This café is open throughout the week, from 11.30am to 9.30pm. You can tuck into some delectable cakes, cookies, muffins, cupcakes, vegetarian and non-vegetarian sandwiches, tea, coffee and other beverages; while cute cats and kittens of varying ages and shades, rub up to you. These adorable felines are cats rescued by the founders of this café.

Mihir Bhatt, who is the Brand Manager and Operations Head, of the cafe, shares how this unique café came into being, “Cat Café Studio is the brain-child of Zcyphher, an independent creative agency currently working from the same space as CCS. The Zcyphher team was always into rescuing and getting cats adopted albeit on a small scale since as far as back in 2010. Cat Café Studio was officially established in early 2015 as it opened its doors to anyone who wanted to enjoy the company of cats over coffee and to spread the awareness of adoption of strays. The concept has been growing ever since and the number of adoptions is increasing by each passing day.” 

Just like all ventures, this mission also underwent teething troubles. Mihir explains, “The initial hurdles were spreading the word among animal lovers about this place and getting more and more people to open up to the idea of cats a pets. There are many myths and superstitions surrounding cats that are still rampant in society. We aim to spread the right knowledge about them by giving cats a natural domesticated environment that they are meant to live in. The art studio concept under the umbrella of Cat Café has been yet another challenge and continues to be. We want this space to be a display of various art forms from independent artists from around the city.”

Every month, this café is filled with exciting activities. Mihir updates, “Most of our monthly events revolve around adoption awareness accompanied by open mic nights, photography and painting exhibitions and even fun-filled flea markets.” A few dogs are a part of the café too, the dogs and cats co-exist merrily. Cute merchandise with cat motifs is on sale.

After having faced initial hurdles, the café continues to face challenges. The mission of the café is to find loving and responsible pet parents for the strays that they’ve rescued. Many rescued cats are yet to be adopted. Mihir elaborates, “Cat Café Studio hosts an event every month or two with a hope that we reach out to a bigger audience and help spread the word about the cats who are up for adoption. We also host adoption camps from time to time here specifically with the goal to get as many adoptions to happen as we can. We also are probably the toughest place in Mumbai to adopt from as we follow a strict and thorough adoption procedure. This is to ensure all our cats go only into loving, kind and responsible homes.”

Looking ahead wistfully into the future, Mihir says, “In future, we hope the word spreads and more people are aware of feline adoptions so that they can opt for adopting the ones in need instead of buying breed cats.”

Future plans

The Cat Café has plans of shifting to a bigger space soon. They are also trying to get more volunteers on board. Forms for aspiring volunteers may be available from here: https://goo.gl/forms/tbsXoNik34dddlCX2.

Mihir says on a concluding note, “We hope that in the new space we are able to expand our mission to have independent artists to come on board and display their work of art and treat this space as an open invitation to present their best work which otherwise is not getting the deserved stage.” 

Photographs and video courtesy Cat Café Studio. Find out more about Cat Café Studio on their Facebook page here.

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