“Our advocacy, which we call catvocacy, is to spread love for cats, raise stray cat awareness, and promote cat equality through a themed-café experience,” said Denis Ty, one of the café owners. Initially, Denis and his partner Anna Calvo just wanted to have a cat café, a concept that they got from a trip to Japan. Upon realising that stray cats are an issue in Philippines and that can actually be better managed, the partners decided that partnering with an NGO and having a few cats in the cafe would serve more purpose. Cat Café partners Compassion and Responsibility for Animals (CARA) Welfare Philippines, a non-profit, non-government organisation in the Philippines where passionate animal lovers champion the plight of animals in the country. It is the only cat café that works with CARA that facilitates adoptions through visitations to the cafe.
Running a pet café demands a lot more work as compared to regular restaurants. The operation is more tedious because you have to carefully look at the sanitary aspect of running the place. “People are keen to work with us, to be par t of Cat Café Manila, because of the cats. And we always tell our staff – our Cat Café ambassadors – to always talk to the customers, to tell them what we stand for and where the cats are from”, says Denis. Interestingly, Cat Café operates on a reservation basis (max 25 people) as the space is quite small and the owners want to ensure they can manage the experience of customers. The café has a door charge of P200; half of which is consumable at the café while the other half goes to the cats’ needs and operations.
Located in the popular foodies haven, Maginhawa Street in Teacher’s Village, Quezon City, Philippines, Cat Café’s primary market includes families, students, yuppies, and food tourists. Active in Facebook and Instagram, their social media presence helped Cat Café Manila gain popularity. Cat Café serves coffee, ice blended tea, Italian sodas, pastries, bread and pastas on weekends. Rice meals are not available not because they don’t have a big kitchen but we didn’t want to cook rice meals here because cooking might annoy the cats, and it is also hard to manage a fully – functioning kitchen with the cats around, said Denis.
A socially-led enterprise that manages to balance customer experience and feline comforts, the Cat Cafe has been instrumental in helping eight cats find their new ‘furever’ home!