Catfe

Opening a cat cafe in Vancouver
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Michelle Furbacher
Animals
Vancouver, British Columbia
Canada
1 Team Member

UPDATE — Lease signed!

BREAKING MEWS -- We have signed a lease on a downtown location! Less exciting news: the lease is conditional on City Hall approval, which will be about a three-month process. We’ll be hard at work over the next few weeks on our development permit application, and will share what we can in the meantime. We’re waiting on final approval from the City before releasing further details, but suffice it to say, we’ve got our paws on a central location on the SkyTrain line with ample parking and, most importantly, many large windows for sunbathing felines. We’ve found the PURRFECT space -- now it’s all up to the City!

Stay tuned to Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates, or send us an email at info@catfe.ca to join our mailing list!


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What is Catfé?

Catfé is one part cafe, one part foster home for cats, and all parts community gathering space for cat lovers in Vancouver in need of some quality kitty time. We'll have a colony of adoptable cats living onsite, and will offer drinks and snacks, wifi access, a library of books and boardgames and a lounge area for hanging with the kitties. It will be a community space that feels like an extension of your living room, except with a whole lot of cats!

Cat cafes are really popular in Japan, and there are quite a few scattered across Europe and the UK as well. The concept is fairly new to North America, with several cat cafes set to open this year in San Francisco, Oakland, Montreal, and more.

Inspired by its predecessors, Catfé will be a space where animal lovers looking for some feline socializing can go to get their kitty fix. And all of the cats will be available for adoption, so it's kind of like a glorified cat shelter as well.


What's in it for the community?

A high percentage of rentals in Vancouver prohibit pets. Maybe you live in one of these buildings. Maybe you love cats, but aren't able to take on the responsibility of full time pet ownership. Maybe you have a cat but want to hang out with even more!

In any case, quality time with animals improves mental health and reduces stress. Socializing with animals can be therapeutic for children with special needs or developmental disabilities. And visiting with a cat has been shown to lower blood pressure, improve motivation, decrease anxiety, ease loneliness and ward off depression.

Catfé will bring life to the community — not just by bringing in a bunch of furballs with nine lives — but by adding a space where cat lovers can gather and feel at home away from home. You can surf the web, study, play boardgames, read a book from our library — all in the company of feline friends. We'll host movie nights, readings, drawing workshops, and more. And of course there will be plenty of kitties to play with!

What's in it for the cats?

Every year animal shelters across BC bring in thousands of homeless cats and kittens. We’ll be working with Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association (VOKRA) to provide the cats for Catfé. All cats will be adoptable; the cafe will just act as a foster home for them. This is a major goal of the business — to get adoptable cats more exposure to the public, so that people can get to know them, and maybe decide they want to make them part of their family.

Living at Catfé will provide cats with a safe space where they can wander about at will, socialize with people and live normal lives, rather than being cooped up in a cage. There will be a separate and comfortable back room where they can retreat when they don’t feel like being around humans. We'll be drawing on pre-existing cat cafes for inspiration to make the space a playground wonderland for the cats — networks of shelving units to climb, scratching posts, and toys galore. 

Will this be sanitary?

We can’t stress enough how major a concern cleanliness is, for the welfare of both cats and people. The food area and the cat area will be completely separate — no one handling the cats or cleaning a litter box will ever be involved in food prep or handling in any way. 

Upon entering the cat area, there will be a sanitation station where all patrons must wash and disinfect their hands before coming into contact with kitties. As well, all cats will be screened for illness before coming to live at the cafe, to ensure the health and safety of the animals.

The litter box room will be separate from the visitors and will have a heavy-duty ventilation system installed. Litter boxes, floors and all surfaces will have a strict cleaning regimen. We have been consulting with other animal shelters to determine best practices for litter box ventilation, waste disposal, and cleaning methods.

Will the city of Vancouver really allow a space like this?

To comply with food safety regulations, the building will be split into two separate spaces: the cafe area, and the cat area. Vancouver Coastal Health has confirmed that as long as the cafe and the kitty lounge have separate entrances, and a wall completely separating the two spaces, we are good to go.

The Catfé business plan is being built with the aid of the Embers Ventures Build A Business program. We will ensure we have the proper permits, zoning and licences in place to follow through on providing a space that the city allows and that our customers will love.

Who is behind this project? 

My name is Michelle Furbacher. I've been a cat lover my whole life, from the magical moment in the first grade when I first met my family's new kitten, through my fastidious collection of Garfield books and the "Punk Cats" poster that adorned my pre-teen bedroom wall. (FYI I would never condone dressing kittens in leather jackets and ripped jeans with guitars now, but my 9-year-old self thought it was the coolest thing ever.) 

But only after volunteering for the West Vancouver SPCA and the North Vancouver Animal Welfare Shelter did I really start to understand the complexities of cat behaviour. After my own cat Peanut passed away two years ago, I started a live-in cat sitting business so that I could spend quality time with kitties again. Business was good — so good that I barely slept at my own home last year! Through cat sitting, I got to know a lot of different cats with different kinds of personalities, and learned even more about the feline mentality.

I want to provide others with the same experience I was looking for through cat sitting — a space that offers feline companionship for those who don’t have a cat of their own, or just really like hanging out with kitties. At the same time, I have a good understanding of what cats need, and their welfare is of utmost importance to me. I will work hard to create a safe, happy space that will feel like home to the cats until they find their forever home.


Where is the money going? 

Your contribution will go towards the start-up costs of the business, as well as the first month's operations budget. But the money you spend will also buy you exclusive perks (check them out over on the right)!

Start-up costs include: construction (installation of extra walls and doors within the space, a wall with a window perch separating the cafe and cat area, impermeable flooring and finishing, sectioning off foyers for added cat security); plumbing (installation of sanitation station, cafe sinks and kitty fountain); a heavy-duty ventilation system for the litter box room; a washer and dryer; furnishings (desks, tables, kitty-proof chairs and couches, scratching posts, kitty climbing shelves and concourses); other cat-related things (litter boxes, cat beds, grooming supplies, toys); wifi installation; a POS system; permits and licenses.

Monthly operations include: rent; heating and electricity; insurance; staff wages; cat care; food and merchandise costs; cleaning and sanitation supplies.

Perks for you include: depending on the amount you spend, you can get free visits, exclusive Catfé buttons and stickers, calendars and T-shirts, cat sitting and photography deals from Smitten Kitten Cat Sitting, advertising and sponsorship deals, a private party for you and your friends... you can even buy a lifetime membership with unlimited free entry!

What happens to the money if you don't reach your goal? 

All funds raised through this campaign will go towards the start-up costs of Catfé, regardless of whether or not we meet our funding goal. 


Press about Catfé

  • Metro — “Cat café coming to Vancouver in fall 2014”
  • Huffington Post — “Vancouver Cat Cafe Coming Soon”
  • VanCity Buzz — “Cat Cafe Vancouver Opening This Year”
  • Vancouver Observer — “A cat café in Vancouver: The fuzzy face of economic diversity”
  • Global News — “Vancouver resident wants to open city’s first cat cafe”
  • Bored in Vancouver — “We Want a Cat Cafe in Vancouver Right Meow”
  • Inside Vancouver — “Would You Visit a Cat Cafe in Vancouver?”
  • 604 Now — “Cat Café Coming To Vancouver”
  • Korea-Canada Blog — “Vancouver to Get Its First Cat Café”
  • BCIT Broadcast News — “Vancouver Coastal Health clears ‘Catfé’ proposal”
  • The Cascade — “The purrfect café”
  • Digital Journal — “North America set to welcome cat cafes”
  • CBC — “Cat café will be a first for Vancouver”
  • Eater— “Vancouver's First Cat Cafe is Asking for $50K on Indiegogo”
  • 604 Now — “Cat Café Launches Crowd-Funding Campaign”
  • Kelowna Now — “First Cat Café in Vancouver Seeks Crowdfunding”
  • Metro — “Proposed Vancouver cat café launches crowd-funding campaign”
  • The Province — “Cat lover launches online appeal for funds to create feline friendly Vancouver café”
  • Global News — “Vancouver’s first cat cafe closer to becoming a reality”
  • Vancouver Observer — Vancouver cat cafe slinks closer to reality with Catfé crowdfunding push”
  • Global Post — “Mentors play important role in keeping entrepreneurs focused and accountable”
  • 102.7 The Peak — “Peak Flavours”
  • BCIT Broadcast News — “For The Record – Vancouver’s First Cat Cafe”
  • Pet360 — “Woman Plans to Launch Cat Cafe in Vancouver”
  • Guidebook — “A café for cat lovers”
  • YAHOO! JAPAN — バンクーバーに初の猫カフェを-猫好きの女性が起業目指して準備中
  • Vancouver Sun — “Cat Cafe, trending around world and in Vancouver”


How else can I help?

Please share the campaign with your friends and anyone you think might be interested. A little sharing goes a long way!

Keep connected with us on Facebook and Twitter! If you have any questions or concerns please contact Michelle at info@catfe.ca.

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A million thank-yous to Apollo Ghosts for letting us loop their sweet song over and over and over and over and over and over...

Special thanks to Aaron Cumming for his sweet video editing maneuvers.

Find This Campaign On
$32,125CAD
raised by 538 people in 1 month
64% funded
0 time left
$50,000 CAD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on June 6, 2014
Select a Perk
  • $5CAD
    MEOWBOX RAFFLE - 1 TICKET

    We are teaming up with @catsofinstagram and @Meowbox to bring you the MEGA-MEOWBOX RAFFLE. This perk buys you 1 chance to win a MEGA-MEOWBOX for your kitty, full of 10 goodies, a plush cat blanket, a Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover’s Soul book and picture frame, an Animal Rescue magazine, I Love Pet Head product and Catfé swag

    4 claimed

  • $10CAD
    MEOWBOX RAFFLE - 3 TICKETS

    We are teaming up with @catsofinstagram and @Meowbox to bring you the MEGA-MEOWBOX RAFFLE. This perk buys you 3 chances to win a MEGA-MEOWBOX for your kitty, full of 10 goodies, a plush cat blanket, a Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover’s Soul book and picture frame, an Animal Rescue magazine, I Love Pet Head product and Catfé swag

    10 claimed

  • $15CAD
    CAT LOVER'S STARTER KIT

    A pack of commemorative Catfé buttons and stickers! Shipping included within Canada. International orders please add $5 for shipping.

    25 claimed

  • $20CAD
    CATVERTISING - SOCIAL MEOWDIA

    Want to market your business to a crowd of cat ladies and gentlemen? Along with a thank you for your sponsorship, we'll post a photo and link to your business on our Facebook and Twitter pages! Be sure to email the link and a JPG to info@catfe.ca.

    24 claimed

  • $25CAD
    TWO KITTY VISITS

    This perk grants you two free visits to Catfé after we've opened to the public. Includes a free coffee or tea on each visit. Transferable, so you can bring a friend, or save the kitty visits all to yourself!

    159 claimed

  • $25CAD
    CAT-FEINE CARD

    This one's for the coffee lovers — a punch card good for twelve free coffees or teas!

    10 claimed

  • $25CAD
    MEOWBOX RAFFLE - 10 TICKETS +

    We are teaming up with @catsofinstagram and @Meowbox to bring you the MEGA-MEOWBOX RAFFLE. This perk buys you 10 chances to win a MEGA-MEOWBOX for your kitty, full of 10 goodies, a plush cat blanket, a Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover’s Soul book and picture frame, an Animal Rescue magazine, I Love Pet Head product and Catfé swag — AND you will be featured across the social media of Catfé, @Meowbox and @catsofinstagram *Please email your Instagram name and a photo to info@catfe.ca

    72 claimed

  • $30CAD
    CATFE CALENDAR PACK

    Twelve months filled with adorable cafe cat fluffballs! You might not make it out to Catfé everyday, but you can share each day with the kitties as you gaze at your Catfé calendar. You also get one free visit with this perk! Shipping included within Canada. International orders please add $5 for shipping.

    12 claimed

  • $50CAD
    PRE-OPENING: HOT CAT DATE

    A free visit for two BEFORE our grand opening! You and your date will get to experience Catfé before the public does. Includes two free beverages.

    41 claimed

  • $50CAD
    KIT-TEE BUNDLE

    What a deal for the Catfé enthusiast! With this perk you get a Catfé T-shirt and a pack of commemorative Catfé buttons and stickers, plus one free visit! Shipping included within Canada. International orders please add $10 for shipping.

    47 claimed

  • $65CAD
    POLYDACTYL PUNCH CARD

    Named after our six-toed kitty friends, this punch card grants you six free visits to Catfé. Includes a free coffee or tea on each visit. Transferable, so you can bring friends, or save the kitty visits all to yourself!

    38 claimed

  • $75CAD
    FIVE DAYS OF CAT SITTING

    Cat owners — get five days of cat sitting provided by Smitten Kitten Cat Sitting. Includes live-in (overnight) service and daily photo updates on the Smitten Kitten Facebook page: facebook.com/smittenkittencatsitting Use your days all in a row, or cash in as-needed. No expiry date. (Booking as far in advance as possible is recommended!) For more info email info@catfe.ca. Offer only available in the Lower Mainland. Pet sitting also available for dogs!

    11 claimed

  • $100CAD
    PRE-OPENING: DOUBLE DATE

    A free visit for four BEFORE our grand opening! You and your date will get to experience Catfé before the public does. Includes four free beverages.

    7 claimed

  • $120CAD
    TEN DAYS OF CAT SITTING

    What a deal for cat owners at $12 per day — get ten days of cat sitting provided by Smitten Kitten Cat Sitting! Includes live-in (overnight) service and daily photo updates on the Smitten Kitten Facebook page: facebook.com/smittenkittencatsitting Use your days all in a row, or cash in as-needed. No expiry date. (Booking as far in advance as possible is recommended!) For more info email info@catfe.ca. Offer only available in the Lower Mainland. Pet sitting also available for dogs!

    20 claimed

  • $150CAD
    PA-PURR-AZZI

    Book a one-hour photo shoot with Michelle — specializing in pet portraits and food photography, but can also do events, product and head shots. See foodograph.ca and the PURRTRAIT gallery at on.fb.me/1hsjfvY You'll receive a gallery of high res digital images good for print and web. Offer only available in the Lower Mainland.

    2 claimed

  • $500CAD
    PURRMANENT SPONSOR

    The ideal perk for businesses who want to reach a captive audience of cat lovers — your logo, photo, or a design of your choice imprinted on a plaque on our sponsor wall of honour. The plaques are in the shape of cats’ heads (the shape from the Catfé logo) — submit your info, logo, photo — even a short message — and we will help with a unique design for your plaque, purrmanently placed on our wall of honour.

    6 claimed

  • $500CAD
    PRIVATE PURRTY

    Book the whole space for an entire evening or afternoon for a private party for you and your friends (up to twelve people)!

    0 claimed

  • $5,000CAD
    LIFETIME MEMBERSHIP

    Free unlimited visits FOR LIFE! You also get a a plaque on our sponsor wall of honour (see PURRMANENT SPONSOR perk), and a Catfé T-shirt, calendar, buttons and stickers.

    0 out of 10 claimed

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