Thursday, April 24th, 2014
5

This Is Catsploitation

_DSC5984 Taibi Mastelbowers, an artist, babysitter and retail worker, was one of many waiting in line this morning for the opening of North America's first pop-up cat café, a month-long marketing event for Purina One cat food. Mastelbowers who has two cats, Neferkitti and Inkling, said she's not allowed to bring any more home. "I love cats. I love to hang out with cats. I've already had a coffee today, but I always need kitty cuddle time."

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Natalie McMullen is a street photographer, culture critic and food writer. She is an archivist of the resonant, a nerdy polisher of words, and a lifelong scholar on love and relationships. She is currently resident photographer at The Awl.

5 Comments / Post A Comment

Multiphasic (#411)

Do you have some weird radar for medical students, or were there just a ridiculous number of them in attendance?

KarenUhOh (#19)

Why aren't there any cats in line?

Ralph Haygood (#13,154)

@KarenUhOh: People need cats more than cats need people. We work for them, you know, not vice versa.

MWnyc (#271,459)

Folks, here's a report, and a warning (if not a surprise) from the first day:
I was there for the first day the Cat Cafe was open to the public. That is, I was sort of there: I arrived at 3:30 pm to find a very long line, and I waited in that line until 6:45, at which point staffers came out to tell us that we wouldn't get in that day. Thank God I had a good book with me.
I wasn't at all surprised that there was a long line (that's why I brought the book). Astonishingly, the people running the Cat Cafe were surprised (Or so the staffers who turned us away told me, and I believe them, based on the haphazard way they managed the line.)
A new (to NYC) and unique event, held in Manhattan, running for a limited time, and picked up widely (and excitedly) by the media – of course there would be a line. How could the people running this thing not have anticipated that?
(Those of us turned away were given "VIP cards" that, we were told, would allow us to go to the front of the line on a subsequent day, but I'm not sure I trust them to honor that promise.)
The crowds will almost certainly be bigger on Friday, Saturday and Sunday than they were on a Thursday, so be prepared, folks.

By the way, I did at least get to look in the windows for a couple of hours – and honestly, the cats didn't seem all that thrilled about being pestered by revolving bunches of strangers, not all of whom are good with handling cats. None of them seemed at all hostile, but none looked particularly gregarious, either. They mostly seemed ready to ignore or screen out whatever stimuli were more than they could process.

Ralph Haygood (#13,154)

@MWnyc: I've never known a cat that seemed really comfortable in a large group of unfamiliar people. Presumably, this isn't a problem in places where cat cafes are around all the time and therefore don't attract huge crowds.

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