Hamilton to get its first cat cafe

Hamilton is getting its first cat cafe. It's coming this summer, it will be 'downtown-ish' and will start with five rescue cats living in the shop.

First cat cafe in Hamilton to feature feline rescues and community caterers

Hamilton will have its first cat cafe soon, called Cats and Caffeine. Nicole Tello, the owner, says it'll likely open this summer. (@catsandcaffeine.hamilton/Instagram)

Hamilton's first cat cafe is expected to open this summer — with rescued cats ready for your attention.

Nicole Tello, who owns Cats & Caffeine, said she's working with Neveah's Charity of West Lincoln Cat Rescue to use the space as a foster home for cats.

They're working to finalize on whether there will be adoption papers on site.

"To me, the alternative versus a rescue is taking cats that people privately own," she told CBC News, and the cats would need to be moved back and forth.

She thought, "why not have a rescue associated with this cafe to better the social skills of the other cats?"

So far the goal is to have five cats in the space when she opens, but "if we can comfortably fit more than five, then we will," she said.

There are a number of cat cafes across the country.

The Regal Cat Cafe in Kensington holds cat yoga classes multiple times a week, offering Calgarians a more playful spin on the practice, says cafe owner Tia Wieler. (Mike Symington/CBC)

Community events

Tello recognizes there may be issues with preparing and selling food in a space with animals. She said she definitely doesn't want to run into issues like a pet-friendly cafe in Hamilton called Munchie's Bakery.

"To avoid a hassle, I'm getting all my food catered in," she said.

Baked goods, snacks and drinks will be brought in from local businesses. The Hearty Hooligan, located on Ottawa Street, is one of them. The cafe will also be home to merchandise sold by local artists and entrepreneurs.

Tello said she wants to promote local businesses through the cafe and to establish "a sense of community."

She won't be taking much in profit, but will try to give "time, services and money back to the community" whenever possible — such as hosting low-cost or free events in the space.

Customer regular, Caroline Renaud hangs out with her friends at Café Chat l'Heureux in Montreal. (Caroline Renaud)

Funds needed

Leading up to an anticipated summer grand opening, Tello is holding a series of fundraising events in order to fund the cat cafe. She's using all her savings, she said, but still needs $10,000.

"It's understandably hard for people to give money," she said, so that's why she's hoping some of these events can be incentives for people to give.

The reason she's also keeping quiet about the cafe location is there may be a fundraising event tied to it when they're almost ready to open.

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