New cat cafe brings meow-ificent cuteness to NOLA, keeps attendees feline good

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New cat cafe brings meow-ificent cuteness to NOLA, keeps attendees feline good

Iman, aka princess thunder thighs, loves to sit on people’s laps while getting his chin scratched.

Iman, aka princess thunder thighs, loves to sit on people’s laps while getting his chin scratched.

Lily Milwit | Senior Staff Photographer

Iman, aka princess thunder thighs, loves to sit on people’s laps while getting his chin scratched.

Lily Milwit | Senior Staff Photographer

Lily Milwit | Senior Staff Photographer

Iman, aka princess thunder thighs, loves to sit on people’s laps while getting his chin scratched.

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There is a new go-to place for students hoping to unwind, shop around and grab a bite to eat on Magazine Street. Different from many Tulane go-to spots, this destination is serving up something extra purrfect to go along with your food: kittens and cats.

New Orleans’ newest Cat Cafe is located at the NO Fleas Market, a resale shop for home goods and clothes that donates a portion of its proceeds to animal shelters and rescues, including the Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

In partnership with NO Fleas Market, LA/SPCA has hosted three Cat Cafe events so far, with its most recent one on Nov. 16. For a $25 donation, cafe attendees can play with cats and kittens; shop the wide selection of clothes, books and home goods at NO Fleas Market; and enjoy delicious treats.

Guests receive a 10 percent discount on any NO Fleas Market merchandise purchased during the event. The event lasts two hours, giving cat lovers more than enough time to enjoy some one-on-one playtime and snuggle time with cats and kittens.

cat cafe

Lily Milwit | Senior Staff Photographer
Mickel poses for photo while resting in cafe visitor’s arms. Cat Cafe visitors are encouraged to play with cats and shop around the market.

While cafe attendees are typically encouraged to order food from Magazine Street restaurants to be delivered, the Nov. 16 event featured tacos, chips, guacamole and margaritas for guests 21 and older, all donated by Del Fuego Taqueria.

Guests are given their own tables and chairs, allowing them to sit and relax while cafe workers bring cats over to be played with. Customers are also welcome to wander to various kitten pods, where kittens play in an enclosed area. Visitors can also reserve their own private kitten pod for an additional $10.

For LA/SPCA Community Outreach Director Lori Haeuser, the events are fun for humans and cats alike.

“First of all, the kitties just have a blast … I think just seeing people being able to interact with them a little bit more, and then hopefully they get adopted. You know that’s the goal — maybe someone met someone that they’re maybe interested in adopting,” Haeuser said.

Anyone interested in adopting the cats can deduct their $25 donation from the price of the cat, but the LA/SPCA makes it clear on its website that “there is NO pressure to adopt during Cat Cafe.”

cat cafe

Lily Milwit | Senior Staff Photographer
Vladimir falls asleep while sitting up under a rack of clothing. Vladimir was one of several cats in attendance at the Nov. 16 Cat Cafe.

Cats featured at the event included Mickel, a calm, cool and collected black and white kitten who loved a good snuggle; Iman, a larger gray cat with piercing green eyes and chunky back legs whom the LA/PSCA staff lovingly call “Princess Thunder Thighs”; and Vladimir, a fluffy multicolored cat with serious cat-i-tude who loved being scratched under his chin almost as much as he loved sleeping while sitting up.

“It’s so much fun to introduce people to all the different personalities the cats can have,” Heather Casey, store manager for the NO Fleas Market, said. “When you don’t have a cat, you don’t always realize how closely bonded and different they can all be. They can be skittish at first and that’s everyone’s first introduction to cats is them walking away from you, but they’re so sweet here and you can really see the ability that you have to have a relationship with one.”

LA/SPCA offers a range of volunteer and internship opportunities for Tulane students looking to get involved in the organization. The organization also occasionally brings animals to Tulane’s campus, allowing students to pet their animals during events. Students looking to get involved with LA/SPCA are encouraged to reach out to the organization.

For students who miss their cats from home, everyday cat lovers or just people looking to de-stress and unwind, the LA/SPCA Cat Cafes are a meow-ificent destination. The next events will be held Dec. 14, Mar. 8 and May 17.