After Japan, France, and London, enjoy your morning tea with adorable kittens in San Francisco! Courtney, the founder, tells us more about it!
You’re opening the first Cat café in San Francisco. How did you get the idea for KitTea?
I first got the idea while I was sitting at a very busy cafe. I was reading an article about cafe culture in Japan and while finding most of the cafes to be quite "unique" e.g. butler cafes, cuddle cafes, french maid cafes and so on... the concept of cat cafés clicked with me and made the most logical sense, at least to me...
I thought, "This could be both beneficial to cats and people alike". The cats could have a comfortable cat oasis to live in while waiting for their permanent home, and the people could relax in the company of cats and even adopt - thus making room for more cats to be rescued. After researching such a place in the United States without any luck, I suspected perhaps people had attempted, but didn’t get the "go ahead" from their city and food/safety program. So I began the long road to research and plan this concept in San Francisco, plus numerous meetings at city hall. Prior to starting my cat tea house adventure, I was incredibly stressed from working in startups and tech. I started having terrifying panic attacks and my own cats and a soothing cup of tea were my refuge. Therefore, leaving tech behind to starting a new life with cats and tea was a "no-brainer" transition for me. I really hope KitTea can start a revolution in our efforts to find homes for homeless animals and facilitate adoptions in a stress-free environment for both cats and people.
Can you tell us exactly what it would be like?
Close your eyes... take three deep breaths. Inhale for 4 seconds and exhale for 7 seconds... Now, envision yourself walking into a beautiful, zen tea room filled with exotic, fragrant, therapeutic and comforting blends of teas at your disposal. Learn about the tea selection from one of our tea experts and receive instructions on the proper way to steep and serve the tea of your choice. Each pot of tea and/or food item purchased allows you one hour to spend sipping and relaxing in our separate cat and human oasis space. You also have the option to stay in our tea service space for as long as you please. Both the tea service room and our cat and human oasis will be comfortable, clean, aesthetically pleasing and believe it or not, it will even smell nice. We plan to invest in one to two HVAC systems to create a space(s) with constant clean air coming through and old air being sucked out. This doesn’t just benefit our patrons nostrils, it is also incredibly important for the cats’ immune systems. .
Where will the cats come from? How many will there be? Are they up for adoption?
The cats will all come from our partnered rescue centers "Give Me Shelter" and "Wonder Cat Rescue". All of our cats will be up for adoption, which will be facilitated by our rescue groups. We plan to have up to 10, or 12 cats living at KitTea, with a limit of 20 people allowed in the cat and human oasis space at a time. This will keep the environment peaceful for everyone.
Do you have cats yourself? Can you tell us about them?
Our entire team has a minimum of two rescued cats living with them and I have three. Hannah Simon, our Community Manager, has Cleo and Oliver, David Braginsky, my co-founder, has Oreo Cat and Kit Cat, while I have Sophie, Shadow and Bindi. We are all massive softies when it comes to animals, especially cats.
What are your plans for the future?
My first priority is to make KitTea sustainable! Beyond that, I’d like to create other concepts and interactive ways to educate and strengthen the bond between humans and the animals that we share this planet with. I can also be found sewing, singing karaoke and doing a ridiculous amount of arts & crafts projects on the side.
Do you have a pet charity close to your heart?
In general, I give directly to local city shelters, or rescue centres. I also really love my local non-profit Wild Care. Wild Care focuses on rehabilitating injured animals in the wild, or giving them refuge if they are unable to go back into their natural habitat. I also support The Gorilla Foundation and I am truly in awe of Koko The Gorilla and what she has taught us on how empathy and feelings are not purely unique to humans. She has helped raise a blanket of ignorance, and plus she adores cats! Lastly, my hero since I was 11 years old has been Jane Goodall. I once handed her a $20 bill after listening to her speak and I told her nervously that we shared the same birthday. I am almost certain she thought I was awkward.
Who’s your favourite pet celeb?
It is pretty hard to choose just one! But, if I must choose, it will be Lil BUB, because she is a rescued cat and although she is delicate, she has a lot of spunk and spirit! Her owner Mike Bridavsky is also a massive supporter of animal rescues, with a major philanthropic edge tied to Lil BUB’s recent fame.
Photo credit : KitTea