6 Questions With The Ultimate Cat Lady


Christina Ha didn’t have cats growing up. She also wasn’t a baker. But both of those things have changed. Early next month the publicist turned macaron baker plans to open New York’s first permanent cat café.

The new café, Meow Parlour, will celebrate her love of felines. And, because every good cat café needs cat-shaped macarons, there will be a Meow Parlour Pâtisserie across the street so that you can pick up a little something to bring with you the next time you visit Mr. Socks.

I sat down to chat with Ha recently in the East Village location of her cat-free bakery, Macaron Parlour.

Why did you decide to open the Meow Parlour?

It was in part because of the Japanese cat parlors. I tried to get into the New York City pop-up this past spring, but I couldn’t. I was the crazy lady standing outside the window looking in. But seeing all those people who loved cats, this is an awesome opportunity to see these cats get adopted and find forever homes. It’s fulfilling a need for individuals and it’s fulfilling a need for cats.

How will the Meow Parlour work?

There will be an opportunity to make reservations online, and an opportunity to walk in. But I don’t want to make people leave when their reservation is over because sometimes you just need to hug a cat for three hours. It’s designed so that we’re not taking too many appointments without it being at a capacity to overwhelm our cats.

We’re going to charge $8 an hour, and you can book time in half-hour increments. We’ll have room for 12 cats and a limit of about 20 people. The café will be closed on Wednesdays so that the cats can nap and take a break.

Most cat cafés don’t allow children inside, but ours will. We’ll have set times for children under 10 and their chaperones. We’re planning activities for the kids, since one of the best ways to engage a cat is to ignore it. We’ll have coloring, blowing bubbles, things that move, which cats are intrigued by.

Read the complete interview, originally published on Food & Wine Magazine.