By Amanda Cooney
Do you know what New York City, Tokyo, Montreal, Portland, Denver, and now [potentially] Pittsburgh have in common? Cat Cafés. What?! Yes, a cat café could be coming to the ‘Burgh.
From the minds of two kitty-loving Pittsburgh grads, Black Cat Market is almost ready to be a reality. With a goal of $20,000 – which will go towards startup supplies, initial rent and utilities, space renovations, and more – Olivia Ciotoli and Indigo Baloch have rallied up over $15,000 on Kickstarter. But with 15 days left, they really need your help! If they don’t meet their goal, they won’t get any funding.
The first cat café was opened in Taiwan in 1998. Since then they have spread throughout Asia and Europe and more recently, the western hemisphere. Olivia and Indigo, being self-proclaimed “cat ladies”, talked about visiting one but eventually decided to open their own! “As time went on and we were discussing our futures, one of us joked ‘Why don't we just open a cat cafe?’ Then we realized that we actually had the capability to do so, we just had to start planning” says Olivia. “We wanted to open a cat cafe in Pittsburgh because this city is very close to our hearts, and it's something that just isn't available here yet.”
The shop, which they are looking to open in Lawrenceville, Bloomfield, or Regent Square in the fall of 2016, will allow guests to consume coffee, tea, baked goods, etc. and socialize with adoptable cats from the Animal Rescue League. The partnership between ARL and Black Cat Market began as soon as they started planning. Outside adoptions director, Rob Strom, was thrilled with the idea and has been assisting with planning ever since. They are working to design a cat-friendly play space that will be separated from the serving area. Customers can play and interact with these cats and, if they choose to, apply to adopt on the spot, which is the ultimate goal. Black Cat Market will also serve as a community space where people can gather for a variety of events including book clubs, art shows, cat yoga, and more!
Interested? Of course you are. Visit blackcatmarket.com to learn more and be sure to back their Kickstarter campaign before Thursday June 2nd at 9:30 AM. You can also follow them on Twitter @BlackCatMartPGH and like them on Facebook.