How to Be a Cat Lady in a Dog City
As I walked my five-minute commute from 10 Hanover to 56 Broadway, I decided to count each dog I passed along the way. Today’s tally: twenty-three. TWENTY-THREE. Don’t get me wrong, I like dogs. But the fact of the matter is, my heart belongs to the household pets that just don’t get out too much. You guessed it: cats. So how is a girl like me supposed to celebrate her beloved species in a city of dogs? In theory, I could sit outside Taylor Swift’s apartment and hope for a glimpse of her celeb-kitties, Meredith and Olivia. I could even throw pebbles Romeo-and-Juliet-style at all the windows with cat castles in them. Not that I’ve tried any of these methods—cough, cough—but apparently they fall outside the boundaries of what's socially acceptable. Luckily, the city offers great opportunities for cat lovers to get their feline fix. Cat Cafes
Last January, New York City opened up its first cat café in Chinatown, The Meow Parlour. At this dog-free destination, guests are greeted by cats of all breeds and ages from the adoption agency Kitty Kind. At the beginning of this season, the parlour announced the successful adoption of 50 new cats to welcome aboard. The Meow Parlour serves as a lounge where humans can kick back and relax, get work done, or play board games with the four-legged tenants. “When you walk into this different world, you leave all your anxieties at the door. There’s nothing like a couple of hours with furry animals to make you forget about all the homework and tests you have that week,” said Addison Huntington-Bugg, a sophomore at The King's College. The cafe menu offers coffee, tea and kitty-themed macaroons which are prepared in a nearby café and served by friendly front-desk staff. Yoga classes are also available this season, where guests can experience the thrill of doing a downward-facing dog—with a cat. Reservations can be made at meowparlour.com.
This September the Lower East side welcomed NYC’s second cat café, Koneko. This particular cat sanctuary derives its name from the Japanese word for “kitten." Founder Benjamin Kalb states on the company website, “We take our inspiration from cat cafés in Japan, where the concept has flourished...and now Koneko is America's first authentic Japanese-style cat café.” Koneko’s partner Anjellicle Cats Rescue exclusively takes in cats who are at risk of euthanization in city shelters. These cats are content to play or nap while guests enjoy an artisanal meal from the café menu. Reservations can be made at konekonyc.com
This past August, The Museum of the Moving Image opened its newest exhibit, How Cats Took Over the Internet, to the public. From now through January 31, MOMI visitors can discover how the appeal of cats doing random things has created a culture that celebrates cuteness. Internet users contribute daily to an enormous circuit of cat-related content which includes millions of videos focusing on cute, weird, and unexplainable cat behavior. The exhibit turns back the clock to the early 20th century when cats emerged in advertising, and spans all the way to the era of the "caturday" hashtag and the “Grumpy Cat” phenomenon. In conjunction with the exhibit, free in-studio activities are offered on Saturdays. Visitors can create their own media projects such as their very own cat celebrity—which is obviously a must. More information can be found at movingimage.us.
In conclusion, I urge fellow cat lovers to stop replaying that kitten gif and begging Mom to set up a Facetime date with the cats back home (once again, something that I have never done before.) There are opportunities within reach to escape this dog-eat-dog city—if you're willing to run the risk of a little cat-scratch fever.