Neko Ngeru, Wellington’s first cat café, is due to open this weekend and will also be offering an adoption service. Owners Richelle and Ken Okada met in Japan while working as teachers and are bringing the popular Japanese concept to the capital, following on from the success of similar cafes in Auckland.
"While working for animal rescue groups in Shanghai, Ken realised that animals need to be seen to be adopted," said Richelle. "He thought that a cat cafe would be a good place for people to get to know adoptable cats."
The pair have partnered with local cat rescue services Outpawed and Wairarapa Community Kitties to supply the cats. There will be 20 cats in the café, with between 10 and 15 available for adoption for a fee of $100 after rigorous background checks.
"It's a good cause," she said. "The cats are all rescued and most are looking for a good, permanent home. We want to be part of the solution to Wellington's homeless cat population.”
While the Wellington café is set to open this weekend, a similar concept in Christchurch is struggling to get off the ground. Catnap was funded by a Kickstarter campaign in June which raised almost $30,000, but has since struggled to find a suitable site. The problem is finding a space where the cats are kept separate from the food preparation areas.