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LA's First Cat Cafe Seeking $350k via Kickstarter

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Matthew Kang is the Lead Editor of Eater LA. He has covered dining, restaurants, food culture, and nightlife in Los Angeles since 2008. He's the host of K-Town, a YouTube series covering Korean food in America, and has been featured in Netflix's Street Food show.

Southern California already has a bathroom-themed restaurant, so why not cats, coffee, and bubble tea? That's the recipe Carlos Wong is hoping will capture the hearts of Angelenos through a Kickstarter campaign for Cat Cafe. Yes, a cat-themed cafe. Seeking $350,000, Wong claims he's already inquired with the county health department to verify the legality of having cats and beverages on the same premises. Says Wong, "People [get to] come in to get a warm drink, a snack, and spend some quality time with furry little friends." Although Wong hasn't picked a location, one he acquires the funds he plans to open within six months.

"The happiness of the cats is our number one priority," as Wong says they'll be drawing the animals from shelters and promoting adoptions. Thusly, he plans to ask for help from local non-profits.

Funds would go to licensing, permit fees, rent, and operations for the first few months, though according to LA Weekly, Wong hopes to become financial self-sufficient within the first year. That's a tough calling for any food business, not just one depending on a specific gimmick like this. In terms of achieving the proper health permits, employees must be cordoned off from the food prep station, while a clear division between service areas and cat quarters will ensure a sanitary environment.

The Kickstarter campaign ends March 31, giving supporters 33 days to make coffee and cats a reality. Contributors could receive anything from early entrance (along with tea and pastries) to becoming immortalized by having a named drink. The idea of cat cafes comes from Tokyo, where space and lifestyle constraints often prevent people from owning animals. The first such cafe in the U.S. is slated to open in San Francisco.
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