Inside the Meow Parlour cat cafe in New York City

Back in December, I wrote about going to the first official cat cafe in New York City as being one of the things on my to do list when I visited home. This past May, I finally made it there…for about half an hour.

I thought I would want to stay for hours. But I didn’t. The cats were beautiful and cute enough, but it just didn’t feel like the cat cafe that I’ve been waiting for. (And maybe this cat feels the same way).

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Cat looking out at Meow Parlour in NYC

The cats

All of the cats are up for adoption and looked really healthy, which is great! They had 2 binders jammed full with information about the cats and you could browse the wall that also included info on what types of personalities each of the cats had. There were plenty of toys and playthings.

Inside

The seating and play area itself, though, was really small. The seating was either high stools, or low cushions on the ground, which made it a little awkward to transition from if you got something to eat or drink. We didn’t get anything to drink, but did order a few baked goods that were made at the sister bakery around the corner. The problem was that if you didn’t physically go over to look at them, you didn’t know how big things were. I ordered a cat shaped cookie (see below) and it turned out to be smaller than I expected. It was about 2 inches in width, and very thin. I can’t believe I paid so much for it, even though the flavor was an interesting one.

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Interesting flavor, but not worth the $2! This was tiny!

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The overall experience

I wouldn’t recommend expecting much of a cafe experience here. If you like to cat-watch, then you’ll have a good time. Considering that it seemd many of the cats couldn’t care less that you were there, plus the people to cats ratio in a small space, the experience didn’t really impress me. It started to feel crowded inside, so my sister and I ended up mostly hanging out by the front with one or two cats who didn’t really care for us all that much.

I know cats aren’t always friendly and up for playing, but I was hoping for more. The seating area could be better laid out, even though it is small. I’m not claustrophobic, but I was starting to feel that way just by looking at how many people were in the back trying to play with cats. I would suggest getting rid of the high tables and stools, and just making it one big play area. It’s not much of a cafe, and that’s ok. They should refocus and just do one thing really well if they can’t do both!

If you’re interested, you can book your first half hour slot online with their booking system and then pay more depending on how long you stay. In the end, Meow Parlour is really just a Manhattan sized space to hang out with cats who may or may not be interested in hanging out with you.

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Cat towers over buildings!

  • Nat

    That sounds a bit disappointing, but I totally understand the feeling. Cats can be very aloof and unexcited about people in general, and just imagine how much more so they can become when people are trying to play with them all day long! I like an open cafe atmosphere better than one without any idea of being a cafe, though–the cat cafe I went to in Tokyo had nice, low tables everywhere so that you could eat/drink and cats could easily come up to you while you did so. Putting people up on high stools totally separates them from cats walking around on the ground, which is dumb. (Also, you didn’t have to get up to order anything; waitresses, who were also the cat wranglers (so to speak), came out and took your order at your table, which made things a lot more convenient.

    • I was wondering how quick the turnover was for the cats there. I also think they are probably bored of such a tiny space, so they would have to rotate them or keep giving more toys. I think the stools and high tables might have been a health regulation thing, but can’t be sure. That one in Tokyo sounds nice. I’ll have to go to a proper cat cafe the next time I’m in Japan!

    • I was wondering how quick the turnover was for the cats there. I also think they are probably bored of such a tiny space, so they would have to rotate them or keep giving more toys. I think the stools and high tables might have been a health regulation thing, but can’t be sure. That one in Tokyo sounds nice. I’ll have to go to a proper cat cafe the next time I’m in Japan!