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Happy Cat Cafe encourages visitors to socialize with cats up for adoption

The Happy Cat Cafe is a place where anyone is able to eat with and be around cats. Customers can pet the cats and also have the option of adopting one.

/Annelyse Underhill

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If you’re a cat person, then you may just want to consider paying a visit to Kati Palmurkar’s Happy Cat Cafe in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Being the first official cat cafe in Michigan, the Happy Cat Cafe is a popular feline-themed hangout spots in the state. The Cafe on 447 Division Ave S allows customers to spend time with cats they can then choose to adopt. This unique environment provides cats and coffee for those who enjoy the company of cats.

The cafe was founded August 17, 2017. Other cafes, based on the wildly successful cat cafes in Japan, have been popping up worldwide since the trend started in the 1990s.

“There were none in the United States at that time and then I saw that Cat Town in Oakland, California and Meow Parlour in New York City were about to open and I was like, "We should do that in Grand Rapids,” says Palmurkar.

The Happy Cat Cafe is a place where anyone is able to eat with and be around cats. Customers can pet the cats and also have the option of adopting one. Going to the cafe provides a feeling of relaxation. Since the cats are up for adoption, the interactions the cats have with humans allows them to be more positive and happy.

“Cats have a really positive effect on people’s mental and physical health,” Palmurkar says, “But for the cats what the humans are offering is socialization.”

Even if they can’t commit to adopting, the cafe allows people and cats to interact in a mutually beneficial arrangement.

“I had a great time at the Happy Cat Café. The cat room is fantastic; the cats have plenty of toys, beds, companionship, and they all basked in the hot sun that came in through the large windows. I was happy to see the cats were all happy and well cared for until they can find their fur-ever homes,” says Samantha Welton, a satisfied customer. Currently, with 4.6 out of 5 stars on Google reviews, it appears she is one of many satisfied customers.

Looking through the reviews, you’ll find mostly 5 out of 5 stars, with negative reviews few and far between, and all centered mostly around confusion. The issues expressed are mostly to do with the food and drink situation, people dissatisfied with the pre-packaged snacks and self serve drinks, as they don’t feel like that fits in a cafe. However, these are explained in the website, and the cafe welcomes outside food and drink as they don’t have a food service license yet.

Within the time span of little over a year, the Happy Cat Cafe has already built up a successful business that brings in many customers resulting in numerous adoptions. It is slowly growing into something significant that will bring more to the community.

“By just coming in and petting [cats] you’re actually helping them get adopted,” says Palmurkar


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