Cats & Crumbs Lets You Play with Cats and Fill Your Tummy Too
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Pet and animal cafes are all the rage in Tokyo, Japan. They entice animal lovers to eat and play with animals that are staying in the coffee shops like cats, dogs, birds. The Philippines is catching up, with some coffee shops in Quezon City specially set up for that purpose – let customers play with in-house pets while having their meals or snacks.
In Marikina, the city’s first animal café – Cats & Crumbs – has 10 cats that are available for adoption. The cats can be played with while enjoying the coffee shop’s tasty offerings of light snacks -- mainly pasta and sandwiches -- such as grilled cheese and tomato sandwich, carbonara, kiddie spaghetti, creamy pesto and a lot more. It also serves coffee, tea, juice and desserts.
The owners, Swannie Lim and Joyce Abesames, are both animal lovers. Swannie adores cats and has a few in her home, while Joyce loves dogs.
The two friends, both married, also enjoy cooking and baking. So they decided to combine their passions and open up a pet café where cats from the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) are temporarily sheltered and can be played with and even be taken home for adoption after, of course, complying with the paper works.
“Cats & Crumbs is a café wherein guests can come in and enjoy great food and at the same time have a meaningful time with our rescued cats. Our rescued cats are all from PAWS and we have partnered with them so we can foster 10 of their cats at any given time,” said Swannie in an interview inside the coffee shop at C&B mall.
Cafe for Cat Lovers
Let us just be clear about it. Cats & Crumbs is not a cat hotel where you can leave your pets when you are going on a vacation. It is not also a veterinary clinic and both Swannie and Joyce are not veterinarians. Swannie is a BS Biology graduate who used to work in a pharmaceuticals firm, while Joyce has a degree in Industrial Management and used to work in a fast food chain.
The two friends are simply animal lovers who want a business that promotes a cause that will benefit the community.
“That’s the advocacy behind the business. We wanted to put up a business with a cause. We wanted a place where we can showcase our “pusang Pinoy” (“pusa” is the Filipino word for cat; “Pinoy” means Filipino) or the rescued cats. So that these cats would have more exposure and would have a higher probability of getting adopted,” Swannie said.
The coffee shop is divided into two spaces. One is a place where customers can have coffee and sandwiches (the dining area), then another one, an enclosed space with glass walls (like an aquarium) right next to the dining area, is where the 10 cats stay, play and rest. This is where the customers can play, talk and socialize with them.
The playroom where the cats are staying can be seen from the dining area because of the glass partition that separates them.
“We have a division here. Those who don’t like cats, they can just stay on the other side. And those who want to play with the cats, they can stay here,” said Swannie, explaining the set up.
The interview, by the way, took place inside the aquarium-like room where the 10 cats were staying, some were sleeping on the couch and on the floor, others were sitting on top of a shelf, and a few were hovering on our side, ready to be embraced or put in one’s arms. The room has a homey vibe to it, making customers feel more relaxed and comfortable.
The cats are cuddly cute, as most cats are, healthy and well taken care of. They are sociable and are used to being around people.
Bring Home a Cat
“Ang maganda rito, the cats are all domesticated cats. They were rehabilitated by the shelter. Dahil galing sila sa shelter, may complete vaccine at anti-rabies na,” said Joyce. “They are very sociable. Kasi ang normal behavior ng feral cats mailap. Hindi lumalapit sa tao dahil that’s how they protect themselves.”
The coffee shop has an entrance fee of P199. Of the amount, P100 is consumable, that is, customers can use it to buy food, drinks and the merchandise. The other P99 is the fee to play with the cats and is good for one hour. After an hour, if the customers still want to be with the cats, they have to pay P50 for every 30 minutes.
Since it opened in May 2017, 10 cats have already been adopted, Swannie said.
To adopt a cat, the process is pretty simple. The interested customers will be first interviewed by the owners of the coffee shop, then they have to go to the office of PAWS for another interview. Then PAWS will visit the home of the customers who are interested to adopt to check if these places are safe for cats. Once it’s all done, they pay P500 and the cats are theirs.
Customers can also hold special events at Cats & Crumbs like birthdays, anniversaries and any other special occasion. Customers can have the entire place for two-and-a-half hours for P4,800, of which the P2,400 is consumable. If the customers want to extend the party for another hour, they have to pay another P2,400. Up to 24 people can be accommodated in the place.
The coffee shop likewise hosts classes such as a drawing class, sign language class, crocheting class, among others, just to attract more customers and generate more business for the social enterprise that helps take care of the rescued cats -- feeding them, sheltering them, bringing them to the vet when they get sick until someone else gives them a permanent home.
Most of its customers are families who bring their children along so they can play with the cats, students who find the quiet place perfect for studying, and just about anyone who loves cats. Swannie said there are homes where pets are not allowed so the parents bring their kids here. There are even customers who find the coffee shop ideal for dating.
“May ibang customers ginagawang dating place ito. Masarap kasi mag-usap dito. Walang music. Very quiet. Very conducive for a conversation,” said Swannie.
So next time you crave for a coffee or tea or a spicy sardines sandwich, head off to Cats & Crumbs where you can enjoy a few hours with their lovable cats. Or simply sit on a chair, relish its silence and watch the cats at play.
Cats & Crumbs is at the 2/F Terrazza Phase 2 C&B Circle Mall, Liwasang Kalayaan Street, Marikina Heights in Marikina City. You can call them at 0945-442-7878 or check out its Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/catsandcrumbs/
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