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Buffalo kitty lovers rejoice: Here come the cat cafés

Cat lovers, rejoice: cat cafés are coming to Buffalo.

That's right: two places are opening to serve people who think coffee tastes better with a purring kitty on your lap.

Buckminster's Cat Café, 577 Niagara St., and Purrfect Café and Gallery, 1507 Hertel Ave., expect to open this year.

Cat cafés are two-part establishments, for sanitary reasons. Patrons can buy food and drink in the café section, and sit there and scope the kitties. Or they can pay an additional fee and bring it with them into the cat habitat.

There, cats from an animal rescue outfit will be doing cat things. Customers who fall in kitty love may, in certain cases, be able to adopt their favorite cat after the usual vetting and fees. Cat cafes are not places to bring your own cat, however.

One of Jessica Brandon's seven cats. (Purrfect Café and Gallery)

In late May, Jessica Brandon expects to open Purrfect on Hertel. Next to the cat area, viewable through a teaser window, will be a full restaurant with a light menu heavy on vegan and vegetarian options, plus beer and wine.

Brunch is coming to the restaurant, while the cat lounge will host sessions of cat yoga, and installations from local artists that will include works customers can buy.

Brandon fell in love with cat cafés in Europe, traveling after surviving cancer. She toured about a dozen before falling in love with one in Aberdeen, Scotland called A Cat in the Window Café. "It showed me what a cat café could be – clean, modern and comfortable – while others were kind of stuffy, more like crazy cat lady style."

She's a cat lady herself, minus the crazy, she said. Brandon has seven cats at home, after recently taking in a pregnant cat who added four kittens to her house.

She will be partnering with Ten Lives Club, a Blasdell-based rescue outfit, and expects to charge about $5 an hour to visit the kitties.

Buckminster's, named after a cat whose Instagram account has more than 10,000 followers, plans to open this fall. Owner Molly Hutton is working with designer Davidson Rafailidis and landlord Giles Kavanagh, the people who put stylish coffee shop Tipico together.

The front part will be a "proper coffee shop" put together with the assistance of Tipico's Jesse Crouse, Hutton said.

Ample windows will allow cat-gazing. Cat loungers can pay their fee – something in the $5-$8 range – and cuddle kitties. Hutton said she'll be partnering with a cat rescue group, and is in discussions with Second Chance Sheltering Network.

Wine will be available as well, along with a light food menu, with locally produced baked goods. The menu will probably expand after the business settles in, she said. Customers will be able to book time with cats online, she said.

Hutton invited interested people to follow progress on the cafe on Facebook.

The café is named after Buckminster, who she adopted from the Buffalo animal shelter five years ago. He's a mixed breed, she said, "nothing fancy." But 10,000 Internet people disagree.

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