Cats have ruled over the Internet since as long as we can remember, but there’s a new trend battling it out for your cat-centric attention: cafes. But why can’t we have the best of both worlds? Cats are cute and fuzzy. Coffee is life. It’s the perfect pairing and Meow or Never has combined the two in an effort to bring Las Vegas its own cat cafe.
“The two things I love are coffee and cats,” Rhi Gladney, the founder and owner of Meow or Never, says. “I’m a huge cat lover and to start a nonprofit you need to love who you’re working for.”
Gladney has been working with animals and nonprofits for about two years and has always had a passion for animals. After graduation, she saw a need to help the homeless cats of Las Vegas. According to the Las Vegas Humane Society, there are currently more than 200,000 homeless cats in Clark County. Cat cafes work in helping those stray cats find their fur-ever home.
On November 11, Gladney hosted a pop-up cafe at Fergusons Downtown, teaming up with Forget Me Not Animal Sanctuary and the Churchill Foundation to help out local cats in need and to help raise awareness for Meow or Never’s funding campaign to open a brick-and-mortar.
The cafe included a list of fun, cat-themed delights such as meowmosas, and served pour-over coffee by Colorado River Coffee Roasters. Even the syrup was crafted by Gladney’s business partner, Ivy Evans. Cupcakes shaped like cats, doughnuts, cookies and vegan alternatives were also available.
Popular in Japan, cat cafes are slowing gaining traction in the U.S. such as Cat Town in Oakland, California, where Gladney visited and fell in love with the idea. The cafe has helped more than 1,700 cats through their foster program and cage-free adoption center since its start in 2011.
“Cats miss out on that socialization,” Gladney says. “But when people come to the cafe, they get to play with the cats and the cats get that interaction.”
Gladney points out that dogs tend to get a lot of attention and volunteers in shelters. Cats, however, miss out on that human interaction and are more likely to get euthanized, according to statistics by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Cat cafes are an interactive way to help out with both problems.
“We still have a ways to go,” Gladney says.
All the proceeds from the pop-up went toward opening the cafe. Currently Meow or Never has raised more than $3,000 on Generosity, only 7 percent of its total goal of $50,000. The owners are hoping to bolster more funds through exciting events such as the pop-up cat cafe.
Photos by Krystal Ramirez