By Jawad Hossain
A Kitten Kadoodle Coffee Cafe is set to open in Selden in June, making it the second cat café, a place where free roaming cats can be watched and played with, on Long Island.
The owner of A Kitten Kadoodle Coffee Cafe, Jennifer Rose Sinz, is a web and graphic designer who has many animals including 12 cats, six ducks, and four chickens at her Lake Ronkonkoma house.
“I wanted a place that was smack in the middle of Long Island, where many people live, so that people don’t have to go all the way to New York City,” Sinz said.
The world’s first cat café opened in Taipei, Taiwan in 1998. It gave young people a chance to wind down after a hectic day, but it really took off when they opened one up in Japan in 2004. The first permanent one in the United States opened a decade later in 2014 in San Francisco.
The cafe will serve vegan and vegetarian food, the only place in a 15-mile radius, Sinz said. She plans to have 20 cats at a time living at the cat cafe. People will be able to hang out with the cats for up to three hours by making just a $2 donation.
“This business is family-oriented, and it is not a competition. The three things I want to accomplish is to educate people on cats, have them relax, and get cats adopted,” she said.
“A cat cafe is basically a big foster home for homeless cats,” Ryan Shea, the owner of Shabby Tabby, another cat café on Long Island, said… “[It is] A place where they can roam free, interact with each other, spend some time with us humans, and just live a happier life while waiting for their furrever homes.”
After a Kickstarter campaign that launched in May 2018 which raised $30,000 in 45 days for the renovation of the space at 249 W Main Street in Sayville, Shea, a nurse at Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, was able to open the first cat cafe on Long Island.
Opening the cafe will help reduce the overcrowding of homeless cats at local shelters. Shea became involved in cat rescue after her cat died and she saw how many cats needed help on Long Island.
Over 94 million domestic cats live in the United States in approximately 47 million households according to the 2017-2018 American Pet Products Association National Pet Owners Survey.
Between 60 and 100 million domestic cats are homeless in the US, a 2014 study published by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) shows.
“It’s difficult to find out what cats find rewarding. They like being petted and are receptive to positive reinforcement.” Lindsay Mehrkam, an assistant psychology professor at Monmouth University and principal investigator of the Human-Animal Wellness Collaboratory (HAWC) said. “The main limitation on having cats participate in scientific studies is getting them motivated enough to solve problems.”
The Collaboratory examines evidence-based assessments and treatments in clinical psychology of nonhuman animals with the goal of improving their relationships with their human caretakers.
Cats calm humans during stressful situations such as interacting with new people and may be especially beneficial to people with social anxiety and serve as a sense of security, Kristyn Vitale, a postdoctoral scholar at Oregon State University who wrote her dissertation examining the influence of kitten training and socialization classes on the human-cat bond, says.
“Cat cafes are a great way for people to get to know a cat before deciding to adopt it,” Vitale said. “It may help reduce incompatibility between the cat and human and form a stronger cat-human bond which will hopefully retain cats in their homes for the entirety of their lives.”
The Shabby Tabby charges $15 per hour and fosters 10-15 cats at a time from their partner, the Golden Paw Society in Huntington Station, an exclusively charitable all volunteer-run organization that houses about 50 cats who have been rescued from other shelters that were going to euthanize them.
Sharing information is a key component of Shea’s vision with the goal of raising awareness, especially during kitten season.
“Cat mating season is approximately January through February and about two months later tons of kittens are born. To help secure the supplies they’ll need to care for new arrivals, and to recruit willing humans as foster families, The Shabby Tabby will host adorable fundraisers called kitten showers,” Shea said.