Ever since SFist and Laughing Squid published word that KitTea, a cat cafe, will be coming to San Francisco, the story has since hit the national scene. Why, it even made a cameo in The Onion's American Voices this week (e.g., "Ever since my cat died, I have been looking to get back out there and mingle," Jackson Grant - Trolley Operator).
To find out more about KitTea, slated for a summer-fall opening in Hayes Valley or the Mission District, SFist talked to cafe co-founder Courtney Hatt for more details.
SFist: Just to get it out of the way is this a hoax? Hope you don't take offense to such a question. Just wanted to ask since some old-media types have tried suggestion as much. an you relief our fears of never stepping foot inside a cat cafe, please?!
Courtney Hatt: This is not a hoax. All of our cats will legitimately be refugees from the planet Melmac... (The very same planet the cat eating alien ALF is from.) Just kidding... Our team is completely on the ball and dedicated to bringing KitTea to San Francisco in the next 4 to 5 months. We are fine tuning every detail and making sure we get approvals and the correct city permits from all of the right places. This is our biggest hurdle, since even the city is slightly confused with what we will need, because the concept is foreign to most; however, everyone thus far has been really helpful and supportive.
SFist: How are you going about working with the health-related concerns?
Hatt: We will work closely with San Francisco's Food Safety Manager Kenny Wong. Kenny is the main guy who says yes or no to our endeavor. So far he has been very helpful and informative of what we'll need to do to succeed.
SFist: Do you have any funding behind KitTea? If so, can you tell us more?
Hatt: We will be launching a crowdfunding page on crowdtilt.com in the next week or so. Those who support our crowdfunding venture will benefit from all sorts of KitTea perks (e.g., reservations for the first two opening weeks, VIP KitTea event passes for the year, etc.) If our crowdfunding page is a total flop, however, we will go to plan B, which is investing more of our own money and hiring Puss in Boots from Shrek to bat his big adorable eyes at angel investors.
SFist: Do you have a specific neighborhood in mind for KitTea?
Hatt: We are going to begin negotiations for a space in Hayes Valley in the next week. We're also very interested in the Mission District. My personal vote is for Hayes Valley, but that's just because I am selfish and would love to walk to work everyday!
SFist: I am going to assume you do, but do you two have any pets of your own?
Hatt: I have three cats. Shadow is my all black cat I rescued from a shelter in Santa Monica, CA. I truly admire her spirit. She is always purring, loving, happy and completely relaxed! This is why she is the poster cat for KitTea and is featured as the background image on kitteasf.com and our Facebook page. Sophie is my first born and I adopted her in West Hollywood at a veterinarian clinic. She was one of many cats dwelling in the infamous Ambassador Hotel before it was demolished. My last and more recent addition to the family is Bindi, she is the youngest and most feisty of the three. I adopted her at the SFSPCA. She's a little fire ball and constantly makes me laugh.
David has two cats of his own, Oreo Cat and Kit Cat. They are both rescues and have lovely personalities. Oreo Cat is very curious and gregarious, while Kit Cat has a much softer and very sweet way about her.
SFist: How long have you and David Braginsky lived in San Francisco?
Hatt: I moved to San Francisco in May of 2010 from Seattle, WA and David has lived in San Francisco for the past 3 years.
SFist: And finally, will ALF make an appearance at KitTea?
Hatt: ALF is welcome to visit KitTea, but he will be very closely monitored. We'll need to have a SWAT team ready to pounce if he starts acting suspicious.