‘We want the place to feel like home…’
The Cat Café on Whyte opened its doors last week much to the delight of Edmonton’s cat-loving elite.
The décor is inviting and the local felines are playful, however this new establishment has its sights set higher than being just a cat café.
Fei Xie, the owner and operator of Cat Café on Whyte, opened the new venture with his wife Vivian Deng. The two gained inspiration to open Edmonton’s first cat café after visiting the very first cat café in Taiwan several years ago. Returning home to Edmonton, the two decided to take the initial steps in opening a cat café of their own.
“We built everything from scratch and it took us a long time to plan,” says Xie.
The duo began working with the local government to ensure everything was up to code and it would be the best facility available for both the patrons and cats.
“We want the place to feel like home for those who visit,” says Xie.
The property was acquired nine months ago, yet the initial planning stages go as far back as three years. Once the details were finalized and the construction completed, the only matter left was acquiring the cats. This is where the Cat Café on Whyte goes above and beyond being just a place to sip a latte and play with a kitten.
All cats on the premises are available for adoption. This is done through the local rescue society SAFE Team. The specific goal of this organization is to rescue animals at risk of being euthanized and put them up for adoption to a suitable home.
Xie wants this to be one of the driving forces of the Cat Café on Whyte.
“We’re looking for two types of clientele, those who want to unwind and spend time with the cats after a long day, and those who are looking into serious adoption,” he says.
The café plans on this method being highly effective for those looking to adopt, since it allows patrons to spend time with the cats and actually get to know what their behaviour is like before any serious adoption takes place.
“There’s a surprisingly high turnover rate of adoption here in Edmonton, in a busy shelter you just don’t have time to interact with cats,” Xie says.
He hopes that by allowing people more time with the cats they’ll make a more informed decision.
The layout of Cat Café on Whyte is split into two areas, the café with hospitality staff serving refreshments to patrons, and the cat area. This area is facilitated with SAFE team members and staff who are trained to deal with the specific needs of the cats.
Customers can book one hour of play with the cats for $15, which includes a beverage, but only patrons over the age of ten are allowed in the cafe. In the future, Xie says there will be themed nights such as cat yoga and movie nights with the cats, and one day he even hopes to open a dog café.
Cat Café. on Whyte
10111 82 Ave.