Raleigh’s first cat cafe finds home

May 21, 2019

More than two years after a crowdfunding campaign, a Raleigh couple has announced a location for the city’s first cat cafe.

Purr Cup Cafe will be located on Prospect Avenue, a few minutes from downtown Raleigh, Sarah Newton and Arthur Hailey announced via social media on Monday.

“Finding our space was a challenging adventure, and we are so excited to get in there and make it our own. Hope to see you there in late summer/early fall,” the couple wrote.

Cat cafes originated in Taiwan in the late 1990s as a way for people to enjoy hot beverages and interact with cats. Patrons can sit and drink beverages while looking at the cats in the opposite room or pay to reserve time in the cat room. The concept has expanded throughout Asia and Europe, first reaching North America a few years ago.

The first permanent cat cafe in the United States, Cat Town Cafe, opened in 2014 in Oakland, Calif.

After retiring as a dancer with the Carolina Ballet in 2016, Newton started work at downtown Raleigh bakery and coffee shop Lucettegrace. She hoped working in the food service industry would get her ready to one day open her own cat cafe.

After some research and visits to cat cafes across the United States, she decided that 2017 would be the year of the cat. She and Hailey, who have four cats of their own, began researching locations in downtown Raleigh.

Another cat cafe, Cat Tales Cat Cafe, opened earlier this year on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill.

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