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Second cat cafe in Singapore set to open in May

Mar 14, 2014 6:00 AM

THE cat is out of the bag: Barely three months after Singapore welcomed its first cat cafe, Neko no Niwa, on Boat Quay on Christmas Day, a second one is already in the pipeline.

To be run by former civil servant Candice Neo and her husband, The Cat Cafe is expected to open in early May in a Bugis Village shophouse. It will hold about 15 rescued stray cats.

The couple got the idea to start the cat cafe a year ago while visiting similar outfits in Taiwan and South Korea, and the project took six months to get off the ground. Unlike Neko no Niwa, which charges patrons $12 for the first hour and $5 per subsequent hour, The Cat Cafe will impose a flat per-entry fee of $15, with no limit on how long patrons linger. The first drink charge will be waived, and patrons can purchase additional barista-pulled coffee, canned drinks and pastries.

The 1,200-sq-ft space on the third floor can hold up to 40 people, and Ms Neo precisely chose the unit for its tranquillity despite the buzzing district's popularity among youth - the cafe's target demographic - and its accessibility by public transport.

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While the resident cats are not up for sale or adoption, potential adoptees will be linked up with The Cat Cafe's partner cat shelter, Kitty Care Heaven. To defray the costs of vaccinating the incoming cats and the expected $50,000 renovation bill, Ms Neo is running a campaign on the crowdfunding site Indiegogo until the end of March. Of the couple's $19,000 fund-raising target, they have about $1,600 in the kitty.

"From the popularity of Neko no Niwa and the word of mouth publicity we've gotten so far, you can tell that Singaporeans really do love their cats," observes Ms Neo, 26. The Cat Cafe's Facebook page has garnered close to 6,000 likes, while the 25-capacity Neko no Niwa's Facebook page has 14,000 followers. Neko no Niwa is often fully booked on weekends.

"We welcome friendly competition and the market is definitely big enough for one more cat cafe," says Neko no Niwa's owner Tan Sue-Lynn, adding that the concept is so new here that it is hard to predict its saturation point. "The difference between cat cafes largely lies in the personality of their cats, and the chemistry that customers have with each of them, so we're not exactly offering the same thing."

The Cat Cafe will open in early May at Level 3, 241 B Victoria Street. For more information, head to thecatcafe.sg

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