By ALMA J. BUELVA
A kawaii inspired cat shelter is raring to open soon to give people a happier way to experience cat adoption.
Animal shelters usually look dull and dreary but Tea Pawty, a brainchild of Razel Ann Pabalan and Justine Chantelle Abad, will be a happy place full of kawaii items and "cute" vibes.
Their original plan was to open a cat café with rescued cats for adoption, but that would be chasing their dream in reverse. Because their foremost goal is to help cats in need, the ladies tweaked their plan and are now looking forward to open a cat shelter with café on the side!
In addition, the two designers (Razel is an interior designer while Justine is a fashion designer) wish to bring the kawaii lifestyle to their cat shelter by inviting other local kawaii artists to sell their handmade cat products at Tea Pawty.
“Tea Pawty is going to be a shelter than a cat cafe. We will cater to rescue cats and visitors can adopt them and support our operation by buying kawaii items consigned to us,” said Razel.
“One of our goals is to help small local kawaii artists showcase their works especially those who have no means to do it alone. Partner artists will donate 30 percent of their sale to Tea Pawty,” added Razel.
To get the “pawty” started, the ladies have populated Tea Pawty's range of products with their own special creations, plus items from their initial partner artists as well as those they buy from third parties.
Justine runs Dorotee Sweetlips which makes Lolita-inspired dresses, hats and other fashion items. She also creates a special line of cat clothes for Tea Pawty.
Razel creates whimsical and kawaii cold porcelain clay accessories under her brand, Spring Marionette. She said she also plans to create items like cat bookends and cat condos.
“The shelter should be self-sustaining because it's hard to rely on donations only. That is why we have to sell items, preferably local kawaii-themed handmade goods. By doing that, we can also help artists like us to sell their creations,” said Justine.
At present, Tea Pawty uses its Facebook page to market its products which are sold at very friendly prices. They accept made-to-order items which would take at least additional two days processing. Items coming from Razel's end in Laguna require an additional shipping fee of P80 to Metro Manila and P90 to provincial areas. If the order will be fulfilled by Justin who is based in Manila, the shipping fee is only P50. Tea Pawty accepts payments via Bank of Philippine Islands and LBC.
Tea Pawty is active in Etsy, an e-commerce website mostly focused on handmade or vintage items. Razel said they have had local buyers as well as customers from the US who bought Tea Pawty items.
Meanwhile, the two ladies have been helping stray cats find forever homes while saving up to build their cat shelter since 2014. Razel said they have raised enough to rent a space and open Tea Pawty, most likely in Pasay City where it will be closer for both of them.
Later, TeaPawty also plans to hold cat-related workshops to raise funds for their future resident cats. They said they want to tap more artists from the local kawaii and cosplay communities and to participate in more conventions and expos to increase Tea Pawty's circle of friends and supporters.
THE adopted cats from Cat Cafe Manila met once again over the weekend for their first “catlumni” homecoming for Christmas.
To date, the all-rescue, all-Puspin cat cafe has rehomed four of its cats, namely: Shelly, Bicco, Oreo and Ling-ling. Only Shelly was absent for the small gathering at the cafe, which was also attended by the cats' adoptive parents and representatives from CARA Welfare Philippines.
Denis Ty of Cat Cafe Manila thanked everyone who attended and happily hosted the unique reunion, which allowed everyone to share stories about the new furry members of their families.
The adopted cats were a little aloof again at first, but started to come around before the party was over.
Currently, Cat Cafe Manila features 14 Puspin cats from CARA. It is part of their “catvocacy” to find a forever loving home for some of their cats to make room for other cats at the cafe.
By ALMA J. BUELVA
GRIN like a Cheshire cat, Cat Cafe Manila is now open!
After months of careful planning and thoughtful work, the people behind this second of its kind cat cafe in Metro Manila have built a beautiful shop for the comfort and enjoyment of their resident cats and guests alike.
The 36-sqm cat-themed coffee shop features a well-designed haven and playground for its first batch of cats – all of which are rescued domestic cats or Puspin (Pusang Pinoy) from CARA Welfare Philippines.
Owners Anna Calvo and Denis Ty have made a conscious decision to first support the local cat community, especially those that were once strays, as part of their “catvocacy”.
“Our priority is to promote animal welfare, cat equality and breed equality,” said Denis during a first exclusive interview with MetroPets. “We are open to having other breeds of cats in the future but, for now, our focus is featuring the rescue cats that can be put up for adoption,” he added.
Denis is positive that an all-Puspin cat cafe can attract people to visit because the “Puspins are also pretty and lovable,” he said.
“Having Puspins at home and then meeting them in a coffee shop setting is different especially in terms of ambience...Our cats are also well-behaved and trained not to go to the counter and break things,” he added.
As cozy and pretty as it is, Cat Cafe Manila is still in its soft opening phase. But its cats – Bicco, Mama Cat, Oreo, Trigger, LingLing, Shairah, Chaka, Monching, and Sasha – have happily settled in and are ready to meet new friends.
Cat Cafe Manila is at the second floor of a commercial building at 189 Maginhawa St., Sikatuna Village in Quezon City. Denis said after considering other locations, they decided to put up shop in the area which is popular among the young, hip and adventurous crowd who love to eat. The general vibe of the neighborhood fits Cat Cafe Manila's desire to be part of a big community receptive to animal welfare events and causes.
The cafe is open from 12:00 noon to 9:00 pm from Tuesday to Sunday. It has an occupancy limit of 15 persons per hour, and each guest has to pay the P200 admission fee. “Half of the amount will go to our cats for their food, litter and medical expenses, while the other P100 guests can use to partly pay for drinks, food or goods,” explained Denis.
Patrons are encouraged to visit the cafe's website to make reservations. Denis said they immediately sold out their tickets during their soft opening dates. Guests should expect to sign a waiver form and must follow the cafe's set of 10 house rules designed for the protection of both cats and humans.
A veterinarian from CARA is scheduled to check on the cats once a month. As an added security, the cafe has installed a Closed Circuit TV so they could keep an eye on the cats all the time.
For now, Cat Cafe Manila has one full-time barista, an all-around staff and two “cat ambassadors” who will be on hand to assist customers and ensure the safety of cats, so everybody will have a good experience. As it happens, the cat ambassadors' names are Katrina and Kathrina, which follow the cafe's cat theme.
Aside from the endearing Puspins, the cafe's thoughtful interior design, carried out with the cats in mind, is also an attraction in itself. The centerpiece is a wall made of wooden pallets that holds movable cat furniture from Kittytektura and serves as cat ladder, too.
They also have customized cat furniture such as small houses, a connecting cat bridge that runs across the ceiling, and a cat wheel that actually moves to provide the cats some entertainment and exercise. They also accessorized the place with cat-inspired items from coffee cups to cabinet and door knobs.
Eventually, the white walls and glass windows will feature more cat art, Denis said. They also plan to build their cats a protected outdoor space at the back of the shop, overlooking the side street, so they are not always confined inside.
The corner shop is full of items that cat lovers will want to buy. Denis said they sourced a good number of their cat merchandise from abroad.
Lest we forget that Cat Cafe Manila is a real coffee shop, Denis proudly announced that they will serve civet coffee, also known as Kopi Luwak or Kape Alamid, one of the most exotic and expensive coffees in the world. It will complement Cat Cafe Manila's good selection of cakes, cookies and hot and cold drinks like their yummy Speculoos coffee.
“We are very excited and hopeful. We just want everything to be perfect,” said Denis as he played with some cats while the other cats slept. He said he was not into cats before, but now he has completely been transformed into a cat lover.