NEWS & FEATURES
Have you heard the woofest mews?
Have you heard the woofest mews?
By ALMA J. BUELVA
PURINA Petcare Philippines, a business unit of Nestlé, is fueling a Facebook-based project to promote the local breed of cats, many of which are neglected and homeless.
Pusang Pinoy or Puspins they are called, Philippines' version of (British) moggies are currently basking in the limelight after Purina created an online stage for them to shine. PuspinsofMeownila is a Facebook-driven project of Purina's local team that highlights the beauty and fine quality of Puspins.
PuspinsofMeownila entries like these four photos above celebrate the beauty and fine qualities of local cats. (Photos from Purina Philippines)
Until recently, the Puspin used to go by a derogatory nickname “Pusakal”, short for Pusang Kalye, as many of them are strays. The fact that it has been given a more dignified name is proof that many people appreciate Puspins and for good reason.
PuspinsofMeownila lets anyone share stories and photos of their Puspins on Purina's official Facebook page to inspire more people to take Puspins as pets. The combined use of images and stories creates a compelling narrative, made more valuable by supporting comments from like-minded individuals.
Through PuspinsofMeownila, more people will hopefully see that the native kitties can be as adorable as purebred cats. PuspinsofMeownila is a valuable publicity tool for the many Puspins that are wandering the streets and languishing in shelters, all hoping to be soon adopted into loving homes.
“PuspinsofMeownila is designed to help increase Puspin adoptions, give these cats a 'voice' and show that they are also very lovable,” said Joshua Frederick P. Alarkon of Purina Petcare Philippines.
Although Facebook is the project's platform of choice, PuspinsofMeownila inevitably found its way in the photo-sharing application Instagram, where proud Puspin owners share their photos using the official hashtag #PuspinsofMeownila.
From June to November 2015, Purina received over 2,000 entries from Puspin owners, all declaring their love and gratitude for their low-maintenance Puspin that's every inch a good cat.
THE Pet Expo 2015 organized by Pet Express during the first weekend of August successfully gathered hundreds of pet owners, dog and cat lovers, animal groups plus makers and sellers of pet products under one roof. Held at one of the halls inside the SMX in Mall of Asia, the show is proof of the tremendous growth the pet industry in the Philippines is experiencing right now.
The show was a good venue for pet companies to interact closer with pet owners. Lots of products from pet foods to toys and accessories were sold up to 20 percent off.
Engaging activities for pets and their owners were also held in partnership with some of the leading pet food companies. There was also a dog yoga session, bomb sniffing demonstrations and even a presentation of a beach resort and hotel of their unique accommodations for pets.
Here are some of the first day photos from the show.
ANOTHER cat cafe will open in Quezon City. The Cat House targets to open by mid-August in Katipunan Ave., in a building just across the Ateneo de Manila University. The Cat House will serve not just coffee and cat-themed pastries but also cat-inspired bento box meals for P290, inclusive of two-hour stay with their cats.
In an interview with MetroPets, Lacsamana said they hope to open on the 8th or 15th of August. The Cat House will be anime-inspired and will also feature a cat hotel.
To give customers an idea of what they will be offering, The Cat House's team put up a pop-up cat cafe for the one-day Kawaii Cats cosplay at SM North EDSA last July 25. (see related story)
Their cats will range from rescued Puspins and purebreds. Lacsamana volunteers with the Philippine Animal Rescue Team (PART) which has a four hectare NO KILL sanctuary for homeless animals in San Jose, Bulacan. She said they will also put up cats for adoption.
By ALMA J. BUELVA
YOU can't rush perfection just as you cannot hurry love. These two truisms explain the repeated delays in the opening of Velvet Friends Cat Cafe as the owners strove to take care of the smallest details so that even if the cafe of their dreams is not the first, it certainly will be the finest.
Days before its official opening, people curiously stopped by and peered into the cafe, hoping to get a glimpse of the cats. Word quickly spread about the arrival of 14 magnificently handsome cats that include a Puspin (Pusang Pinoy) in black and white tuxedo markings, housed in an upcoming cat cafe on the second floor of Blue Bay Walk in Pasay City.
As last-minute finishing touches were applied at a feverish pace for Velvet Friends Cat Cafe's opening, the cats handled themselves beautifully, quickly settling into their cat haven.
The haven is a 40-square-meter cozy zone furnished with all the kitty comforts, including cat towers and condos, water fountains, food bowls, scratching posts, lofts and walkways, hidden loos and their own grooming room.
The cat haven looks out into a huge park that provides a gorgeous outdoor backdrop day and night for the cats.
The entire 106-square-meter place is designed with a soft shabby chic feel that is evident in the veranda style cafe section, complete with trellis and customized metal chairs with cushioned seats wrapped in cat prints. It is a polished yet relaxed ambiance, perfect for sipping coffee while enjoying a different kind of view – a room full of cats.
Velvet Friends Cat Cafe's proprietor, Chito Aclon, told MetroPets that with their remarkable lineup of cats and actual store already in place, they have secured the necessary government permits, including a certification from the Bureau of Animal Industry to operate what is essentially an animal facility. As required by BAI, the cafe has appointed an official veterinarian to be part of its team, he said.
To enjoy the company of Velvet Friends' resident cats, one must pay an admission fee of P190 for children below 10 years old and senior citizens, P240 for students and P290 for regular customers. That rate is good for an hour inside the cat haven.
Guests are required to leave an ID and sign a waiver before they can enter the cat haven. The cafe employs cat attendants who would orient guests about rules to follow inside the cat area. They will also be around to assist guests with other information they need to know, especially on how to handle cats.
Customers can use the lockers to safely stow their personal belongings. They may also bring along their own cats that have proof of vaccination, and house them in the cafe's cat hotel.
The cat haven can accommodate up to 16 people at a time, but Aclon said they would try to reduce the number if possible to keep the cats from being stressed.
Unlike other cat cafes in the city, Velvet Friends Cat Cafe will not use an online reservation system, which means walk-in customers are welcome all the time.
The cafe will follow the normal mall hours of 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekends. However, they will temporarily close from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. daily to give the cats some quiet time and tidy up the place.
Velvet Friends Cat Cafe takes pride in having collected a number of commissioned cat art works, books on cats as well as cat-inspired items from abroad to fill up its upcoming shop.
Royal Canin is the official provider of dry food for Aclon's cats. The company is expected to hold occasional educational programs at the cafe to raise awareness about cats' health and wellness.
Kittens, if there are any, will have their own protected area inside the haven and will be available for viewing only.
By thoroughly planning and providing the facilities that would make the cats' stay and the customers' visit to its cat cafe more comfortable and enjoyable, Velvet Friends Cat Cafe managed to raise the bar of quality for this new business niche. They have pulled out all the stops and clearly didn't just rustle up a few chairs and tables and brought a clowder in a room and called it a day.
They have yet to face the greatest test: real customer feedback. But judging by how people outside were craning their necks to get a glimpse of the beguiling creatures inside, the velvety cats have this cafe's fate in their paws.
* Laika and Felicette, pioneer pet astronauts