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Coffee house cats go mobile

From Animal Sheltering magazine March/April 2016

Entrepreneur Kanchan Singh opened Crumbs & Whiskers—a cat café inspired by one in Thailand and based in Washington, D.C.’s Georgetown neighborhood—in June 2015 to feverish excitement and long lines.

The café offers a temporary home for roughly 20 adoptable cats (in collaboration with the Lost Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation in Northern Virginia) while allowing cat lovers to freely mingle with felines, sip lattes and munch pastries delivered from an off-site bakery.

Singh has been inundated with people wanting their kitty-and-caffeine fix, and the café adopted out more than 30 cats in three months—but baked goods aren’t the only way to get exposure for adoptable cats. Crumbs & Whiskers launched a pilot kitten delivery program in December.

The Dec. 20 delivery promised a basket of kittens, a bag of macaroons and a playpen delivered, in Georgetown only, to the first people who met eligibility requirements. Clients paid $99 for 30 minutes of in-home kitten playtime, with 15 percent of proceeds donated to the Lost Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation.

Lost Dog’s cat program coordinator Echo Kief says the kittens visited six homes, and “each stop was a new adventure. They got to ride on a Roomba, watch football on the couch, listen to Christmas carols and snuggle their hearts out!”

Post-delivery, the Crumbs & Whiskers Facebook page showed a woman reverently burying her face in five kittens, known as the “bear kittens” thanks to their fluffy black fur. “In case anyone was ... you know, wondering how Christmas kitten deliveries went yesterday,” the post says dryly.

Cubby, Winnie, Kody, Baloo, Grizzly and Teddy were all adopted thanks to the fluff-brained scheme. “It was a great day of fun and socialization for the kittens, and the people had a blast,” says Kief.

About the Author

Bethany Wynn Adams is an editor at Animal Sheltering, a quarterly magazine for anyone who cares about the health and happiness of animals and their people, and animalsheltering.org. From tales of shelter mascots to guidance on backyard chickens, Bethany works with experts from across the country and within The Humane Society of the United States to bring wide-ranging, engaging print and web news to the animal welfare community. Winner of the Cat Writers' Association's MUSE Medallion, she lives in Maryland with her husband and two naughty rescue dogs.