NEKO Cat Cafe
Western Washington University grads Caitlin Unsell and Cory James were inspired by cat cafes while living abroad in Japan. At the time, they believed there was nothing like them in the United States. Unsell decided that, when she returned home, she was going to open a cat cafe in Washington. Like this, NEKO cat cafe was born.
NEKO—pronounced neck-oh, meaning “cat” in Japanese—first landed in Capitol Hill in Seattle. At the cafe, you can find roughly 20 kitties up for adoption at any time. All of the cats are rescues from local shelters and can be adopted directly from the cafe. Even if someone isn’t able to adopt a cat, the cafe provides a space for guests to “relax in the company of cats,” Unsell says.
NEKO’s Bellingham location is opening soon, at 1130 Cornwall Avenue. The cafe will host plenty of kitties courtesy of the Whatcom Humane Society. The goal is to keep about 20 cats in the cafe at all times, with a new kitty arriving each time one is adopted out.
Outside of feline friends, guests can enjoy an array of beverage options. Go for the traditional coffee, beer, or wine, or try something more exotic. “Because our inspiration came from Japan, we like to incorporate a lot of fun, different Japanese drinks,” Unsell says. “We import a lot of fun beverages from Japan. One of our most popular is called a Lucky Cat Soda—it’s like a honey melon soda.” The cafe will also serve Japanese milk tea and fine Japanese sake.
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