How S’pore’s First Cat Cafe Continues To Professionals-purr – Attracts Over 1,000 Cat Lovers Month-to-month

How S’pore’s First Cat Cafe Continues To Pros-purr – Draws Over 1,000 Cat Lovers Monthly

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In December 2014, Cuddles Cat Cafe, a cat cafe situated at *SCAPE, shut down lower than four months after it opened its doorways.

Over 2 years later, in April 2017, proprietor Jonathan Tan Wei-De was fined $Three,500 and sentenced to 2 weeks’ jail for offences associated to the well being of the cats in his cafe.

It had been reported that seven out of 30 cats purchased for the cafe had died even earlier than the institution was opened.

The information didn’t simply incense animal lovers – Sue Lynn, co-founder and proprietor of Neko no Niwa, a pioneer within the cat cafe scene in Singapore, was equally exasperated.

Sue Lynn and Kai Kai, one of many cafe’s cats

“It made me actually indignant and heartbroken,” she shared in an interview with Vulcan Submit.

“It goes to indicate that not each animal cafe has the welfare of their fees at coronary heart and that customers must also do their homework earlier than supporting such unethical companies.”

For this reason Sue Lynn makes certain to implement strict home guidelines for the welfare of their cats.

“In reality, lots of our 1-star critiques are precisely about how we’re too strict and protecting!”

She defined: “Cat cafe cats dwell in a home-like setting however they definitely don’t dwell in a house like yours or mine – whose dwelling could have 50 guests a day?”

“Think about 50 strangers choosing up your pet cat on a regular basis – and plenty of will achieve this in an incorrect manner – do you assume your pet cat would recognize it?”

Picture Credit score: Neko no Niwa

“We attempt to clarify to prospects the explanations behind our guidelines, however we will’t assist it in the event that they nonetheless assume they’re entitled to in any other case.”

It’s very lucky, although, that whereas there are extra problematic prospects, an awesome majority are literally appreciative of the truth that the cafe has strict guidelines and rules.

And Neko no Niwa’s four.7-star common ranking throughout 677 critiques on Fb is a testomony to that declare.

Impressed After Visiting A Cat Cafe In Japan

Picture Credit score: Neko no Niwa

The founders of Neko no Niwa are husband-wife workforce Sue Lynn and Samuel, each at the moment of their 40s.

Sue Lynn was previously a advertising and communications supervisor within the monetary business, whereas Samuel continues to be at the moment working as a photograph editor at a enterprise publication.

Whereas Sue Lynn was an skilled ‘cat mother’ to Marbles, a Three-year-old cat she adopted, Samuel’s encounters with cats had been restricted to the strays in his neighbourhood.

A stray cat at St John’s island / Picture Credit score: Neko no Niwa

It was solely after Sue Lynn entered his life with Marbles that “issues modified”.

Then, Marbles was a extra mature 12-year-old, however he was as affectionate as ever, greeting Samuel and Sue Lynn on the door every time they reached dwelling.

Throughout a fateful journey to Japan, Sue Lynn and Samuel discovered themselves lacking Marbles whereas travelling, and determined to hunt out cat cafes to seek out some kitties to play with.

Picture Credit score: Neko no Niwa

“The Japanese cat cafes we went to had been peaceable, calming, and clear,” Sue Lynn recalled.

In reality, they had been so impressed that they even determined to carry the idea again to Singapore, in order that cat lovers right here might additionally “soak in all that positively soothing kitty vitality”.

Past that, in addition they needed extra Singaporeans to expertise cats in a “dwelling setting”.

“We felt that cats had been very misunderstood,” she stated. “For many individuals – like Sam after we first met – their expertise with cats are restricted to strays as a result of associates don’t carry their cats out for gatherings, like they do with canine.”

“With a constructive expertise at our cat cafe, we hope that folks will strongly take into account having cats as pets at dwelling.”

Opened On Christmas Day 2013

Like many first-time entrepreneurs, Sue Lynn was confronted with those that doubted her determination to begin up.

“[People thought that] I used to be loopy to surrender my comfortable company job for the uncharted path,” she reminisced.

“Most have additionally not been to a cat cafe so it was arduous for them to think about that there shall be a requirement for cat remedy.”

Picture Credit score: Neko no Niwa

To be able to hold their beginning up prices as little as potential, in addition they designed the cafe themselves, sourcing for their very own contractors, furnishings, and fittings.

Calling it a “dive into the deep finish”, Sue Lynn shared how they wanted to determine every little thing out themselves – from procurement to working a Level-Of-Gross sales system, and hiring and coaching employees.

It’s not like you possibly can decide up the cellphone and name your IT division when your Wifi is down or inform your Accounts division to deal with excellent invoices, you already know?

Having no predecessor, in addition they had no reference level or mentors to show to after they bumped into points.

Picture Credit score: Neko no Niwa

Operating an institution that solely sells meals and drinks is radically completely different from one which homes dwelling issues (apart from people), and “a number of conferences with URA, NEA, and AVS (beforehand often called AVA)” had been a necessity.

“This dragged on for nearly a 12 months!”

The cafe was formally opened on Christmas Day in 2013, they usually had been placing in 14-hour days, 7 days per week.

Picture Credit score: Neko no Niwa

However past simply opening a restaurant the place cat lovers can chill with kitties, selling adoption is one in every of their key messages.

To be able to “give folks an opportunity to see how stunning” rescued cats could be, the ‘stars of the present’ at Neko no Niwa are all personally adopted by Sue Lynn and Samuel.

Picture Credit score: Neko no Niwa

“Most prospects don’t imagine that our cafe cats had been adopted as a result of they’ve such silky gentle fur and appear like one million bucks,” quipped Sue Lynn. “We actually have a few lapcats who will cuddle up with our company.”

“With this, we hope to dispel stigmas related to adopted cats – that they’re ugly and unaffectionate.”

“Somebody Even Tried To Feed Them Chocolate Cake”

As with all customer-facing institutions, Neko no Niwa has its justifiable share of inauspicious prospects.

“We now have seen prospects blowing on the cats’ faces or poking their ears with a toy simply to wake them up for a photograph or to impress a response,” sighed Sue Lynn.

Picture Credit score: Neko no Niwa

There’ll all the time be prospects who attempt to push the boundaries and problem our home guidelines “as a result of they’ve paid $12”. 

“Somebody even tried to feed them chocolate cake, and plenty of others insist on carrying the cats.”

Past placing a cease to those actions instantly, the workforce additionally makes certain to elucidate to prospects why such behaviours aren’t supreme.

“It’s about respecting cats and what they wish to do, particularly when you find yourself of their dwelling,” she defined.

To additional unfold the message of correct cat care, they’ve additionally been conducting quarterly Cat Care Workshops for the previous 6 years for brand new and present cat homeowners.

2 years in the past, in addition they held a fundraiser for 94 victims rescued from a Three-room flat of a yard breeder – one thing Sue Lynn considers to be one in every of her most memorable experiences but.

Inside sooner or later, they managed to boost a whopping $13,000 to fund medical bills and boarding preparations for the cats.

“The help was so super [as] distributors pledged their earnings to the trigger and the general public confirmed up in throngs. Virtually every little thing was offered out!”

“Folks had been simply giving and giving as a result of they needed to assist these harmless lives. I felt actually privileged that Cat Cafe Neko no Niwa is a part of this group and that we might make a distinction.”

Over 1,000 Cat Lovers Getting A Dose Of ‘Cat Remedy’ Month-to-month

Native artist ‘Sticker woman’ Sam Lo at a Books Really occasion held at Neko no Niwa

The preliminary hype round cat cafes – as with all developments in Singapore – has died down, however Sue Lynn revealed that they nonetheless common round 1,000 to 1,200 prospects month-to-month.

“After we first began, the quantity was twice that!”

Regardless, having survived and pros-purred for over 5 years is an enormous feat, and whereas they “recognise that enterprise has slowed down”, they’re soldiering on to make sure that their cats and dependable employees “have a sanctuary” and they can proceed elevating consciousness about adoption and cat care.

The Neko no Niwa workforce

“Our latest collaboration with Vet Cellular is a step in the proper route to carry extra academic talks. This can additional strengthen our longstanding purpose to turn into a science-based useful resource middle that the cat group can look to after they need assistance or recommendation.”

“In case you are studying this, please come help the nice work that we do at 54A Boat Quay!”

We’d wish to thank Sue Lynn for her time!

Cat Cafe Neko no Niwa
54A Boat Quay
Singapore 049843




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