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Pet Adoptions, Art Converge as Cat Café Comes to San Jose


Stashed in: Lolcats!, San Jose, Pets!

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I can actually testify that even if you can't own cats, it's bizarrely soothing to spend time with them. I go over to the Panda's house to pet his 5 cats all the time!

Yes! Spending time with cats is a great way to relieve stress!

Luckily for Spec and her 10 other cohabitants, the entire space was arranged with feline Feng Shui in mind, designed to ease the transition from shelter life at her own pace. Carpeted towers, cubbyholes, scratch posts, lots of vertical space to retreat to, kitty grass for digestion and plenty of catnip-spiked toys. Come Thursday, the sunny corner-store will open to the public as The Dancing Cat, San Jose’s first-ever cat café.

“Cats are so unique,” says Ann Chasson, who pulled the pop-up project together with her friend Mary Rubin to promote adoptions for local shelters. “This gives them a space for their personalities to emerge and a chance to bond with people in an environment that feels a lot like a home.”

Cat cafes originated in Taiwan and Japan as place for people who can’t own pets—for lack of space or lack of time—to commune with cats. Last year, the concept arrived stateside.

The Cat Town Café in Oakland, which opened last fall as an offshoot of an existing adoption agency, bills itself as the first permanent cat café in the United States. Proprietors say they can barely keep up with demand—a welcome problem, given the millions of strays that populate the Bay Area and overwhelm shelters. Japanese teahouse-inspired KitTea opened in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley last month with help from angel investors, a Petco grant and proceeds from a crowdfunding campaign.

Chasson and Rubin began mulling the idea of opening something similar in Silicon Valley last year, after striking up a friendship over a shared interest in fostering kittens for local shelters.

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The Dancing Cat, 702. E. Julian St., San Jose. Grand opening at noon Thursday. Regular hours: noon to 6pm Wednesday and Thursday, noon to 9pm Friday and Saturday, noon to 6pm Sunday, closed Monday and Tuesday. www.thedancingcat.org. Cost: $10 for adults, $5 for children 10 and under. Book in advance to reserve a spot.

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