UNLV graduate wants to open first cat cafe in Las Vegas

Updated January 3, 2018 - 4:13 pm

It’s been more than a decade since cat cafes, where patrons can watch and play with cats, opened in Taiwan and Japan.

Cat Town became the first cat cafe in the U.S. when it opened in 2014 in Oakland, California. Since then about 30 similar establishments have popped up across the country, from Seattle to Washington, D.C.

Rhiannon Gladney, a 2016 economics graduate from UNLV, wants to add Las Vegas to the list and help lower feline euthanasia rates. Gladney has been raising money and organizing pop-up adoption events in an effort to open a nonprofit cat cafe in the southwest Las Vegas Valley called Meow or Never.

At most cat cafes, patrons come in to grab a coffee or food. In a separate room is a lounge or playroom, where customers can consume their meal in the company of cats.

Cats often are from local animal shelters and are up for adoption. Over 1,500 cats have been adopted from Oakland’s Cat Town, according to its website. Purringtons Cat Lounge in Portland, which opened in January 2015, has adopted out nearly 500 cats and facilitates nearly 20 adoptions per month.

The Las Vegas Valley Humane Society estimates there are more than 200,000 undomesticated cats in Clark County.

Gladney, a former pre-veterinary student, said she realized she had a greater aptitude for business than she did for science. She started working with the animal-rescue community by volunteering with groups like the Nevada Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

She’s a cat person at heart. She has two sibling tuxedo cats at home, named Arduino and Raspberry Pi.

Cats are underserved in Las Vegas, Gladney said. She recalled a training orientation for the Nevada SPCA. Out of a large group of volunteers, three people wanted to work with cats.

“The cats need some people to help them out, too,” Gladney said. “I’m not going to be a veterinarian, but at least I can help cats this way.”

Gladney plans to open the cafe with an initial $50,000, which she says is a small sum for even a simple coffee shop. She’s fundraising through generosity.com, where she’s collected about $8,000.

“I made a lot of cuts to get to $50,000,” she said.

Through fundraising and additional pop-up events, Gladney hopes to raise that amount by next year. There is no firm open date yet.

To cut down on costs there won’t be an espresso machine, just pour-over coffee and cold brew, because industrial espresso machines and the plumbing to sustain them can cost upward of $30,000, Gladney said.

There will be pastries, though, and plenty of them will be vegan, since “we’re an animal-loving organization,” she said. She’s also limiting herself to move-in-ready spaces.

Gladney has an arrangement with PAL Humane Society to receive donations of food and litter for the cats.

Opening a cat cafe is tough , said Purringtons Cat Lounge co-owner Sergio Castillo. His cafe opened shortly after Oakland’s Cat Town, and he has received lots of requests for advice from prospective cat cafe owners on how to start a similar business. He now charges for a 90-minute consultation. He said he’s done about 50, and about 80 percent of those are first-time business owners.

“The reality is that there still isn’t a road map,” Castillo said. “It’s still too soon to have year-over-year information on what makes sense (for the cat cafe business).”

Having a good relationship with the local health department and government agencies is crucial, Castillo said.

His biggest piece of advice: “Don’t assume that because you’re an attraction you can charge an arm and a leg. The market may not support you.”

Gladney plans to use an all-donation-based model.

“We’re going to have suggested donation prices, but it’s completely what you have to give to help the cats,” she said. “We’re going to be the first to try this method … I’m nervous about it, but the pop-ups went so well with that method. It made people a lot happier to help.”

Contact Madelyn Reese at mreese@viewnews.com or 702-383-0497. Follow @MadelynGReese on Twitter.

Local Videos
The Bellagio Conservatory's spring display has a Japanese theme
The Bellagio's conservatory is hosting around 65,000 flowers, to form a Japanese theme this spring. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Bonnie Springs closes (Caroline Brehman/Kimber Laux)
Bonnie Springs Ranch near Las Vegas officially closed its gates Sunday, March 17, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Honoring a fallen North Las Vegas Police officer at his namesake school
The 20th Annual Raul P. Elizondo Honor Day celebrates the fallen North Las Vegas Police officer's legacy at his namesake school. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Windy day in Las Vegas Valley
The Review-Journal's camera on the under-construction Las Vegas Stadium the was buffered by high winds on Wednesday, March 14, 2019. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
March gloom falls on Las Vegas
After a rainy overnight, gloomy skies hover over Las Vegas Tuesday morning. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
John Katsilometes gets his head shaved at St. Baldrick's
Las Vegas Review-Journal man-about-town columnist John Katsilometes gets his head shaved by former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman during St. Baldrick's Foundation shave-a-thon on the Brooklyn Bridge at New York-New York in Las Vegas Friday, March 8, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
The Blue Angels take flight over Las Vegas Strip
The Blue Angels’ U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron flew their signature Delta formation over a part of the Las Vegas Strip, McCarran International Airport and east Las Vegas and were scheduled to fly over Hoover Dam. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
Gross World Records
A group of about 20 children gathered around a TV at Sahara West Library on Feb. 27 for a history lesson on the most disgusting world records.
Graduation for Renewing HOPE program
The Renewing HOPE program graduation for homeless who spend nine months in Catholic Charities program. Graduates are preparing to enter the workforce. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Car crashes into Starbucks near Las Vegas Strip
Lt. William Matchko of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police gives details about a car crashing into a Starbucks at Sahara Avenue and Paradise Road, near the Las Vegas Strip, on Friday, March 1, 2019. (Jessica Terrones/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Car crashed into PT’s Gold
A 60-year-old man who police believe was impaired drove into a PT’s Gold at Silverado Ranch and Decatur boulevards Thursday night, Metropolitan Police Department Lt. William Matchko said. The driver was hospitalized and is expected to survive. A man inside the bar was hit by debris but drove himself to the hospital, Matchko said. (Katelyn Newberg/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Driver crashes vehicle into PT’s tavern in south Las Vegas (part 1)
A driver suspected of impairment crashed a vehicle into the wall of a PT’s Gold tavern, at 4880 W. Silverado Ranch Blvd., in Las Vegas on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019. (Katelyn Newberg/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Driver crashes vehicle into PT’s tavern in south Las Vegas (pullout)
A driver suspected of impairment crashed a vehicle into the wall of a PT’s Gold tavern, at 4880 W. Silverado Ranch Blvd., in Las Vegas on Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019. (Katelyn Newberg/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Kids Read Books To Dogs At The Animal Foundation In Las Vegas
Kids from local Las Vegas elementary schools took part, Thursday, in a program at the Animal Foundation, where they read books to dogs. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Pioneer Trail highlights historic locations in West Las Vegas
The Pioneer Trail, a 16-site route of historically significant locations in Las Vegas, starts at the Springs Preserve and snakes east until it reaches above the brim of downtown. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutefsya
Vegas Warm Weather Hits Las Vegas Valley
Between Feb. 20-21, parts of the Las Vegas Valley were hit with 7.5" of snow. Less than a week later, it was sunny with temperatures in the 70s. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dr. S. Jay Hazan, a World War II veteran, talks about his arrest at the VA Hospital
Dr. S. Jay Hazan, a World War II Army veteran, was arrested in November after he caused a ruckus at the VA Hospital in North Las Vegas and stole his driver's car keys. He was arraigned on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019, and the charges will be dropped after 60 days. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/ Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Claytee White talks about Black History Month
An interview with Claytee White, director of the Oral History Research Center at UNLV. (Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Reflecting on the Moulin Rouge and a segregated Vegas
Former employees of the Moulin Rouge, the first integrated hotel-casino in Nevada, talk about what it was like in the brief six months the casino was open. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas home prices
Home prices rose in every ZIP code in the Las Vegas Valley in 2018 for the second year in a row, according to SalesTraq. Prices grew fastest in older, more centrally located areas. But prices were highest in the suburbs. The top three ZIP codes for price growth were 89119 (29.8%), 89146 (25%) and 89030 (24.6%). The top three ZIP codes for median sales prices were 89138 ($464,500), 89135 ($420,500) and 89052 ($370,000).
Wagonwheel Drive overpass reopens after ice closure
Overpass at Wagonwheel Drive reopens after ice on the onramp caused the ramp to be shut down, Feb. 22, 2019. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Keeping warm at the city of Las Vegas’ homeless courtyard
With help from the city of Las Vegas, a Salvation Army shelter stays open during the day Thursday and Friday, offering a safe place for the homeless to find respite from freezing temperatures and snow. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sloppy, Slushy Road Conditions Lead to Slow Traffic
Traffic slowed to a crawl on Jones are near Russell as conditions worsened Thursday. (Mat Luschek/Review-Journal)
Winter storm blankets west side of Las Vegas Valley
On Wednesday evening through early Thursday a winter storm dumped more than 7 1/2 inches of snow on some parts of the Las Vegas Valley. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas snow day for children
Las Vegas kids play in the snow that fell on Feb. 21, 2019. (Belinda Englman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Snow closes Red Rock Canyon, residents enjoy rare snowfall
The greater Las Vegas area was hit with snowfall on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2019. This video shows the areas surrounding Red Rock Canyon and the Summerlin community. Video by: Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Las Vegas kids attend school in the snow
Las Vegas children attend school during a rare snowstorm on Feb. 21, 2019. Staton Elementary School and other CCSD schools remained open. (Glenn Cook/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
People enjoying the snow in Summerlin
Fox Hill Park in Summerlin was busy Thursday morning, Feb. 21, 2019, with people enjoying the rare snow that fell overnight. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NHP advises motorists to take caution during Las Vegas snowstorm
NHP advised motorists to take caution during the snowstorm in Las Vegas. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Timelapse of snow at Red Rock Canyon
More than 7 inches of snow fell in the western areas of the Las Vegas Valley, including Red Rock Canyon, on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
It is a rainy Valentine's Day in Las Vegas - Video
These scenes come from the Las Vegas Stadium LiveCam (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
ad-high_impact_4
TOP NEWS
Home Front Page Footer Listing