This new business, called Wired Whisker, will be the first of its kind in the region, joining a trend around the country that came to the land of 10,000 Lakes a few years ago.
The first cat café in Minnesota (The Cafe Meow) popped up in Minneapolis a few years ago, opening a second location in New Hope in 2022. Now, the trend will be coming to the Northland - finding a home in Duluth later this year.
What is a cat café?
Smithsonian Magazine describes a cat cafe as a place where members of the public can pay a fee to hang out with cats. They explain that the idea of a cat cafe got its start in Taiwan in 1998, spreading through Asia and then to other parts of the world.
While one of the main draws is the ability to spend time with some felines, these businesses usually also offer food and beverages, along with places to meet with friends or relax and unwind.
The trend found its way into the United States in the early 2010s, with Purina bringing one as a pop-up shop in New York City in 2014.
Why are cat cafés a thing?
There are two different primary drives behind most cat cafés.
Some cat cafés are simply a place where cat lovers can spend some time with felines. This is especially handy for cat lovers that can't own a cat of their own, whether it be because of housing restrictions or other reasons.
Wired Whisker's website says spending some time with cats can reduce stress and anxiety, citing some scientific research that cat therapy (or just interacting with animals, like cats) can lower blood pressure, reduce stress, and increase feel-good hormones.
Additionally, while this isn't true of all cat cafés, some of these establishments work to help cats find homes. This is one of the elements built into the cat café coming to Duluth. They say all of their cats will be adoptable, worked through a partnership with Duluth's Animal Allies Humane Society.
Besides giving cat lovers a place to enjoy the company of some new feline friends, it will also give prospective cat parents the opportunity to meet and get to know a possible fuzzy addition to the family.
What will Wired Whisker, Duluth's new cat café, offer?
On their website, Wired Whisker says they will provide a "cozy place to relax" along with locally-made baked goods and beverages like coffee and tea. As mentioned above, the business's cats will all be adoptable, working through a partnership with Animal Allies.
The business will have two distinct areas: The café, where you'll be able to enjoy food and beverages, and the cat lounge, where you can spend time with the felines.
Wired Whisker's website also boasts partnerships with Positively 3rd Street Bakery, which will provide baked goods, and Kitty Town Coffee, which will be the coffee provider for the café. They also point out that their partnership with Kitty Town Coffee will help cats, with the company making donations to local rescues for each bag of their coffee brewed or sold as a retail item at Wired Whisker and other places their coffee is available.
What else do I need to know about visiting Wired Whisker?
Like many other cat cafés, it is recommended visitors register for time with cats in advance. This will be able to be done via their website, which will be able to be done once they open this fall. Wired Whisker does say they will take walk-ins, depending on availability.
Unless otherwise specified, visitors will be able to book cat time in one-hour increments. Wired Whisker says this is done to make sure all visitors will be able to get some time interacting with the cats, as well as to prevent overstimulation for the cats.
Wired Whisker says children under 7 years old will not be allowed into the cat lounge, and kids between 7 and 12 years old must be accompanied by an adult.
Reservations apply only to spend time with the cats, and not to visit the café.
The owner does note that while they do love cats, you won't be allowed to bring your own to the café to ensure the safety and well-being of the resident cats.
When and where will Wired Whisker Cat Café open?
Those details are forthcoming, though the owner does provide some details on the business's website.
They say it will be located "in the heart of Duluth" and will be opening this fall. In a Facebook post shared on July 24 by the Wired Whisker website, they say they are working to get zoning approval for 1823 E Superior Street in the Endion neighborhood, which is the current address listed for Endion Square Children's Center.
The zoning meeting to gain approval to proceed with the project is scheduled for August 8.
We'll update this post when more updates become available!