Meow! Former Litigator Hopes to Open Denver's First Cat Cafe

Sana.jpg
Sana Hamelin and her cat Little One
Sana Hamelin used to be a corporate litigator. Now she's an entrepreneur looking to create Denver's first cat cafe. Cats, coffee, books and art would all be featured at the Denver Cat Company -- if Hamelin can just raise the money to open her place. Currently her crowdfunding campaign is far from the $50,000 goal, and the deadline is just days away.

See also: Photos of Going to the Dogs at Bark Bar

Still, Hamelin believes that Denver could be the purr-fect place to open a cafe for quirky cat lovers looking to sip some java and read a book. She'd like to find a spot on South Broadway where she can open the Denver Cat Company; she plans to run a lending library out of the cafe, and dedicate at least one of its walls to local artists.

But cats, and coffee, would be the real focus. Hamelin hopes to team up with the Denver Dumb Friends League to provide cats for the cafe, each one available for adoption. Along with grown cats, a kitten corner (entry available with a special pass) would up the cuteness quotient.

Beyond providing cats, Cat Company would offer a flexible cat-sitting option. "We will ensure that your cat gets the care it needs, including appropriate attention and petting if desired, tailored per your instructions," promises the website.

This cozy cat cafe is a far cry from the litigation world Hamelin once occupied. "I'd thought I had realized the American dream," Hamelin says of her former career. Originally from Pakistan, she moved to the United States ten years ago. She is the first woman in her family to go to college and live independently. After several years of high stress and long hours in corporate litigation, she decided that it was time for a change.

"Having my own business has always been my dream," Hamelin explains. "I want to do something that makes me happy." Her three furry feline roommates already do, she adds.

Although there are cat cafes in Europe and a couple of similar projects have been proposed in California, Hamelin says her Denver Cat Company would be a first for this town -- and if she can meet her fundraising goal, she'll be able to open it that much faster. The campaign ends on Tuesday, August 12; find information and options for different donation packages at the cafe website.



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120 comments
jcox713
jcox713

Oh my god, what the heck is with all the cat hating on this site?  It's a 'health hazard' for cat owners to bring their pets to an establishment,  but dog friendly places are A-ok? All your dogs lick their stinky bal*s and roll in poop!  Geeze!  If you don't like the idea then don't go! 

Michelle Bowes
Michelle Bowes

I wouldn't go to any place that encouraged cats to piss in a box then come jump on my table.

Kyle Marcarello
Kyle Marcarello

Eww. A litigator. Oh and I'm allergic to cats / yuppies.

Richard Stice
Richard Stice

I would absolutely love it if this were to come to Denver! :)

DerpMcDerpston
DerpMcDerpston

Are the laser pointers provided, or do you have to bring your own?

Jeremy Wetzel
Jeremy Wetzel

Uuuum, 'scuse me?, waiter?, Yeah, there's cat hair in my soup.

Colleen Luckett
Colleen Luckett

Dummy. The cats are kept at the cafe. Customers play with the cats. Read.

Colleen Luckett
Colleen Luckett

You don't bring the cats. They have cats there for people who aren't allowed to (or don't want to) have pets.

Colleen Luckett
Colleen Luckett

They're all over Japan and do quite well. I went to one in Tokyo: no cat smell, fun and clean atmosphere, good food and drink (even a kitty-themed beer brand)! I got my cat-fix (as I'm not allowed to have pets in my apartment in Japan). I say go for it! (Btw, you're not allowed to hold the cats. Just play with them and pet them.)

Jo Shaner
Jo Shaner

Just was at a cat cafe in Vienna. What a concept!

GuestWho
GuestWho topcommenter

http://www.vox.com/2014/4/24/5644748/nine-questions-you-were-embarrassed-to-ask-about-cat-cafes


"Perhaps unsurprisingly, public health officials aren't totally sold on establishments that are home to animals and sell food. Aspiring cat cafe owners have found their efforts stymied in Boston and San Francisco, where it is illegal to have cats and food service in the same space. "They cannot operate in the same physical location," said a spokeswoman for San Francisco's public health department toldTime . "You can't have cats in the same place as food.""

SpottedDick
SpottedDick

DENVER DOGS NOW ALLOWED ON PATIO

In the most recent changes to the Food Code covering the City of Denver, the Board of Health voted to reduce restrictions regarding dogs on retail food establishment patios. Previously in Denver, dogs were allowed only if the restaurant did the following :

  • Register with the Department of Environmental Health (DEH),
  • Provide direct access to the patio without going through the restaurant, and
  • Not allow table service for food or drink to the outdoor dining area.

In the process of reviewing changes to the Denver Food Code, DEH surveyed the public about allowing dogs on restaurant patios. Due to the results of this survey, DEH decided to loosen their restrictions. Effective July 1, the new Denver Food Code enables restaurants to allow dogs on patios if the patio meets certain requirements.Those requirements include:

  • A patio that has direct access without going through the restaurant.
  • If the patio is less than 400 square feet in size, there cannot be table service for food or drink in the outdoor dining area.
  • If the patio is larger than 400 square feet in size, at least half of the patio must be designated as not allowing dogs. The dog accessible portion of the patio must have direct access to the sidewalk or other outside area.
  • Patios larger than 400 square feet in size allowing dogs on the patio must provide clear signage indicating the area where dogs are allowed.
  • Other restrictions apply. Please click HERE to see the complete set of regulations.

This new allowance only applies to the City of Denver. Restaurants outside of Denver cannot allow dogs on any part of the licensed premise, except for service animals, unless the restaurant obtains a variance from the local and state health departments.

SpottedDick
SpottedDick

How about feeding the thousands of hungry, poor children in Colorado before you feed some fucking cats ???????

SpottedDick
SpottedDick

First thing we do, disbar all the lawyers.


SpottedDick
SpottedDick

You can play with my "cat" anytime, sweetie.

TheFabulousMarkT
TheFabulousMarkT topcommenter

@SpottedDick But it specifically says that's for *restaurants*. My understanding was that places which only sell coffee aren't necessarily bound to those exact regs.

No?

TheFabulousMarkT
TheFabulousMarkT topcommenter

@SpottedDick Angry much?

You may disagree with the premise, but based on the vehemence of your comments, there's clearly something deeper going on here.

C'mon, talk to us :) What's the story, Rory?

TheFabulousMarkT
TheFabulousMarkT topcommenter

@GuestWho In other words, as long as the "cat section" is physically separate from the food-serving one, PH will allow them to coexist in one space. Unless I'm mis-reading.

SpottedDick
SpottedDick

@TheFabulousMarkT ... do they serve Food and Beverages to the public?


Are the disease vectors not the same whether the food / beverages are made in house, or make elsewhere and merely served by the "coffee shop" ?


Do they allow dogs and cats in supermarket produce sections?


Peter Meersman, president and CEO of the Colorado Restaurant Association said he would hesitate to urge a restaurant owner to create a dog-friendly patio zone.


There's the potential liability, but also more ways to violate health codes during inspections — say, if a server is seen petting a dog. That still won't be allowed. And restaurants will have to keep the patio clean of any dog waste.


"My advice to someone would be: Don't do that," Meersman said.



TheFabulousMarkT
TheFabulousMarkT topcommenter

@SpottedDick @TheFabulousMarkT Well, I really do think it's a gray area. I totally understand what you're saying from a health standpoint, but from a purely legal one it honestly doesn't seem to me to be expressly prohibited by the statutes.

We will have to see. Either way I have a feeling the deck is stacked against her in some unrelated ways, wouldn't you agree? :)

SpottedDick
SpottedDick

@TheFabulousMarkT @SpottedDick


Diseases from Cats 


Diseases that spread from cats to humans fall into two main groups, namely parasitic infestations and bacterial or viral infections.

Zoonoses is a general name for diseases which spread from animals to people who have close contact with them, or with their feces. 

Most often diseases are spread from pets to people by means of bites, scratches or direct contact with the animal or its feces. 


This is definitely the case where cats are concerned. Bites and scratches from cats can transmit germs from the cat's mouth to your skin and this can cause infection, which may be serious.


The main types of diseases which people can pick up from cats are toxoplasmosis, rabies, cat scratch disease, salmonella, campylobacter, giardia and cryptosporidium, roundworm and ringworm.

GET SOME with your skinny half-caff latte !!


TheFabulousMarkT
TheFabulousMarkT topcommenter

@SpottedDick @TheFabulousMarkT No, I know about the disease(s) thing like I said above. I'm talking from a purely legal standpoint. I think the hole definitely needs to be plugged - so to speak! - one way or the other because the regs seem vague to me on this point.

SpottedDick
SpottedDick

@TheFabulousMarkT ... well, a lawyer never lets common sense or good judgement stand in the way of a self-enriching legal gray area.



TheFabulousMarkT
TheFabulousMarkT topcommenter

@SpottedDick @TheFabulousMarkT [SNORT] :D Actually, it's funny you bring this up. One of our regular posters on here is actually a lawyer himself and I'd be curious to see what he thinks of this whole thing.

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