Purr-fect! A ‘cat cafe’ combines wine and felines



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Katy McHugh is looking to open Milwaukee’s first cat cafe, Sip & Purr, featuring wine, snacks, coffee and adoptable cats. Wochit

MILWAUKEE — For those who love cats — and for that matter, wine — Sip & Purr could be the purr-fect way to spend a day.

Milwaukee is about to get its first cat cafe, a place where customers can cuddle with kittens and enjoy a drink.

The cafe itself will be cat-free when the operation opens June 1. Felines will stay in the Cat Lounge, where customers can choose to bring their small bites and sweet treats. Cats at Sip & Purr will be available for adoption from the Lakeland Animal Shelter.

Sip & Purr will charge an admission fee for the Cat Lounge. One hour of cuddle time is $8.48 per person. The price on opening day is higher, $21.20. 

The woman behind the concept is Katy McHugh, who said last year that she got the idea when she went to a cafe in Amsterdam with her family in February.  

“We stopped at this cafe and my kids had ice cream and I had wine while my husband had a beer,” she said. “And this tabby cat that hung out in the cafe came and jumped on my lap. I was sipping on my wine and petting her and she was just purring away.” 

When McHugh finished her wine, she didn’t want to leave the cat, so her solution was to get a second glass of wine. 

Sounds like a good business model. 

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“When we got home, I told my husband I wanted to open a place where people could just drink wine and pet cats,” she said. 

After talking to some friends and doing some research, McHugh found the answer: a cat cafe.  

McHugh, who works as a flight attendant, took advantage of some of her extended stays in other cities for work and visited a handful of cat cafes around the country to learn how to open her own. 

“They’ve told me what stuff works and what stuff doesn’t work, and I’ve been able to run with that,” she said. “I don’t know if I would have been able to do it without the opportunity to go to all the cat cafes and talk to the owners.” 

McHugh’s plans are for a cafe that, like the ones she’s experienced, feature adoptable cats that live at the cafe full time.  

“The concept isn’t super-familiar with people in Milwaukee yet. A lot of people I tell think they can bring their own cat,” said McHugh said, who owns three cats adopted from shelters.

“The main purpose is for the cats to not stay at the cafe, but go to a loving home,” McHugh added. “That’s what they deserve.” 

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