November 14, 2014 / 10:09 PM / 3 years ago

New cafe could be the cat's meow for pet-loving New Yorkers

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A cat cafe is opening in New York City, where small apartments and landlords' rules can make keeping pets tough for animal lovers.

At Meow Parlour, customers can book reservations online to spend time with one of a dozen cats roaming the storefront space on Manhattan's Lower East Side, co-owner Christina Ha said on Friday.

The fee will be $4 per half hour, she said.

The latest in cat cafes that have sprung up around the world, this one could capitalize on the needs of New Yorkers unable to keep cats of their own.

Pet ownership in New York City is about 60 percent lower than the national average, according to a 2012 study by the city's Economic Development Corporation.

Some 500,000 cats and 600,000 dogs live in New York City, a rate of one pet for every three households, the study found.

Pet ownership is dampened by the city's tight living quarters and apartment buildings that do not allow pets, it said.

"There are so many New Yorkers who want to play with cats but don't have the space or the money to keep them," Ha said.

Meow Parlour, which will have coffee, tea, pastries and other sweets on the menu, is set to open mid-December. All the cats will be available for adoption.

First popularized in Japan, cat cafes have caught on in Europe as well. Pop-up cat cafes have opened in the United States, and a permanent cat café opened last month in Oakland, California. Others are planned in Denver, Portland and elsewhere.

Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Sandra Maler

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