Austin, Texas doesn’t shy away from its motto “Keep Austin Weird.” It’s an idea Rebecca Gray embraces. She’s a self-proclaimed “cat lady” – but she’s a cat lady with a business plan.
“Imagine walking into a place that is much like a café, in that it will be a relaxing sorta zen atmosphere, you can surf the net, you can read a book, you can hang out,” Gray says, “there will about 20 maybe 30 cats walking around you.”
Gray is trying to open the first cat café in Texas. Why does she think kitties are lucrative? YouTube and America’s Funniest Home Videos have proven just how mesmerizing cats can be. So she thinks paying money to sit down and interact with one isn’t too much of a stretch.
Researchers have found that humans and cats are actually pretty similar. People and cats have practically an identical section in the brain that controls emotion. Nicholas Dodman, who directs the Animal Behavior Department at Tuft University in Boston states:
“They have this temporal lobe which is the lobe of the brain which houses the limbic system, which is the center for emotion. It’s pretty much the same setup as ours – enabling us to feel fear, apprehension, dread and anger.”
Oakland is home to the country’s first Cat Café. Owner Ann Dunn says she’s pretty overwhelmed with how many people want to see her business succeed. The key to her business model is rescuing animals.
“In our case cat rescue because it is an adoption center,” Dunn says.
In Austin, Gray wants to replicate Dunn’s success. She says the business is close to her heart “you’re actually meeting somebody else’s cat in the future because all these cats are adoptable,” Gray says.
Gray’s Blue Cat Café is set to open in Austin in the next few months.