D.C.'s first cat cafe opens in Georgetown

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- The cat is out of the bag!

D.C.'s first cat cafe opened its door Saturday in Georgetown.

The cats at Crumbs & Whiskers welcomed humans to their home Saturday, just to hang out. The cafe is located at 3211 O Street.

PREVIOUS: Georgetown cat cafe to open June 20

The "cat cafe" trend isn't new, these spots started in Japan and have been popping up all over the country.

In the midst of the busy streets of Georgetown and the cars cruising along the cobble stone sits a little blue row house, not unlike its neighbors. Inside it, however, is something very unusual, and the only sound you'll hear is "meow."

So what exactly is a cat cafe?

"It's basically a lounge with cats," said Kanchan Singh, a local entrepreneur and owner of Crumbs & Whiskers. "There's a lot of excitement, sometimes I'll be working in here and people will be walking by, peeking in and taking selfies with our signs, just screaming in excitement."

She got the idea when she visited Thailand.

"I didn't know cat cafes existed, I was traveling and these guys who saw how much I was in love with animals took me to a cat cafe and I was telling them this is a great idea, I think I'm going to go back and do it," said Singh.

And she did. She quit her full time job, and started fundraising. That would be the easy part, her Kickstater campaign raised $15,000 in less than 24 hours. In the end, she raised a little less than $36,000.

"That's why this space is as awesome as it is, because the people of D.C. were like, we believe in this idea, we are going to help you," said Singh.

Now for the next question some may have, why? Or, 'you've got to be kitten me?'

"For people, its different benefits, but mostly it's just kind of unplugging and relaxing," said Singh. "This is just a really relaxing thing to do," she said.

For animal lovers who can't have a pet, it's a great way to spend some quality time with a kitty. If you're looking to adopt, you can get to know the cat before taking them home. The benefits for the felines? They're all up for adoption from the Washington Humane Society.

"We take them in until they get adopted out so they never have to go back to the shelter again," said Singh. "It really has improved their quality of life." Plus, this makes more room at the shelter, so they can save more lives.

"They can start the adoption process here, so they can submit the paperwork with us, then the Washington Humane Society does their background check and all of that, and then when WHS has Ok'd them, every Monday we do adoptions and where we are closed for cats leaving and cats coming in," said Singh.

Here's how it works: You make a reservation online at http://www.crumbsandwhiskers.com/read-me/. You pay online, it costs $10 an hour during the week and $12 on the weekends. Once you're at the cafe, you check in, find a cat and relax.

If you want to order food or coffee, you can, but unlike some cat cafes, there won't be a kitchen. Instead, partner cafes will make food and coffee deliveries.

"We do cats, we will let the food people do food," said Singh.

Fourteen cats, to be exact, but they can have up to 20 in the house. Singh, of course, knows them all, and their personalities.

If you're not a cat person, Singh has this to say: "A), it's your loss, and B), you should really come in and check it out, because you will never be the same once you walk out the door. We will change their mind. Furball will change their mind!"

Singh said they go through a lot of kibble, litter and lint rollers. She also said they are constantly cleaning, scooping and grooming the cafe.

"It's very sanitary, we aren't cat hoarders who have like 120 cats in here with no sanitation," said Singh.

There are rules in the cafe, no flash photography, you have to cover your food so the cats can't get it, you can't wake a sleeping cat and you have to sign a waiver before your visit.

"The rules are, well one of the biggest ones is signing the waiver, which basically says if you get a cat scratch here you aren't suing us because at the end of the day, we cannot control how these cats behave."

For more information about Crumbs & Whiskers or to make a reservation, click here.

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