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Cats, coffee and crafts pouncing into Buffalo

Students prepare for city’s first cat cafe, Purrfect Cafe and Gallery

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Put your paws in the air and wave ‘em like you just don’t care.

Purrfect Cafe and Gallery at 1507 and 1509 Hertel Ave isset to open this summer. Purrfect, Buffalo’s first cat cafe, features around 12 to 15 cats who will roam about and play in the cafe’s lounge area. Besides the lounge, Purrfect will hold adoption events, offer party rentals and sell local artwork and crafts.

Owner Jessica Brandon said local adoption agency Ten Lives Club is providing about seven of the cafe’s cats. Brandon said several of them are her own foster cats, and a handful of the cats are permanent residents in the cafe.

“It’ll be good to have a staple of cats that live there that are always very friendly and used to people [in the cafe],” Brandon said.

Brandon visited Aberdeen, Scotland in 2017 after overcoming her cancer diagnosis. While there, she noticed a cat cafe — Cat in the Window Cafe — and was inspired to start one in Buffalo. She said Purrfect is different than some cat cafes she’s seen in cities such as Ottawa or New York because of its large size and full-service restaurant.

Ryan Walser, executive chef at the cafe, said Purrfect offers bistro-like food, such as paninis, flatbreads, sandwiches and soups.

“There are a lot of vegetarian and vegan options on the menu. There’s still going to be regular protein but with the changing landscape in the culinary industry, it’s important to stay up to date with changing dietary needs,” Walser said.

Walser said Purrfect offers specials as well, like a vegan burger bar on Wednesdays. Walser, born and raised in Buffalo, said working with cats is an added accessory to his position.

“Even if you come in to see the cats or if you’re hungry, it gives the added ability to do more at your place then simply having a quick meal. It makes [Purrfect] a destination instead of a stop,” Walser said.

Students were excited for Purrfect’s arrival, including Snigdha Motadaka, who has never been to a cat cafe before.

Motadaka, an incoming freshman computer science major and international student from India, said she loves cats and a cat cafe would be an “instant stress buster.”

“I’m very excited because I’ll definitely miss my cat [back home] for the four years I’ll be away from him,” Motadaka said. “It’ll be great to have some delicious food while playing around with cats, and I would also love to appreciate the arts and crafts being sold as I’m into art.”

As Purrfect settles its paws on the ground, Brandon said she thinks her cafe and gallery will fit in well with other establishments on Hertel.

“There’s a lot of eclectic, fun new things going on Hertel. The fact that we’re bringing in local artists to display and sell their works fits into the area well, too,” Brandon said.

“College students have emailed or messaged me, asking if they can sell some of their works and if they can be apart of [Purrfect] in some way. So, the community outreach and response has been really wonderful. I personally know some of the owners on Hertel and they’re excited to see something unique come to the area.”

Purrfect Cafe and Gallery will be open Tuesdays through Sundays.

Benjamin Blanchet is the senior features editor and can be reached at benjamin.blanchet@ubspectrum.com and @BenjaminUBSpec.


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