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Start a Cat Cafe

Turning Café Culture into a Meow-vellous Venture: Building Sanctuaries for Humans and Felines

By Business.How Team
| Updated
gray and white cat underneath vacant chair
Camera Icon Heather M. Edwards / Unsplash


If you're crazy about felines and caffeine in equal measures, a cat cafe might be the purrfect venture for you. This type of business offers customers a cozy place to have a coffee or a snack, all while enjoying the company of adorable, adoptable cats. The idea is to provide a sanctuary vibe for humans and a temporary home for cats, turning an ordinary coffee break into a whole new level of paw-some experience. Simultaneously, you're building a bridge for kitties in need of a loving home — it's a win-win situation.

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Discover Your Perfect Domain

Unlock the door to your online success with our hand-picked selection of premium domain names. Whether you're starting a new venture or rebranding an existing one, the right domain can set the tone for your digital presence. Browse through our curated list, each with its unique potential to enhance your brand's visibility and credibility.


This a quick reality check to help you identify the strengths and weaknesses of your business concept before you dive in.

Business Idea: Cat Cafe

Expected Percent Margin:

  • Gross Margin: 60-70%
  • Net Profit Margin: 10-15%

Earnings Expectations:

  1. Daily Earnings: $150 - $350
  2. Weekly Earnings: $1,050 - $2,450
  3. Monthly Earnings: $4,500 - $10,500
  4. Annual Earnings: $54,000 - $126,000

Actions to Hit Those Numbers:

Cat and Cafe Management:
  • Initial Investment: At least $50,000-$80,000 for renovation, cat acquisition, and cafe setup.
  • Cat Care: Develop relationships with local vets and insure proper medical care, vaccinations, and cat upkeep.
Marketing and Customer Acquisition:
  • Social Media: Regularly post compelling content (pictures of cats, promotional activities) on platforms popular with your target demographic.
  • Local Advertising: Allocate at least $300-$500 a month for local advertisements or communal events.
Food and Beverage Sales:
  • Menu Planning: Implement a simple yet diverse menu to cater a broad range of customers.
  • Supplier Management: Connect with reliable suppliers for quality food and beverage ingredients.
Cost Control:
  • Rent: Opt for a location where rent is under 10% of projected monthly sales.
  • Utilities and Maintenance: Budget approximately $500-$1,000 per month.
Business Operations:
  • Business Hours: Open 6-7 days a week, ideally 8-10 hours a day.
  • Customer Volume: Aim to serve 20-50 customers per day with an average spend of $10-$20.

Remember, these are generalized estimates and could fluctuate based on different factors like location, economic conditions, and specific business strategies. Always consult with a financial advisor for tailored advice.

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Grab Your Business Website Name

Before you get caught up in the whirlwind of setting up your business, invest in a domain name. It's a small but significant step that lays the foundation for your brand and makes it easier for customers to find and trust you. Just like you wouldn't build a house without securing the land first, don't build a business without securing your domain name.

"Why? Can't that wait?" Here's why it shouldn't

Step 1: Determine if Starting a Cat Cafe is the Right Endeavor

Breakdown of Startup Expenses

When starting a cat cafe, it is important to understand the startup expenses associated with the business. These expenses may include the cost of the building, the cost of furniture and fixtures, the cost of supplies, the cost of licenses and permits, and the cost of marketing and advertising. Additionally, it is important to consider the cost of hiring staff, the cost of insurance, and the cost of any legal fees associated with the business.

Breakdown of Ongoing Expenses

Once the cat cafe is up and running, it is important to understand the ongoing expenses associated with the business. These expenses may include the cost of food and supplies for the cats, the cost of utilities, the cost of maintenance and repairs, the cost of marketing and advertising, and the cost of staff salaries. Additionally, it is important to consider the cost of insurance and any legal fees associated with the business.

Examples of Ways to Make Money

Once the cat cafe is up and running, it is important to understand the different ways to make money. These may include charging customers an admission fee, selling food and drinks, selling cat-related merchandise, offering cat-related services such as grooming, and hosting events such as birthday parties. Additionally, it is important to consider the potential of partnering with local businesses to offer discounts or promotions, or to offer discounts to members of loyalty programs.

Step 2: Name the Business

Tips on Choosing a Name

When choosing a name for your cat cafe, it is important to pick something that is both memorable and unique. Consider choosing a name that reflects the type of cafe you are opening, such as incorporating the words “cat” or “kitty” into the name. Additionally, try to pick a name that is easy to spell and pronounce. You want potential customers to be able to find your cafe with ease.

Tips on Registering the Business Name

Once you have chosen a name for your cat cafe, you will need to register it with the appropriate government agency. Depending on where you live, this could be the state or local government. You will need to provide proof of the name you have chosen and pay a fee to register it. Additionally, you may need to register the name with the United States Patent and Trademark Office in order to protect it from being used by another business. This can be done online and requires a fee. Once you have registered the name, you will be able to use it for your cat cafe.

Step 3: Obtain Necessary Licenses and Permits

Overview of Licenses and Permits Needed

Before opening a cat cafe, it is important to obtain the necessary licenses and permits. This will vary depending on the city, state, and country in which the business is located. Generally, the business will need a business license, food service license, and a health permit. Additionally, the business may need to obtain a liquor license if the cafe will be serving alcohol. It is important to research the specific requirements for the area in which the cafe will be located.

Tips on Obtaining Licenses and Permits

The process of obtaining the necessary licenses and permits can be time consuming and complex. It is important to start the process as soon as possible to ensure that the cafe can open on time. The business should contact the local government to determine the exact requirements for the area and to get the necessary forms. Additionally, the business should contact a lawyer to ensure that all the necessary licenses and permits are obtained. Finally, the business should contact the local health department to ensure that all the necessary health regulations are met.

Step 4: Find a Suitable Location

Tips on Finding a Suitable Location

When starting a cat cafe, it is important to find a suitable location. Consider the size of the space, the amount of foot traffic, and the cost of rent. Also, consider the local zoning laws and regulations to ensure that the business is compliant. Additionally, think about the accessibility of the location and the parking available.

Tips on Negotiating a Lease

Once a suitable location has been identified, it is important to negotiate a lease. Start by researching the local market to determine the average cost of rent in the area. Then, contact the landlord and discuss the terms of the lease. Be sure to negotiate for a fair price, and consider the length of the lease and any additional fees. Additionally, make sure to read the lease carefully before signing it to ensure that all of the terms are understood and agreed upon.

Step 5: Design the Space

Tips on Designing the Space

When designing the space for a cat cafe, it is important to consider the needs of both cats and customers. Cats need a safe, comfortable space with plenty of places to hide and explore. Customers need a comfortable, inviting space that is easy to navigate and has plenty of seating. Consider adding features like cat trees, scratching posts, and toys to keep the cats entertained. Make sure to provide plenty of seating for customers, and consider adding features like a coffee bar, bookshelves, and artwork to create a cozy atmosphere.

Tips on Meeting Health and Safety Requirements

When starting a cat cafe, it is important to meet all health and safety requirements. Make sure to research local laws and regulations to ensure that the cafe is up to code. Consider adding features like air purifiers, litter boxes, and hand sanitizer stations to keep the space clean and safe. Make sure to provide adequate ventilation to keep the air fresh and free of allergens. Additionally, consider investing in pet insurance to protect the business in case of any accidents or injuries.

Step 6: Purchase Supplies

List of Supplies Needed

When starting a cat cafe, there are a few essential supplies that must be purchased. These include food and water bowls, litter boxes, scratching posts, toys, beds, and food. Additionally, you will need to purchase cleaning supplies such as litter, litter scoopers, and cleaning products. You will also need to purchase furniture and decorations for the cafe, such as tables, chairs, and art. Finally, you will need to purchase items to help you run the cafe, such as a cash register, computer, and printer.

Tips on Purchasing Supplies

When purchasing supplies for your cat cafe, it is important to consider quality and cost. You want to make sure that the supplies you purchase are of good quality and will last a long time. Additionally, you want to make sure that you are getting the best deal possible. To do this, you should shop around and compare prices. You should also look for discounts and sales. Additionally, you should consider buying in bulk to save money. Finally, you should look for second-hand items, such as furniture, that you can purchase at a discounted price.

Step 7: Hire Employees

Tips on Hiring Employees

When hiring employees for your cat cafe, it is important to find people who are passionate about cats and customer service. It is also important to find people who are willing to learn and take direction. Make sure to conduct thorough background checks and interviews to ensure that you are hiring the right people for the job. Additionally, consider offering competitive wages and benefits to attract the best employees.

Tips on Training Employees

Once you have hired the right employees, it is important to provide them with the necessary training. This should include customer service training, cat handling training, and food safety training. Additionally, it is important to provide employees with a detailed job description and expectations so that they know what is expected of them. Finally, make sure to provide employees with ongoing training and feedback to ensure that they are meeting your expectations.

Step 8: Market the Business

Tips on Creating a Marketing Plan

A marketing plan is essential for any business, and a cat cafe is no exception. It should include a budget, target audience, and a timeline. It should also include a strategy for how to reach the target audience. This could include traditional methods such as print ads, radio spots, and television commercials, as well as digital methods such as social media, email campaigns, and search engine optimization.

Tips on Advertising the Business

Once the marketing plan is in place, the next step is to start advertising the business. This could include creating a website, setting up social media accounts, and running ads in local newspapers and magazines. Additionally, it’s important to reach out to local businesses and organizations to let them know about the cat cafe and the services it provides. This could include hosting events, offering discounts, and providing catering services. Finally, it’s important to create an online presence by creating content such as blog posts, videos, and podcasts. This will help to spread the word about the cat cafe and draw in potential customers.

Step 9: Open the Business

Step 9: Open the Business - Opening a cat cafe is a big undertaking, but with the right preparation and dedication, it can be a successful endeavor. When it comes to opening the business, there are a few tips to keep in mind. First, make sure to have all the necessary permits and licenses in order before opening. This includes any health codes, building permits, and other regulations that may apply to the business. Additionally, it is important to have a detailed plan for the opening day, including staff training, marketing, and customer service.

Tips on Opening the Business - Once all the necessary permits and licenses are in order, it is time to open the business. Before opening, it is important to create a budget and stick to it. This includes both the startup costs and ongoing expenses. Additionally, it is important to create a marketing plan to ensure the business is visible to potential customers. This can include online advertising, social media campaigns, and other promotional activities.


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