Our Story

Liberty Peralta (pictured with Alex the cat) is founder and owner of Popoki + Tea. The cat cafe began as a pop-up in 2018 and opened their current Kaimuki location in February 2020. Photo by Lawrence Tabudlo.

Growing up on farmland in Wai‘anae, on O‘ahu’s Leeward Coast, I was always around all kinds of animals… except cats. My dad always claimed he was allergic. Turned out, he just didn’t like them.

In adulthood, I moved to “town,” Honolulu, to be closer to jobs, but away from the company of animals. I briefly worked at a startup, and one day, before a meeting, my manager talked about an East Coast cat cafe that he had supported through Kickstarter. A cat cafe? Wild.

A small-but-life-changing volunteer service project introduced me to a cat’s affection. A few months later, I welcomed home my first cat, Mara. Through Popoki + Tea, I hope to introduce many more to that same affection I felt that day as a volunteer, and have continued to feel every day Mara has been in my life.

I’ve always had a thing about challenging stereotypes, which I trace back to my childhood in Wai‘anae – a troubled place, sure, but one that also holds its values close, and introduced me to so much opportunity as a young creative.

Cats have their fair share of stereotypes. How many cartoons have a cat as the bad guy? Cats are often characterized by their aloofness and their self-sufficiency, but it doesn’t make them any less capable of affection, or deserving of love and care. Come visit us… you’ll see.

Oh yeah, and my dad? He fell hard for Mara and now has a cat of his own.

liberty signature
Liberty Peralta
Popoki + Tea