Filipino American-Owned Cat Cafe to Open Soon
By Lalaine Ignao
There is an estimated 300,000 free roaming cats on the island of Oahu where the population of Honolulu alone is about 300,000 to 400,000 citizens. Liberty Peralta believes that the vast free roaming cat population comes from many people’s opinion of cats tendency to live independently. But when they live outdoors, have the ability to multiply freqently and cause problems in the environment, that is another story. These felines also need a proper home and tender, loving care that every living being deserves. This is where Peralta’s upcoming cat cafe, Popoki and Tea comes into play.
“I am really passionate about making an impact on people’s lives. Making an impact on cat’s lives and making an impact on community in our environment. Something like Popoki and Tea can help with all of those things.”
The inspiration behind her upcoming cat cafe comes from her own story of originally not liking cats. But when she took one in a few years ago, everything changed. She did not develop a relationship with cats until her adult life where she did a volunteer service project and held a cat for the first time. Peralta was born on Oahu and grew up on a farm in Waianae with lots of animals. Her family was also not a fan of cats but once she introduced them to her new feline friends, they too had a change of heart.
The cat lover eventually visited the mainland where she checked out multiple cat cafes all along the west coast. She learned more about what they are and how they are a vehicle for a newer way of finding cats homes.
“Traditionally speaking, they are housed in shelters and cats in particular do not do well in shelters because of how sensitive they are and do not deal with change very well. Whereas in the cat cafe they can roam around in a room. I really liked the idea of the cat cafes and bringing one here in Honolulu.”
“I feel that if we can showcase them in a cool environment where people want to be at and if people who like cats bring in their friends who maybe aren’t sure about cats and can get them exposed to cats, then, we can eventually give a home for cats in the long run.”
The cat cafe will have two general areas that can best be described as a cat area and a non-cat area. The non-cat area is the cafe where the drinks and food is sold. Customers can sit in the main cafe where there are no cats. There is a window in the wall that separates the two areas so that people from the cafe can still look at the cats from where they are. The cat area is the part of the establishment where the cats will be fostered, living out of the space until they get adopted. For Peralta’s Popoki and Tea, she plans to have between eight to 12 cats at the cafe, depending on the dynamics that goes with the cats.
If people want to hang out with the cats in the cafe, there will be a charge to access the cat space. Part of those proceeds will go to animal rescue, Kat Charities, that Peralta has been working with to supply the cats. The charge will also help the cafe with caring for the cats and everything that goes into operating a cat cafe. About ten guests can go into the cat area at a time where they can play with the cats, take selfies or simply do work and be around them. Peralta shares that people need to understand that there are going to be rules in place for that section of the cafe because there are animals and they want to make sure that both their guests and cats are safe.
“Our main goal is to find as many homes, as many responsible loving homes for these cats as we can. That’s really the main goal, the main purpose of the cat cafe, and we really just want to provide a positive experience for people who come into the cafe as well as for the cats. The bottom line is improving people’s lives, improving cats lives.”
Popoki and Tea plans to serve boba tea and outsource pastries form a local bake shop in Kaimuki who will provide cat themed goodies for the cat cafe. This brick and mortar will be opening up right next door to The Public Pet where Peralta has been hosting multiple pop-ups for the last year.
While the cafe is scheduled to open towards the end of this year, Popoki and Tea does its best to host monthly pop-up events at The Public Pet in Kaimuki with its next tentative event scheduled for August 31. When not preparing for the grand opening of the cat cafe, Peralta works part-time at PBS Hawaii as a multimedia producer for the last eight years.
To stay updated on Popoki and Tea, go to popokiandtea.com and follow them on social media.