MEOW is Time to Start Crowdfunding Campaign, Says Arizona’s First Cat Cafe Owner

For just 10 dollars, patrons of the newest lounges in Tempe won’t be offered food or drinks, but can spend an hour playing with “Moonchi,” “Drew Berry” or the dozen or so other cats at La Gattara.

Arizona’s first cat café, which provides customers with a place to hang out with cats or shop for furry-themed merchandise, opened late last year with the help of a crowdfunding campaign. Now, the owner of La Gattara – or crazy cat lady in Italian – is out to raise $10,000 through crowdfunding to comply with local building codes which require a wall to separate the cats and boutique.

Small Business Start-Up Cat Cafe

Melissa Pruit said she fell upon the idea for a cat café after 20 years in apartment management where she would find strays or cats that former tenants had left behind. Instead of relying on just her money to care for the cats, Pruitt raised $18,000 in her first crowdfunding campaign in 2016, enough to open La Gattara.

Libby Hikind, founder and CEO of the free crowdfunding platform, said crowdfunding can provide enough money to overcome the most challenging aspects of getting a small business off the ground. Small businesses can take advantage of a crowdfunding campaign to solicit funds directly from their customer base. To serious-minded entrepreneurs, who are willing to invest their time to secure support, she suggested these simple tips to consider while developing a YouHelp campaign:

  • Only one-third of all crowdfunding campaigns succeed; so be prepared to learn from past mistakes and try again;
  • By creating a more urgent need, shorter crowdfunding campaigns are likelier to achieve goals;
  • Set realistic goals to crowdfund for only the amount of money that is required of the project.

Pruitt said because she is good with business, people and animals, the cat café was the purr-fect fit for a career change. She said her small business saves the lives of hundreds of cats that might otherwise been euthanized.

Cat cafés got their start in Taiwan in 1998, and spread to Japan, where many residents live in apartments that don’t allow pets. These alternative coffee shops that permit felines to roam about the dining area have now popped up across the United States and Canada. Most of the cafes also serve as adoption centers.

And some including Community SEEDS will try crowdfunding to get these unique businesses started. The Washington-based nonprofit devoted to enhancing the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, hopes to rally support through crowdfunding to open a cat café in Yakima, considered the first of its kind east of the Cascade mountain range.

Community SEEDS, which received $75,000 in start-up funds from the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services believes the proposed café will not only encourage adoptions at local pet shelters, but also provide jobs to deserving adults with disabilities., a free fundraising website, offers the best in crowdfunding capabilities to forward-thinking nonprofits, small businesses, entrepreneurs, and individuals seeking to generate revenue and awareness for capital building campaigns. The YouHelp process is simple: create a profile, a fundraising goal, add high resolution images and a compelling message that prospects will find worthwhile — and launch. If the idea is deserving, and the campaign is promoted properly, contributors will pledge their support.

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