We’re not kit­ten, Dartmouth’s get­ting a cat cafe

At­lantic Canada’s first cat lounge is open­ing in Dartmouth.

The Coast - - FRONT PAGE - BY RE­BECCA DING­WELL

Jody Godin had al­ways wanted to start her own busi­ness, and a cou­ple years ago she de­cided to take the leap. Af­ter jump­ing through some hoops and do­ing some crowd­fund­ing, the Lily Pad Cat Lounge (590 Port­land Street) is about to open in Dartmouth.

“I love an­i­mals, but I es­pe­cially love cats,” says Godin. She got the idea for a cat-cen­tric space as she read up on cat cafes around the coun­try, par­tic­u­larly the Catfe in Van­cou­ver. When the time came to get down to busi­ness, she found the rules around an­i­mals in food es­tab­lish­ments are much stricter here than in other prov­inces.

“It wasn’t un­til I ac­tu­ally fin­ished my busi­ness plan and stuff like that, that I re­al­ized ‘Oh, OK, so I have to change this as­pect and go on from there,’” says Godin.

As a re­sult, the lounge will be more fo­cused on cats than be­ing a cafe. Vis­i­tors first en­ter through the shop sec­tion of the store, where they can buy cat sup­plies or mer­chan­dise for them­selves: “Neck­laces, rings—things you’d want to give a crazy cat lady.” If they want a coffee or tea, there’s a self-serve sta­tion with a Keurig ma­chine.

Af­ter pay­ing an en­trance fee, it’s time to head to the lounge to meet the res­i­dent cats. The kit­ties in question are all adopt­able pets from the Nova Sco­tia SPCA. Godin’s job is to en­sure they are happy and healthy in the lounge while the SPCA pro­vides the food and vet care. If the cats need a break from peo­ple (as we all of­ten do), they can slip through a kitty door to an­other room.

A cou­ple road­blocks—in­clud­ing a power out­age—have pre­vented Lily Pad from open­ing in the last few weeks, as Godin hoped it would. She’s hop­ing things will be up and run­ning by the end of next week, if not be­fore.

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