Albany Times Union
Café will offer coffee, baked goods, cats to adopt
ROTTERDAM — As a model, Rachel Anne has traveled the country and been featured on multiple magazines covers. But now the 38-year-old Niskayuna resident has a new project in her hometown of Rotterdam. Her cat cafe, the Pretty Paw Lounge, is set to open this May, she said.
A cat café is exactly as it sounds — a themed café where patrons can enjoy a coffee or a baked good while petting, playing with or just existing alongside cats. A partition will separate the bakery from the lounge where cats will roam, Anne said.
“By no means are the cats frolicking in the baked goods,” she said.
Anne shares images of construction of the café on social media, as well as photos of her cuddling with foster cats. In previous years, she has posed for cover shoots and features in magazines like Maxim, Playboy and FHM. That also meant frequent traveling, and leaving behind her four felines: Quevo, Truffle, Brooklyn and Pepper. But it didn’t necessarily mean she couldn’t see a furry friend while she was gone.
“Every time I traveled to a different state I looked up a local cat café,” she said.
Inspired by the success of cat cafés in larger cities, Anne purchased a former bank building at 370 Mariaville Road in Rotterdam last year, located one street away from where she grew up.
“I had my first savings account there when I was a kid,” she said.
Anne has partnered with Capital Region nonprofit rescue Kitten Angels, an organization she has fostered and volunteered with, who will house 10 to 15 adoptable cats in the café's lounge, she said. And yes, that does include kittens, who will be in one section while cats five months and older will be in another.
The Pretty Paw Lounge is expected to be open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday. Its website already features adoptable cat listings, as well as an Instagram account with photos
of merchandise and the upcoming café residents. It will charge $20 an hour and $15 every half-hour in the lounge. It will also host weekly adoption events for Kitten Angels, as well as offer private bookings, Anne said.
Interior work is under way. Anne hopes to take the rustic building and give it the feel of a more feminine, high-end boutique, with chandeliers, a rose wall and pink and white decor. Another section of the building is in the process of being leased to a wine and liquor seller, she said.
With the track record of other cat cafés, and the appeal to cat owners and cat lovers who can’t have one of their own, Anne is confident in the business.
If the enture is successful, she is also looking to franchise the Pretty Paw Lounge, with Saratoga Springs and Lee, Mass.
In the meantime, she is not taking modeling work, though she said she may eventually return to it.
“For right now, I want to get this business off to the right start,” she said.