Edmonton cat lovers can now get their caffeine fix in the company of their favourite creatures.
Self-professed feline fanatics Vivian Deng and Fei Xie are opening Cat Café on Whyte, the first permanent business of its kind in the city.
The new café at 10111-82nd. Ave. in the Ritchie neighbourhood will host its grand opening Thursday morning.
Xie expects a long line of customers will be waiting to claw their way through the doors.
The business has been flooded with calls and messages from customers keen to meet, and maybe adopt, their resident cats, which come from SAFE Team Animal Rescue.
'There are so many cat lovers here'
"We didn't even open yet, but our Facebook is full of followers," Xie said. "And we had one customer who told me last night, 'I know you're not open yet but I'm already in love with one of the cats.'
"It's good. It's exactly what we want to do."
The new storefront was inspired by Deng's time in Taiwan, where she visited some of the world's first cat cafés, and fell in love with the concept.
After moving to Canada 10 years ago, the husband and wife team realized that a feline-filled coffee shop was the perfect business plan for Alberta's capital city.
They leased the storefront last summer and have been busy renovating, planning and getting paperwork in place ever since.
"She's a cat person, and me as well, and we came to Edmonton and we noticed that there are so many cat lovers here," said Xie.
"And we love coffee as well so we thought, 'Why not just open up a cat café in Edmonton?' "
'They love this place'
To ensure the coffee remains safe, clean and hairball free, the storefront is divided into two separate zones.
Customers will first enter the coffee shop — where they will be served cold specialty drinks and locally roasted ACE coffee — and then the cat room, a lounge complete with a large window and plenty of feline-friendly furniture.
The cats will also be able to retreat from the buzzing customers to a 500-square-foot apartment tucked away behind the café.
The cost of a drink and an hour with the cafe's six residents cats will normally cost $15, but prices will be reduced during the first few weeks the business is open. The couple also has plans for regular special events like cat yoga classes and movie nights.
After all their hard work, Xie is happy to see the business has already earned some happy customers.
"The cats are here and they're settling in well," he said.
"I've got everything ready for them. And now that they're here, they're so happy. They're just running around, running around. It's so nice. They love this place."