It’s hard enough to find housing in D.C., but to find housing that’s affordable, in the perfect location and allows pets is something to kill for. Now, whether or not you have the time or the money to take care of a pet, you will still be be able to cuddle with a few furry friends with Crumbs & Whiskers, Washington’s first cat café.

The idea for the café came to Kanchan Singh when she was backpacking alone in Chiang Mai, Thailand. On her 24th birthday, friends she made took her to a cat café.

“I had never heard of it before,” she said, but as a volunteer for the Washington Humane Society, a vegetarian, and a lover of cats, she decided, “Okay, let’s go check this out.”

Now, after research and contact with the D.C. Department of Health and D.C. Board of Zoning, Singh expects one of the U.S.’s only cat cafes on the east coast to open by July 2015 at the earliest.

By next month, there will be a full website launch with pricing, merchandise and inside views on what the cafe may look like when it opens. By Jan. 2015, a Kickstarter campaign will begin in the effort to buy a bigger space along with customized furniture.

“Regardless of whether the Kickstarter is fully funded or not, we will actually be opening,” she said.

The business will work with the Washington Humane Society, the nation’s only Congressionally-chartered animal welfare agency, to foster 15 total cats. All of the cats in Crumbs & Whiskers will be up for adoption to any patrons.

With her business, Singh hopes to increase the Washington Humane Society’s adoption rate, but even if that doesn’t happen, she still sees Crumbs & Whiskers as a benefit to the community.

“Let’s say that nobody’s adopting cats. What we’d be doing is ... still taking 15 cats out of cages, which means that we’re making spots available for 15 other cats in cages,” she said, adding, “We all know that at the end of the day, they do their best to help animals, but they do have to euthanize animals because they run out of space.”

Currently, there is no set location for Crumbs & Whiskers. (UPDATE: The location may be at 3211 O Street NW in Georgetown.)

“I’m not committing to anything right now because honestly my property search is all over D.C. from Adams Morgan to Logan Circle to U Street to H Street,” Singh said.

Singh described the perfect environment for her proposed café as having “all kinds of climbing things,” boxes, indoor fountains, plants and lots of sunshine. This “cat haven” will include flour couches and hammocks for patrons to be up close and personal to the cats.

“I kind of want everyone to be on the same level, and I don’t want the cats under a couch, while people are sitting on a [full-sized] couch. That takes away the fun of the place,” she said.

To stay up-to-date on Crumbs & Whiskers, sign up for their newsletter by going to their website here.

About Michelle Goldchain

Michelle is a photojournalist who loves to live life by never sitting still. You can find her in art galleries in Dupont Circle, ethnic restaurants in Adams Morgan and comedy clubs in Arlington. In her spare time, when she's not typing away at a computer screen, she's probably listening to moody electronic music, watching cat videos or doodling.
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