Pittsburgh's First Cat Cafe Meets $20K Kickstarter Goal

Jun 2, 2016

Pittsburgh is one paw closer to welcoming its first cat café. 

Black Cat Market co-founders Olivia Ciotoli and Indigo Baloch passed their Kickstarter fundraising goal of $20,000 with help from more than 686 backers by early Thursday. Donations earned rewards like logo stickers, free drinks and travel mugs. 

Ciotoli said she can’t believe how much interest it’s gotten. 

“I was honestly, like, pretty shocked and overwhelmed. Me and Indigo, you know, we thought that we would get pretty close," Ciotoli said. "But it’s kind of been a pretty big deal. There’s been random people that I’ll talk to and they’ll be like, ‘Wait, are you the cat café girl?’”

Black Cat Market co-founders Olivia Ciotoli and Indigo Baloch say they'll base their cat rooms on the Animal Rescue League's "Cat Colony Room."
Credit Black Cat Market / Kickstarter.com

The pair said they hope to open in the fall. Coffee shop-style drinks and snacks will be on sale in a separate area, Ciotoli said. 

“My next step right now is to start looking for a location for it,” she said. “We have it planned to be in Lawrenceville, most likely …. And then beyond that, I guess moving everything in.” 

Depending on the size of the space, Ciotoli said they’ll probably have four or five Animal Rescue League cats living in each room, all of which will be adoptable. 

“They’re actually going to train us in their adoptions,” Ciotoli said. “So we can actually adopt the cats out pretty much on the spot. They’re going to provide us with a group of cats that would kind of, like, thrive in that situation.” 

Animal Rescue League Executive Director Dan Rossi said it will be a great help to his shelter, which takes in about 4,000 cats each year – about two-thirds of the animals it serves. Plus, he said, having the cats outside of the shelter means they’ll be exposed to people who hadn’t considered adopting. 

“It’s great exposure for our cats,” he said. “If we can get even one more cat a week or a month adopted, that helps us out.”