A little under three weeks ago, Charm Kitty Café, Baltimore’s first cat café, launched a Kickstarter campaign. And though the project’s initial goal was $5,000, seven days later, it had raised $20,000 from more than 400 backers.
“Honestly, the best way to describe it is that I never felt so overwhelmed, in the best way possible!” said Cam Tucker the founder of Charm Kitty Café. “The first day, we ended up reaching over $2,000, and I was already very happy. Then, the next morning, I checked my phone and had hundreds of notifications about all the people who had donated. It was so amazing!”
At the café and co-working space, which will be located in Hampden’s Whitehall Mill, cat enthusiasts will have an opportunity to sip coffee alongside feline friends. Charm Kitty will also benefit a great cause—the café has joined together with the Baltimore Humane Society to ensure that all the cats Charm Kitty will be available for adoption. For the chosen cats, Charm Kitty Café will serve as a foster home until they find their new families.
“There are a lot of great organizations in the area that do great work for animals,” said Tucker. “But it’s really exciting to be working with the Baltimore Humane Society, especially because they were so excited about the idea.”
In addition its partnership with the Baltimore Humane Society, Charm Kitty is collaborating with Zeke’s Coffee, a family-owned coffee roaster in Baltimore. (According to the company’s Kickstarter page, Charm Kitty will craft all drinks in a separate area from the cat space.)
Tucker has been thinking about opening a cat café in Baltimore for a while. Originally from Colorado, he moved to Maryland to attend school and has been living in Baltimore for 3 years. Over the last few years, Tucker visited numerous cat cafés located everywhere from Vienna to Washington D.C.
“I kept on asking myself why Baltimore couldn’t have its own cat café. It’s such a great idea and really does benefit the cats! I started making plans for Charm Kitty about a year ago,” said Tucker.
However, Tucker hopes that Charm Kitty’s unique structure and programming will help to differentiate the café. Some cat cafés only allow guests to stay for limited periods of time. However, on weekdays, Charm Kitty will function as a co-working space with unlimited stays. (Tucker also plans for the café to host special gatherings, including private parties and movie nights.)
Despite his excitement for Charm Kitty, Tucker stressed that the café has faced some challenges.
“One of the biggest issue’s I’ve in starting the café has been trying to find a space,” he said. “So many of the landlords would say that they really did not want cats.’”
Despite less than purr-fect reception, Charm Kitty has found a home at Whitehall Mill, with a projected opening in the fall. Meanwhile, interested cat lovers can still donate to the café’s Kickstarter page. Depending on the amount contributed, backers can receive perks like Charm Kitty Merchandise, tickets to the Charm Kitty launch party and access to the café before it opens to the public.
Ultimately, Tucker hopes that the café will be a great space for visitors to build community and bond with cats.
“I want Charm Kitty to be somewhere where cat owners, people looking to adopt a cat, and people who just love cats can come and spend time with them!”