Kittywinkles is Belfast’s first cat lounge, a super-relaxed space for people who love cats, coffee and cake!
About this project
Kittywinkles will be a cat lounge based in Belfast. We are aiming to create a super-relaxed zone for animal-lovers who crave hot beverages and cat hair. The lounge cats will nap or play or plot world domination and might wander onto your lap for a tum-scratch. Please obey!
What’s a cat lounge?
Cat cafés originated in Taiwan in the late ’90s, they are pretty commonplace these days but not in Ireland. We know it’s hard to find an understanding landlord who will let you keep a cat nearby in your home or under your bed. It’s a shame but that’s where we can help.
At Kittywinkles you can lounge and laze and lol amongst a few friendly cats. Sip your tea, connect to the WiFi and admire the very small, hairy mammals.
How does it work?
1. Book your visit online at our website.
2. Be super excited and tell everyone you’re going.
3. Arrive bright-eyed and fluffy-tailed.
4. Kick off your shoes and cuddle a kitty.
Who would visit Kittywinkles?
We expect to see lots of different people come through our doors when we open, humans who:
- love cats (of course!)
- love cats but are too busy to own one
- love cats but aren’t allowed to have them in their homes
- live with other humans who have cat allergies. Achoo!
Hiya! I’m Caitlin (or Kitty). I’ve always been a cat-person and you’re probably one too. Here I am, barefoot and surrounded by cats in the mid-90s, that’s the dream, isn’t it?
Not too much has changed, I still love cats, but these days I wear shoes.
Living in Belfast I found it difficult to keep pet cats at my rented accommodation and I’ve found others have experienced this, too. I first came across cat cafés 2 years ago and fell in love with the concept. It wasn’t until they started popping up in the UK that I eventually got to experience a visit for myself, which is what led me to develop my idea for Kittywinkles.
For the past 8 months I have been working on bringing this project to life. With the help of some fantastically talented buddies I’m ready to take the next step and share my plans with Kickstarter.
Meet the clowder of cats behind Kittywinkles
There’s a few people involved in bringing this idea to life…
- Caitlin McClelland – Founder/Top Cat
- Jonny Campbell – Design/Marketing
- Filly Campbell – Photography
And we have lots of help and support from Joe, Sara and Charlie Fox.
We have run our plans past Belfast City Council, we have floor plans for our ideal space, we have been talking to numerous shelters and rehoming services and taking their advice onboard, some of the lil’ kittywinkles are waiting to move into their new home and check out our fancy buns!
Now we need your help to make it real.
If we’re successful and everything goes to plan here’s how the timeline of events will look:
- 24th June – Kickstarter campaign comes to an end.
- 8th July – Final funds will be transferred to Kittywinkles.
- Late July/August – We would hope to have the Kittywinkles space locked in, the signature on the dotted line and we can then begin the catification (i.e. fit out).
- Late August/Early September – We will be introducing the cat residents to the lounge and inviting kitty critics and backers to visit.
- September – Backer visits and launch party.
- September/October – Open to the public!
We have been visiting locations over the past 4 months and we’ve found some great spaces but we’re unable to make any more progress until we have funds though that hasn’t stopped us from mocking up the floor plans for our ideal space.
Our Kickstarter goal of £20,000 is the absolute minimum amount we need to get up and running. We have big ideas and we’ll be using every penny to make Kittywinkles amazing.
Where will the funds go?
The more funds we can raise the better we’ll be able to make Kittywinkles for everyone, cats and humans alike. If we raise more than we need we can get a bigger and better space and we can do lots of fun things too:
At £25k we can create a cat utopia: kitty bridges in the sky, cat trees and lots of cool board games and books for visitors.
At £30k we can add mini drinking fountains for the resident cats to drink out of AND a giant cat flap for humans to use (c’mon, isn’t that alone worth it?).
At £35k we can upgrade the whole shebang: bigger and better premises meaning more cats, fancy new drinks and treats from far-away lands and, if the space permits it, an outdoor sun garden for kitties.
Tiers (of joy!)
We have put together a list of rewards we hope you’ll love. Check the reward section (☞) for bookings. Every backer will be part of our exclusive Kittywinkles Kickstarter Club and will have access to limited specials, exclusive tastings and first dibs on some very special merchandise.
We also made some fun things you can hold!
We have a add-on rewards for you to choose from too. These rewards are unlocked when you pledge at least £10. You can select an add-on by doing the following after pledging:
1. Click the “manage your pledge” button on our page and add the amount for each add-on reward you want to your TOTAL PLEDGE.
2. When the campaign is over, you’ll tell us which add-ons you want.
3. Save your pledge and don’t change the tier that you originally pledged at.
Add-on rewards can be picked up from Kittywinkles Cat Lounge on your visit.
Kittywinkles Badges +£2.50
The Trump Dump +£4
“Make litter boxes great again with The Trump Dump. #TrumpDump2016”
Does your kitty hate using the litter tray? Introducing the The Trump Dump. Your kitty will have no trouble using their tray when they know that stinky face is hiding underneath.
Kittywinkles Transport Receptacle for Oral Caffeination* +£7
An exclusive piece of Kittywinkles treasure with timeless elegance and enduring strength. Hipsters love ’em! (*Enamel coffee mug)
Kittywinkles Leg Warmers +£11
If you’ve somehow been able to get a leotard onto your cat and teach it an ’80s aerobics routine then the next step is Kittywinkles Leg Warmers for Tiny Kitty Legs. There are 2 styles to choose from and colours may vary.
As these are all handmade, by me, delivery dates may vary depending on demand. Novelty purposes only, but I’d love to see you try!
Kittywinkles Kitten Mittens +£14
Hand-knitted wooly mittens for kittens and cats. Can also be used as candlestick warmers. Novelty purposes only. Putting shoes on a cat is an extreme sport in some countries. There are 3 styles to choose from; Kittywinkles Originals, Sports Socks or Uggly Boots.
Kittywinkles Kit-Tee +£20
Don a Kittywinkles T-shirt and be the envy of all your friends.
We think our city is ready for a cat café and now we need your help to bring Belfast’s first cat lounge to life. Whether you’re having a catch-up with friends, need a chilled-out place to unwind, or just want to spend some quality time with little kitties, Kittywinkles will be yours but we can only do it with your support.
Thank you all for reading our story. Please pledge whatever you can, and most importantly, please help us share this campaign, so that together we can bring this project to life!
Find out more
It just rolls off the tongue, that’s why!
Will you find all these cats in the forest?
Nope, not this time! The animal shelters in Northern Ireland do an amazing job at caring for and rehoming cats and I decided I wanted to adopt a small herd of them for myself (but I’ll share with you). Adopting an animal is a cool thing to do but if your landlord/mum/narcissistic goldfish doesn’t like the idea then you can visit the Kittywinkles’ cats whenever you like! It’s our aim to provide our cats with a happy, permanent and enriched environment.
I can haz?
No, iz mine.
Do you need any spare cats?
Welllll… no-but-I’d-take-them-all-if-I-could. These cats are a tight-knit gang and newcomers would have to complete a gruelling gladiator-style initiation.
But… I can pet a cat for free if I leave a trail of cat treats to my front door.
‘Course you can! But these kitties will be waiting for you AND we have FANCY TEA! The admission charge keeps these cats in fine satin robes and pedicures (and food and vet checks).
I need to pick up that cat. Discuss.
Trust me, if you plonk yourself down with a coffee the cats will approach you. Just… Stop doing that creepy smile.
I’m on a diet and I’m not allowed to eat cat hair for 6 weeks. What else can I have?
Good news! The café area will be a strictly kitty-free zone and, hopefully, so will the bathroom.
Aren’t cats meant to be free to frolic on hillsides?
After being domesticated for 9500 years, cats are happy to live in pampered luxury. There will be loads of safe spaces in the café and the staff will be watching to make sure they’re happy and calm.
I need more time, please!
You will be able to book the cat lounge for parties and occasions, just contact us! And if you just need an escape from your catless, coffeeless home, you can book as much time as you like and lounge amongst cats and WiFi all day long.
I also love cats, can I join the Kittywinkles clowder?
Yes! Well, maybe. If our project is successful we will be looking for cat-loving staff and volunteers with experience working in a catful/café environment to join us. Please get in touch if that’s you: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have a question for us send it through and we’ll add it to the list.
Risks and challenges
We’re confident about what lies ahead and the steps we need to take to open Kittywinkles and for it to be amazing. Finding the appropriate premises is really important and we have earmarked a few spaces that would be perfect. We’ll be exploring them further should we meet our goal.
We are also trying something new in Belfast, we don’t know how successful a cat lounge will be. Does Belfast love cats as much as we do!? We suspect, yes. We want to build something genuinely unique for our community and for our visitors.
No matter what, we’ll keep you updated along the way.