Just in time for the arrival of fall, The Black Cat Market has opened in Lawrenceville!
This brand-new cat cafe is located on the 5100 block of Butler Street. Purrfect for any cat lover, the market offers a public cafe with a separate space partitioned off for guests to interact with adoptable cats.
The opening of the cafe is the culmination of years of hardwork and planning from owners Olivia Ciotoli and Indigo Baloch. The duo launched a kickstarter in May of 2016 with the goal of opening a coffee shop where guests a can interact with and enjoy the company of cats. They have been working since to get their cafe – The Black Cat Market – up and running in Pittsburgh.
The name is an ode to the fact that even in 2018, old superstitions make black cats less likely to be adopted. At The Black Cat Market, guests are reminded that all cats, including black cats, are worthy of love.
“I’ve had a number of black cats throughout my life. There is nothing different about them from other cats,” says Baloch. “Plus, there are no cats that aren’t absolutely adorable.”
Cat cafes were popularized in Japan in the early 2000s. The space is beneficial for both the customers and the cats. Humans who don’t have a cat (or just want to meet more!) have the benefit of interacting with cats, and the cats learn socialization skills to prepare them for adoption. Additionally, all of the cats at the cafe can be adopted, making The Black Cat Market a comfortable space for potential cat owners to interact with the animals before adopting. Currently, The Black Cat Market is working with local cat-rescue service Frankie’s Friends for their cats.
Though the project officially launched in 2016, as life-long cat lovers, the idea is something the owners have been passionate about for a long time.
“The summer after my junior year of college I studied abroad in Taiwan and Japan,” says Baloch. “ While I was there, I probably went to a total of 15-20 cat cafes. It was nice because it really worked my language skills, and I was able to take notes and talk with owners to see what they’ve found successful.”
The Black Cat Market is now officially open, operating under soft hours. Keep an eye on the market’s social media for updates. Anyone is welcome to drop in, grab a snack, and play with the cats. Currently, the cafe is only able to offer pre-packed food and drinks. Moving forward, they plan to work with local vendors to serve a wide range of inclusive foods with many vegan and gluten-free options.
The market is also finalizing their hours for the space. They currently hope to be open daily from 11:00 A.M. – 7:00 P.M., with a small break in the middle for the animals to enjoy a cat nap.
The Black Cat Market uses an online reservation system on their website for guests to schedule time with the cats. Drop-ins are also welcome, though the market recommends larger parties make a reservation before coming by.
“It’s all been good and exciting,” says Baloch of the soft opening. “Everyone who has come in has been so kind and excited. We are so happy to be at this point and finally have it open.”
The owners also plan to use the space to host community events.
“We’re eager to finally have a space to share. Throughout this entire process, we’ve received nonstop support each and we are ready to give it back.”
The Black Cat Market (5171 Butler St)