SASKATOON — Sydney Sylvester has been a pet lover ever since she learned to say the words cat and dog, a decades-long passion that led her to establish the city’s first cat café — The Purrfect Cup Cat Café located at 142 - 2nd Avenue South.
Sylvester, who adopted her first cat Angel when she was 10 years old, told SASKTODAY that this is her first time opening a storefront and she has been planning to start the café even before the pandemic. The outbreak of the coronavirus, however, pushed everything back.
“Prior to the pandemic, we had been planning. We’re looking at locations, [reading the zoning] bylaws, etc. We were close to starting our journey, but the Coronavirus hit,” said Sylvester, who is currently working to finish her second degree after completing her Bachelor of Arts and Science Honours at the University of Saskatchewan.
Now that the provincial government has ended health restrictions, their coffee shop is set to open that will not only cater to cat lovers but also fans of coffee and tasty goodies. They are looking to open by the first week of April, renovations permitting.
“We’ve ridden out the pandemic for two years and with restrictions ending, majority of the people are vaccinated and the need to open the province back up to real life. We thought, now was the ‘purrfect’ time,” Sylvester said with a smile.
She added that she decided to bring the cat café concept to Saskatoon after being a frequent visitor of similar establishments in Edmonton and in Denver before the pandemic. Their coffee shop also partnered with a rescue shelter to encourage adopting stray cats.
“They’re amazing places [cat cafes] to cuddle kitties, relax and have a coffee. I wondered why Saskatoon didn’t have one. I think people will be looking forward to a new business in Saskatoon, the first of its kind. The cats at our café will be up for adoption through the Battlefords Humane Society. All of our adoption proceeds go back to the rescue.”
Sylvester, who has four cats and a fish tank in their home, said that she plans to go to medical school but for now wants to operate and work in business at her own pace.
“I’ve wanted to open the café for a while now to have a place of work that is relaxed and easy-going. A cat café offering local baked goods and hot beverages with the goal of adopting out homeless cats,” she said.
“We will have separate treats for the cats. Our baked goods are served in the café area and patrons can decide if they want to go into the cat room with their food and beverage or they can eat them in the cafe portion before heading inside the cat area.”