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Soft opening of Saskatoon's first cat café Saturday

Sydney Sylvester and her staff are ready to welcome coffee and feline lovers.

SASKATOON — The city’s first cat-themed café will have a soft opening on Saturday, May 21.

Construction and other renovations had delayed the store from fully operating for almost two months. The Purrfect Cup Café was supposed to open in the first week of April.

Owner Sydney Sylvester told work is almost complete but they chose to do a soft opening as a way to test their operations and make improvements along the way.

“It is better to do a soft opening so we can get feedback from our future customers — and for myself, my fiancé Casey and our other employees to get used to our new jobs and roles,” said Sylvester.

“We will need to learn and iron out any bumps in the adoption process, sales of items and making the drinks,” she added as the cat café, located at 142 - 2nd Ave. S. downtown, will also offer cat adoption in partnership with the Battlefords Humane Society.

She said that construction is almost 90 per cent complete which would allow them to open the cafe and function normally, as they expect all renovation and other building work will be done in one more week or less.

“Delays to our opening included waiting for our building permit to be issued, the electrician and plumber to finish their work and construction, in general, took longer than we anticipated. There were a few hiccups during renovations that we had to work around,” said Sylvester.

Sylvester, who has four cats and a fish tank in her home, said electronics supply also became an issue, especially for their point-of-sale systems.

“We have mainly had supply issues for our electronics … There was a shortage of microchips a while back and it was hard to find our POS components,” she said.

Sylvester has had a decades-long passion for pets since she can remember pronouncing the words cat and dog as a child. She adopted her first cat, Angel, when she was 10 years old.

She has been planning to start the café even before the pandemic, carefully studying the locations and zoning bylaws. But the outbreak of the coronavirus pushed everything back.

They are now set to open a shop that will not only cater to cat lovers but also fans of coffee and tasty baked goodies. There will be separate treats for cats. Cat owners and other patrons can choose 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.

She decided to bring the cat café concept to Saskatoon after being a frequent visitor of similar establishments in Edmonton. Alta. and Denver. Colo. before the pandemic.