Mark this day in your calendars, for it will forever be a day of mourning. It is the day when we as a society are forced to confront the fact that the novelty inclusion of live cats in a business model is not enough in and of itself to keep a company financially viable. Dublin's first, and currently only, cat café is set to close its doors on 31 August.
The Cat Lounge in Smithfield, owned by Georgia O'Neill, first allowed people to sample its wares in the presence of a, frankly distressingly large, number of cats - 55 in total. Since opening on 10 October 2017, they have enjoyed "major success" and have raised money for various rescue services and have helped rehome the 55 cats.
Ms. O'Neill said that, unfortunately she had accrued some "very big debts" in the course of running the Cat Lounge.
Unfortunately, cats alone in a business is not enough to cover costs and I have suffered some very big debts trying to keep going, telling myself that it will get better. It hasn’t gotten better, and I have had to make the very hard decision to close Cat Lounge.
On a personal note, I am heartbroken this must happen, but I know it is for the best. I will continue to work towards opening a café but that might be a few years away. I will continue to help the rescues any way I can and for the love of cats I hope you do too.
Like all dreamers, like all pioneers, she is perhaps ahead of her time. Dublin, it seems, is not quite ready to allow a cat café to become financially sustainable. Perhaps one day it will, but today - July 11th 2018, is not that day.
H/T: Breaking News.ie