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Here's how two residents say a business that combines cats and coffee could help Topeka - The Topeka Capital-Journal

Author: The Topeka Capital

Source: https://www.cjonline.com/story/business/2023/10/30/residents-say-a-business-that-combines-cats-and-coffee-may-help-topeka/71236967007/

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Cats and coffee?These budding entrepreneurs say that's the perfect combination for their future business in Topeka.April Liang and Toni Fowler hope to bring the first cat café to the capital city dubbed the Topeka Cat Café.The café would be designed with two separate areas for cats and cat lovers.Fowler said having the café in Topeka would help control the city's cat population and overcrowding at shelters.“We just want to help adopt some of those cats and help other people be able to spend time with cats that wouldn't normally be able to,” Fowler said.How would the Topeka Cat Cafe operate?A glass window would separate two areas of the facility, Liang said.“So, if you're just visiting the cafe, then you can still watch the cats and experience that because some people maybe don't want to pay to go into the lounge or hang out there," she said, "but they want to watch them or they’re allergic.This allows everybody to kind of support it without being directly involved with the cats.”Visitors wouldn't be allowed to bring their own cats or kittens into the business.This Topeka-based tea shop is expanding its reach to Washburn University's campusThough this would be the first cat café in Topeka, these cafés are no stranger to Kansas or around the world.With places like Espurresso Cat Café in Lawrence, Second Cup Cat Café in Olathe or The Glass Cat Café in Kansas City, all offering a space for cats and cat lovers.“They really play a crucial role in addressing overpopulation and shelters," LIang said. "And shelters often lack the staff and space needed to accommodate all the cats in need.So, we would be acting like a foster home."And we would be providing safe and comfortable environment for those cats to live as well as a community hub where we're raising awareness about cat adoption and increasing those adoptions.”The women anticipate working closely with local animal shelters to assist with sheltering and adopting out the cats.What's the next step for the future owners of the Topeka Cat Cafe?Fowler and Liang are looking for a location to begin their business.They are also seeking a coffee business partnership as they’d like it to be local.“Other than that, we are starting the process of searching for funding and sponsorships and growing our social media,” Fowlers said.Topeka couple leading God's Storehouse wants to be a political pair in Kansas StatehouseLiang is the co-owner of the Liang Real Estate Group and founder of Topeka’s Generosity Network.Fowler previously worked at Helping Hands Humane Society of Lawrence and is an accountant.She is starting an online clothing business where half of proceeds will go towards helping animals, she said.The women said their business experiences complement the other well."We knew each other from our high school days many years ago but hadn't seen each other for a whole 12 years. It was a chance encounter on a national cat cafe Facebook group that brought us back together," their website said.Fowler shared her dream of opening a cat cafe in this Facebook group, and that post appeared on Liang's feed less than an hour later.Keishera Lately is the business reporter for the Topeka Capital-Journal.She can be reached at [email protected] her on Twitter @Lately_KT.FacebookTwitterEmail

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