Las Vegas woman hopes to get kitties new homes by opening cat cafe

Cat cafes have opened around the country in recent years but Nevada still does not have one of its own.

Mackenzie Smith recently launched a Kickstarter to open Purrlieu.

"I visited cat cafes before and I always loved how happy the cats were," she said.

Cat cafes generally provide people with the opportunity to be in a cafe with coffee and treats but enjoy the company of kitties, who are residents at the cafe until they are adopted.

"That's the main goal is to get as many adoptions as possible and get as many cats off the streets as possible," Smith said.

Smith has already been in talks with the Animal Foundation to include its cats among those in the cafe, along with Heaven Can Wait Animal Society and the Nevada SPCA. She'd like to focus on adult cats, which are less likely to get adopted, and as Purrlieu grows, take in special needs cats as well.

Smith's proposed location is near UNLV, due to its central location in Las Vegas but also to provide "cat therapy" to students and others.

"A good thing about cat cafes is it creates a relaxing environment," she said. "People in this town are stressed and cat cafes tend to give people relief and cat therapy and pet therapy."

Smith hopes to involve the community in the Kickstarter campaign, which runs through Sept. 1.

"I'd like Las Vegas cat cafe to be sort of a community effort and what they want and what they're looking for and you know, what do they like versus what they'd don't like," she said.

Smith still plans to open Purrlieu if the Kickstarter campaign doesn't meet its goal of $20,000, but it's going to take a lot longer for the cafe to open. Smith would like to have the cafe open by the end of the year.

In her Kickstarter, she has also gauged the community's interest in Caturday events every Saturday once the cafe opens. This would include cat yoga, art and kittens and holiday events.

"Vegas is a big enough city, why not have a cat cafe that has a little bit of everything?" Smith said. "That's what we're looking to open."

Of course, the name Purrlieu is a pun of the word purr, but the word itself is defined as the area near or surrounding a place.

"We're not on the Strip but we're sort of surrounding the Strip. It represents a different side of Vegas," Smith said. "Because when you think of Vegas, you immediately think of the Strip. We're a lot more than that. So I wanted to pick a name that represented the outside and not what you initially think of when you think of Vegas."

Depending on the space where Purrlieu will open, Smith anticipates between 8 and 20 cats in the cafe on any given day.

"It's their home until they get a forever home," she said.

The number of patrons in the cafe will be limited to not overwhelm the cats but there will not be time limits on how long they can be inside unlike some other cat cafes nationwide.

There will also be a one-time fee for customers, not based on the hour. Purrlieu will also have memberships for people who would like to return regularly.

While Smith would like to be the first cat cafe in Las Vegas, she ultimately wants to get cats off the street and into new homes.

For more details on Purrlieu, check out its website, Facebook and Kickstarter.

Meow or Never Cat Cafe is also in the process of opening Las Vegas' first cat cafe.

13 Action News received permission from Purrlieu to use the Kickstarter video.

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