An Interview with Black Cat Market: PGH’s First Cat Cafe

Published On May 16, 2016 | By Leah Kennedy | Interviews

bcmThis spring, locals Olivia Ciotoli and Indigo Baloch joined forces to combine their passions for coffee, furry friends and all things Pittsburgh; and come later this year, the pals plan to launch our city’s first-ever Cat Cafe.

Originating in Japan, cat cafes allow visitors to stop by, sip coffee and enjoy the company of cute kittens.

The concept is becoming increasingly popular throughout the States, and the girls hope to engage our city’s residents with a similar vibe and feel.

bcm3Slated to open this fall, PGH’s Black Cat Market will be divided into two units–one space to chat and chow down on baked goods and beverages, and another space for customers to visit the cat colony. Here, guests are invited to kick back on the comfy furniture, socialize with cats and kittens, or even take one home!

All cats will be fully adoptable via Pittsburgh’s Animal Rescue League onsite. Additionally, the local nonprofit will assist the girls with cat colony room design and adoption services.

The girls’ Kickstarter page expresses their avid love for felines as well as their long histories with ownership. Olivia shared with us recently that it only seems natural their first official business endeavor revolves around saving cats:

“It’s honestly probably embarrassing how often we sit around admiring my cats [Timmy and Tilly] and squealing over pictures of kitties available at local shelters. We also both have a passion for helping animals and people, so it just seemed right to open a cat cafe where we could help shelter cats find homes, and help people connect with the local community.”


Photo Creds: Black Cat Market

In addition to a full-service cafe and adoption center, the ladies hope to grow the business and develop upon concepts like pet therapy and therapeutic recreation.

“We really want to open up our space to local support and therapy groups. From my experience, cats are so wonderful at helping reduce stress and anxiety… It’s also scientifically proven that petting a purring cat can promote healthy blood pressure and a general happier mood.”

In addition, the duo’s linked up with a handful of local organizations for future community benefits at Black Cat Market.

“So far we have a partnership with the University of Pitt’s Stress Free Zone, and we’ll hopefully be able to provide students with some free passes to come hang out with the kitties and relieve some stress when we open in the Fall!”

The Black Cat Market Kickstarter is open for donations until May 31–be sure to peep the preview vid for what’s in store below; and consider donating for a chance to get your paws on some sweet perks.

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