In my time as a video game journalist, I’ve gone to many different PR events.
I’ve had mini-cupcakes provided by Square Enix, sampled games at Comic Con and been to showrooms at bizarrely art nouveau style hotels.
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However, getting to visit a cat café during kitten week, to see promotional material and preview the game Stray has to be one of the most fun PR events I’ve ever done.
Meow Parlour Purrs
Nestled down in NYC’s lower east side, just around the corner from a combination pickle and book shop is Meow Parlour, the first cat café in New York City. A concept that originated in Japan, cat cafes allow attendees to sit down and hang out with cats for some real de-stressing time, whilst also snacking and drinking and anything else you’d do in a regular café.
As a bonus, Meow Parlour features a line-up of all adoptable cats, which would normally find themselves in local shelters. Since the café’s inception in 2014 they have helped find homes for over 1,000 lucky cats.
Obviously, I spent the first twenty minutes of my time playing with and taking pictures of kittens, rather than talking to the Stray PR representatives like I was supposed to. This was my first time at a cat café and to be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect.
Would they be friendly? Was I supposed to feed them something? Were there specific things I needed to do? Yes, they were all very friendly, no I could not feed them despite how pleadingly I was asked for my macaron and the only specific instruction we were given was to not pick the cats up and not let them into the bathroom, though two small renegades tried their best to circumvent that last rule.
There were seats and cat toys and you were free to sit and wait for a cat to come to you or try and entice them over with a toy if you liked. The café had plenty of hiding and nap spaces for cats who didn’t feel like playing at the moment, and a window out front for the more avid people-watchers among their rank. They were all extraordinarily sweet, incredibly well socialized and just a little bit clumsy.
The Reason Why I Came
Once I was able to finally wrench myself away from the kittens and turn my attention to the digital cats in Stray, I had a blast. I had, of course, heard nothing but high praise for the game, including from our own reviewer, and I was happy to see Stray lived up to the hype.
The cats were happy too, as one that wasn’t too distracted even took the time to nose around the screen and check out what was going on, before he was promptly removed for being too close to the very expensive PS5.
From kittens posing in backpacks to sampling Stray, I absolutely have to give two paws up to Meow Parlour and Annapurna Interactive for one of the most creative and fun events I’ve been to.
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Bonus paws also go to the good work that Meow Parlour does finding homes for cats and if you’d like to learn more about that, you can check out their website here.