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Vancouver resident wants to open city’s first cat cafe

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A cat cafe could soon be coming to a Vancouver neighbourhood near you.

Popular in Japan, cat cafes are places people can go to have a drink or snack while spending time with cats.

WATCH: A Japanese cat cafe:

Vancouver resident Michelle Furbacher wants to open Vancouver’s first cat cafe later this year.

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About a month ago, Furbacher watched a video of a cat cafe in Japan, which inspired her to open one here. “I thought that would be totally awesome if we could have something like that in Vancouver,” she said, “but totally impossible with our food and safety laws.”

However, with cat cafes opening in San Francisco and Oakland, and possibly one opening in Montreal, Furbacher said it seems logical one could open in Vancouver.

While she hasn’t found a location yet and is still hammering out a business plan, response to the idea on her Facebook page has been positive so far.

“Socializing with animals helps a lot of people de-stress and improve their mental health,” said Furbacher.

She said a lot of people, like herself, are not allowed to have pets in their building, so a cat cafe would be somewhere they could go and be around animals.

Furbacher said she has reached out to Vancouver Coastal Health to ask about opening this type of cafe, and said she may have to have only bottled drinks and pre-packaged food with no kitchen in order to comply with health and safety laws.

There would be wifi available for patrons.

The cats would come from local shelters and would be chosen based on their temperament and ability to socialize.

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“Cats are pretty solitary creatures,” said Furbacher.

For most people the biggest issue with this type of venture will be cleanliness. But Furbacher said it wouldn’t be a problem.

“It will be a really clean atmosphere,” she said. “The litter boxes will be in separate rooms, they will be cleaned regularly, well ventilated and the surfaces will be cleaned regularly.”

She said she will also talk to local shelters to figure out their best practices for keeping multiple cats in one place.

You can follow the progress of the cat cafe in Vancouver on Facebook and Twitter.