Throwback, people. It was DC summer in 2016, the presidential race was like WHOA, and the C&W crew had just celebrated our one-year anniversary! And a to-die-for little lady joined the Crumbs and Whiskers cat family.
Mimi’s stripes and her golden eyes were UN-FOR-GET-A-BLE feline magic...
...and she was adopted like that by the lovely Sam and her husband.
We caught up with Mimi to find out how she weathered the winter and what’s up post-C&W.
What was it about Mimi that caught your attention at C&W?
I first noticed how beautiful her markings were! She was also so dainty and small – the opposite of our other cat, Grayson.
How did you decide to adopt Mimi?
Mimi sat next to me and we started to play. She was so tiny, but SO feisty! I thought she would be a perfect companion for our cat, Grayson. He can be gruff, but I thought Mimi could hold her own against him – and she has! Total boss lady cat.
Aaaand, she fell asleep next to me while I petted her head. I really loved that the outline of her nose, gums and bottoms of her paws are black. So much to love. So unique!
How did Mimi react to coming to her new house?
She adjusted right away. We tried to keep her and Grayson apart for a few days, but often my husband or myself would come home and find that Grayson had busted her out! #FREEDOM
They were so curious about each other and just wanted to meet!
How is Mimi getting along with the other hooman(s) in her life? What is her relationship now with Grayson?
She loves my husband and myself and she definitely doesn’t shy away from visitors. She love, love, LOVES to cuddle. Every night while I get ready for bed she curls right up next to Eric (my husband). So that’s just great for us.
When she first came home, it was a slow adjustment for our cat, Grayson.
He had been king of the castle for two years, but I knew that Mimi would be a good match for him.
He is a rough player and, frankly, needed someone to keep him company (and exercise him) during the day while my husband and I are at work. They play together, lay near each other and even share the windowsill sometimes! I don’t suspect they’ll start napping with each other any time soon, but they are getting along which makes us happy!
Anything unexpected since Mimi came home?
She scratches more than other cats I’ve known or had in the past. We had to wrap a few of our stair banisters in sisal rope to give her more scratching surfaces. She LOVES her actual scratching post and her favorite toys are feather tassels to chase.
What’s the best part of your daily life with Mimi?
In addition to her routine of taking up MY side of the bed while I’m getting ready to get into it (doesn’t every cat do this??) every morning when I wake up for work I greet her with a “Good morning, Girlie” and she chirps back. I love her little chirps and purrs when she sees me!
She also loves to walk figure-8s through my legs when I’m brushing my teeth.
So, here’s a random question that helps us get to know Miss Mimi: if she were an ice cream flavor, what would she be and why?
Mimi would be moose tracks. Not only because of her swirly coat, but because she’s so sweet and in so many different ways!
Mimi is just one of the 291 total cat adoptions at Crumbs & Whiskers DC and LA!!! So. Many. Adoptions. We are always excited to share the Where Are They Meow? stories because awesome visitors like Sam, who fall in love with our foster cats and take them to their furrever homes, make the whole Crumbs & Whiskers life possible. MUAH! You're the BEST!
DC has some mad talented lady bosses, and Siobhan Young is no exception. You've probably seen her multi-hued hair in the DC cat cafe, or had your picture taken by her as you came to adopt your new purrbaby, but did you know that Siobhan is our in-house DC photographer extraordinaire?! Like, WHAAAT?!
When did you start working for C&W? What drew you to the cafe? (and what keeps you there in this cah-razy Crumbs and Whiskers life?)
I started working for C&W about 6 months after it opened. I had been following it since the Kickstarter and was a fan from the beginning, I basically stalked them online. I was in the bath after a rough day, and saw the Instagram post that they were hiring. I jumped out of the bath and didn’t even grab a towel.
I sat on the couch dripping wet and naked as the day I was born and told myself that I would not even review my application after I wrote it. My heart and personality was going to go into it, and the rest was out of my hands. I was certain I would either connect with the person reviewing the applications, or scare them away. I’m glad it was the former!
Sooo...are the C&W cats the ONLY cats in your life?
Are you kidding?! Of COURSE not. Currently, I have 3 cats. They are all from a feral colony I am taking care of and TNVR (Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate, Release). They are all special needs!
Leliana is the oldest, and the one who got me into this rescue mission. She is a 4-year-old Torbie. I worked on socializing her for months before she would even let me near her. I would feed her and sit down beside her food bowls with my morning coffee and talk to her. She is my heart! Her nickname is the Budderlamb and when she wants attention especially during my dinnertime, she will roll on the ground and “get buttery”. She began my love of socializing feral and hard to adopt cats. I love seeing them blossom into their personalities!
Penélope is a Russian Blue who came to us while Leliana was weaning her kittens. I was taking my husband out on a fancy date because he had been SO patient with me turning our place and lives upside down to rescue Leliana and her kittens. Standing by his car was a young girl crying and holding a tiny, grey 3-week-old kitten. She found the kitten but her mom wouldn’t let her keep it. I looked at my husband and he knew what I had to do, so our fancy date ended up being us at PetSmart picking up supplies dressed to the nines! Penelope has a double coat and when she wants attention we say she is “getting stormy” because she looks like a little storm cloud all puffed up.
Neville Lincoln was born on Easter Sunday 2016. He was born outside into the feral colony with two other siblings. He is the only surviving one of his litter. For Nev, we worked closely with Meow Stories Rescue to TNVR him, but since I had socialized him in the colony we ended up fostering him until he was healthy enough to be adopted out.
That day… never came. Plagued with repeat URIs and random debilitating illness to his system, he never got healthy enough to go to an adoption event. Neville was diagnosed with eosinophilic granuloma complex and is on steroids every other day.
My husband fell in love with this sad little cuddle bug and is often caught spooning with him instead of me (totally not jealous, whatever…) and on Christmas morning I surprised him with the adoption papers and a Gryffindor collar complete with Swarovski crystal Philosophers stone. (Fancy Neville!) He does NOT appreciate you showering without him so now every day we go to the “salon” and he gets in the sink for his hair brushes.
Soooo… obviously, I can talk a LOT about my cats… if you ever visit me at C&W, I will be more than happy to regale you in stories!
When did you become interested in photography?
I became interested in photography when I was about 12. My friends and I would buy disposable cameras and do “model fashion” shoots at the playground. Thank goodness the internet was not a common thing back then, and all the evidence of our awkward selves has been destroyed! I eventually graduated to owning my own Nikon FG film camera at 14 years old and my love for capturing moments around me grew.
Do you have your own photography business? What inspired you to make the move from hobby to business?
Yes! I have my own photography business – Siobhan Young Photography. I shoot weddings, events and portraits.
I was kind of forced into taking it from a hobby to a business when I moved from Canada to the USA. I moved during the recession and had a very hard time finding a job in the middle of small town Virginia.The only way for me to control income was by taking a risk!
Photography was truly my passion and it’s what I pursued in college, but I had a hard time valuing myself. Eventually I learned that my time, education and experience was worth taking the leap into full time!
What are some challenges in photographing animals? The cats at C&W?
You work on their schedule! As models, they choose when they want to be awake, eating, playing etc! So, you work with what they give you! You also must have a fast lens and good understanding of your equipment and photography. You must never use a direct flash in their sensitive eyes; I work with natural light and every so often a bounce flash that is not directed at them.
For Crumbs and Whiskers, we are constantly doing more fun out of the box photo shoots with our fosters! Sometimes we go in with a concept of what we want to do for shoots and the cats just aren’t on board so you must be flexible and work with that. In the end – we are photographing cats so what can be better!
What are typical photo shoots like?
So, a typical photo shoot at Crumbs and Whiskers IS CHA-OS.
We do one model shoot a month where models can come for a 4 hour reservation when we are closed and have me flutter around them taking photos of them drinking coffee with the kitties! (By the way, if you want to apply to be a model for CW send your head shot to firstname.lastname@example.org!)
This is the best way to get the cats and humans comfortable by basically giving them space and time to play and snuggle! Myself, on the other hand, will be a sweaty mess and you will definitely hear me swear a lot while someone from the staff makes sure I don’t fall to my death while trying to balance one-legged on a stool.
I generally work with an assistant by my side who carries around a fanny pack of toys and treats to get the cats’ attention. Since my assistant is usually staff, they also know the cats very well and know their favorite toys and treats!
If we need something very specific or unusual we will bribe them with a treat. Those cute yoga downward dog kissing photos? They were at the expense of the models actually sticking a treat in their mouth in exchange for kitty kisses!
Do any of the C&W cats loooove costumes? Love to mug for the camera?
Well, we never dress a cat in a costume if it is going to stress them out. The only cats we have dressed in costumes are ones that genuinely don’t care. It’s not that they looooove it, they just DGAF.
We have some super chill cats that let us do stupid things that amuse us and help promote events to get them exposure and adopted! We had an ugly sweater Christmas party and I think the cats thought it was a super snuggle sweater party since they were all so warm and cozy.
Yes, the rumors are true, there has, in fact, been super top secret cat fashion shows that happen between 2-4 am when staff is pulling all-nighters and things get weird. (Real weird.)
Do you have tips for those of us at home wanting to take good pictures of our pets?
Other than investing in equipment and education, a few simple things that can help change your pet photos are:
1. Get on their level.
2. Get that beautiful window light for softness and depth.
3. Get them to look towards the light to get a beautiful reflection in their eyes.
4. Focus on the eyes, not the nose (unless you are going to a nose photo which is also very cute!)
5. Photograph the things you want to remember about them. The details of their little jelly bean feet, the way the sun hits their beautiful whiskers, etc.
Do you have a favorite photoshoot?
Every photo shoot is so different that they each have their moments. Favorite shots can range from hilarious times where cats jump on someone’s booty during the yoga shoots or a quiet moment where a cat boops noses with someone.
My favorite photos are usually ones where a cat is bleppin’.
For those who don’t know: a blep is when a cat sticks their tongue out. I make some crazy squeals when I get a blep shot. Someone told me that they found one of my photos on the subreddit r/blep and it was probably the highlight of my career.
You're Canadian. Do Canadians and Americans have different relationships with their pets?
Yes. For instance, in Canada we feed our cats a strict diet of maple syrup and beer. If your cat doesn’t watch hockey playoffs with you, you trade it in for a moose. Moose love hockey.
You can catch Siobhan behind the lens at Crumbs and Whiskers DC.
At Crumbs and Whiskers, the cats are always walking all over our laptops and curling up on our Macs, and just generally being adorable and "helping" us to be productive by staring up at us with big eyes and demanding cuddles...
...but we rarely see them actually type something out! Y’all remember Cinnamon? Well, she’s a #BOSSCAT who wanted to write her own blog post about her life in adoption after Crumbs & Whiskers.
HIIIIIIIII! I’m Cinnamon the one-year old domestic shorthair white & black amazing cat! HELLLLOOOO DC!!
I know you missed me like cah-razy! YAAAAS it is true I am gorgeous. I mean, just look at my ears. My pink nose. You wouldn’t be wrong to just wanna give me chin scratches all. day. long.
Which is how I found my furrever human, Anna, about a month ago. I wanted to tell you all about how I won her heart and love my new home! I’m kinda new to this computer typing thing, but I have LOADS of ideas and thoughts and wanna share them - if I don’t, like, take a nap first.
(This is me and my new hooman, Anna, on the day that I was adopted.)
My adorableness and jumping prowess were what likely caught Anna’s attention at Crumbs & Whiskers. Not to mention I love cuddling humans AND have a melodic purr and the cutest meow that makes them squeal. (Kittens, take note. All you gotta do is meow and be adorbs and you’ll have them wrapped around your paw and bringing you the nip and cleaning up your poop. )
I’m pretty sure Anna thought I was the purr-fect kitty, because I AM. I mean, just look at me:
Anna has a degree in art history, and my white & black coat looks divine with her professional penguin look. #workit.
Coming to Anna’s apartment was like WHOA. It’s a HOOMAN APARTMENT. Where are the other kitties?? Where are all the other humans to worship and adore me?!
I adjusted quickly because hey, I’m a cat, and I love to be around wherever as long as I’m the center of the action and getting loved on, but I do miss the super-cool cats and human visitors at Crumbs and Whiskers. However, at Anna’s there are sooo many cat toys just for me!
For realz, the only downside is that Anna hides the chirping bird toy ‘cause I hunt it at, like, 5am… but I know what’s up. I see that she hides it. Unreasonable, but there are sacrifices in this charmed life.
Sometimes I get wild and like to explore and, test my human and her human patience. Like when I chewed open a package to taste a bagel… It smelled freakin’ amazing, okay?! Don’t judge.
Other fascinating activities: watching the self-cleaning litter box tidy up for me, sleeping in the sun on my blanket, and sitting on the cat tree for a nice view of the outdoor birds and airplanes, catching toy mice lurking in the library books....
Oh, and watching the printer – if I sit on top of it I can watch papers as they spurt out! You should try it.
My favorite part of the day is morning: I lay in Anna’s bed and when the alarm goes off I start purring. Usually she’ll pet me and say I’m cute, if I blink my eyes and yawn. Anna’s the best.
(OMG when your roomie takes pictures of you sleeping funny and then shares them on the interwebs)
Well, this was fun, but I got other things to do. My nip-stuffed hedgehog is waiting for me! I wanted to say hiiiiiii to all my Crumbs & Whiskers fans because I knew you missed me…. Bye you guys!
So you know how you love to come to Crumbs and Whiskers to hang out with the cats and drink coffee? Well, Hannah is the same, except, that’s like, her job. (Contain your jealousy, we know. Life isn’t fair; but then, Hannah’s job involves cleaning a dozen litter boxes…)
You would think there would be a limit when the cuteness overload of the cats expires and you build up immunity, but no, the limit does not exist. Hannah did her best to resist their charms, little mews, and saucer eyes, but alas, one of them made her cave.
Sting was that guy. He’d shoot her a look from across the café anytime she’d pet another cat and when she felt that tug at her heartstrings, she knew she was his, and he was hers. Now he’s Charlie and we’re seeing how he’s doing at his furrever home.
C&W: So, your situation is unique in that you are around cats all the time as a Crumbs and Whiskers Amazing Feline Butler and Hooman Interpreter. What was it about Sting/Charlie that caught your attention…and your heart?
Hannah: Sting was always curious about what I was doing around the cafe before we opened and when we closed. I would see him taking the most epic naps on the café couches. I knew if I had him at home with me, we would take the best naps together. And he had the cutest meow.
The fun thing about having Charlie around the house compared to working with the cats all day is that I get to snuggle with him when I get home. Nothing is better than Jon, my husband, hugging me and Charlie together and saying he loves our little family. Charlie is our baby boy.
C&W: What's the funniest thing Charlie has done?
Hannah: I was playing with Charlie and the one ball toy he would actually chase. When he plays, he plays HARD. He got so into it, he ran right into our glass cabinet door. I guess he didn't realize it was glass. Charlie wasn't hurt or anything, but it was his dumb moment where I realized he is klutz just like his mama. Whoops.
C&W: What’s it like having Charlie at home?
Hannah: He is my photography business partner. One of the reasons why I asked Jon if we could adopt Charlie was so I would have someone to keep me company while I was editing at home on my days off from the cafe. I would get lonely and isolated, working at home on my computer. So Charlie is my BFF who gives me encouragement. When I need a break, I’ll get up and give him a squeeze and life feels better.
C&W: How is Charlie getting along with the other hooman(s) in his life?
Hannah: Charlie definitely is the little king of the house. He LOVES my husband so much. He sleeps on Jon’s lap all the time and loves to snuggle with him. Jon is constantly sending me Snapchats of Charlie snuggling him while I’m at work.
There is something super special to see that bond. (Although I do get jealous all the time! SHH don’t tell! lol.)
C&W: What’s Charlie’s biggest accomplishment since leaving C&W?
Hannah: Charlie is FINALLY sleeping in the little house/igloo filled with fluff I bought for him before he came home. It took him four months to finally sleep in it. Cats. Now Jon and I send each other Snapchats whenever Charlie goes into it because it was such an accomplishment to discover his igloo.
C&W: What's your favorite thing about Charlie?
Hannah: Everything! Minus him waking me up at 5 am to play.
C&W: Tell us something we don’t know about Charlie.
Hannah: When I first brought Charlie home, I didn't think he liked to play the way some cats do. Then I bought him one of the same mouse toys that we have at Crumbs and Whiskers and he went crazy! He’s obsessed. Charlie wiggles his butt up in the air and sprints across the room as if he’ll murder his mouse toy. Sometimes he attacks it randomly when we are just all chillin’ on the sofa.
C&W: What's your favorite thing about having a cat? Since you’re around the cuddly C&W cats all day, what’s your favorite thing about living with Charlie?
Hannah: Charlie and I are the same. I love to sleep and so does Charlie. I love to snuggle and so does Charlie (most of the time). I love to eat and Charlie is highly motivated by food. I respect that. He is lazy. So am I. He loves my husband. So do I. He loves to bask in the sun. I LOVE the sun and sitting in the sunshine. I guess that means that either I’m a Charlie or he’s a Hannah. Charlie is definitely a special guy.
Note by the C&W editorial staff: during this interview, Hannah wrote, “CORN STEPPED ON THE COMPUTER AND SENT THE EMAIL TOO SOON! HAHAHA!”
Corn will be featured in her own adoption story in the future…and hopefully she’ll be just as helpful during the interview process with her new owner.
Given his namesake, Obama was never going to be just another black cat at Crumbs and Whiskers. He was gonna be presidential! Obama regularly lounged in the hooman laps to detail his plan to put more treats in every bowl, his strategy to take down the red dot, and his universal ban on vet visits. Obama was all about uniting cats and hoomans in a mutually beneficial partnership with belly rubs and getting adopted.
We knew such a DC mover and shaker like Obama would catch the eye of someone. Today, Obama is known as Garbo, another historical figure with an international reputation. He’s been at his furrever home for a few months, so we caught up with his hooman Katie to see what was up with Garbo since he’d left the adoring cat constituency at Crumbs and Whiskers.
Katie: I’ve been visiting Crumbs & Whiskers since it opened, but I’ve never felt as strong a connection to a cat as I did with Obama. My boyfriend and I were visiting in late September, when Obama had just arrived at the cat café. He crawled on my lap—even while I was teleworking—and started purring.
Katie: I’ve never heard a cat purr at Crumbs & Whiskers before, so this surprised me—and melted my heart. Even though he’d get up periodically to check out other customers, he always came back to sit with me.
C&W: Why the name Garbo?
Katie: Garbo is the name of my favorite spy from WWII. (My boyfriend and I want to have six cats each named after a WWII spy.)
C&W: How is Garbo getting along with the other hoomans in his life?
Katie: My boyfriend was a fan as soon as I was fan, and we co-adopted Garbo. The two love looking out for each other.
Katie: I live with a roommate, so before we adopted Garbo, my boyfriend and I consulted with her. She came for a walk-in visit to Crumbs & Whiskers to meet Obama/Garbo. She was a bit apprehensive—she’s a dog person—but she fell in love with Garbo’s infectious affection.
Now, I have to pry Garbo loose from her arms, and she will often say, “Love me, Garbo!” when he occasionally tries to wriggle away from her snuggle sessions.
C&W: Do you have any moments when you look at Garbo and say, "Oh, gosh, this cat has totally figured me out"?
Katie: Absolutely! Garbo loves watching me knit and my roommate crochet, and when I’m feeling sad, he’ll jump up to comfort me.
Katie: At night, when I climb into bed, I pat the comforter several times, and he’ll jump up and join me. (Apparently, he has started stepping out on me during the night: he waits until I fall asleep, then jumps on my roommate’s bed. We may have to change his spy-inspired name to Benedict Arnold!)
C&W: What's your favorite thing about having a cat?
Katie: Garbo entertains and delights me constantly! We have wood floors through the living room and Garbo slips and slides when he’s sprinting through the room!
Katie: I am very partial to when he sleeps on top of my stomach and purrs. It makes me all warm and fuzzy inside to have this warm and fuzzy cat near me when I sleep, who lays his paw on my arm as if he’s protecting me.
Busy with naps and knitting, Garbo keeps on representin’ the black cats from Crumbs and Whiskers. Thanks for a great run, Garbo!
Today, we're announcing a change in our pricing. Our DC location will now cost $18 on weekdays and $20 on weekends. Our LA location will continue at $22 on weekdays and $25 on weekends.
The price increase is a result of a lot of different things, but there are two main reasons. One: Our employees work really hard to make sure you have a great time when you visit us, and even harder to make sure every cat in our care is healthy and happy. So honestly, we'd like to pay them a little more. Two: Our rent is going up significantly this year.
To make things better, here's what we are doing:
One Week Warning! - The new prices will go into effect next week, on January 16. This means you guys have one more week to make reservations at our old pricing!
Pay What You Want Monday - On the first Monday of every month, you will be able to pay whatever you think we are worth to visit Crumbs & Whiskers. We believe that everyone should be able to visit a cat cafe, no matter what their budget is. Full disclosure: This is an experiment. We hope we can do this forever, but for now, we can only say that we will definitely be doing this for the next 3 months (February - April).
As always, thank you for your support. It has been a privilege to serve you guys, and we truly love doing what we do.
The Crumbs & Whiskers Family :)
With the launch of Crumbs & Whiskers LA, we decided to catch up with our founder about her journey from the original Crumbs & Whiskers Kickstarter to opening her second location in Los Angeles.
I’m the Founder of Crumbs & Whiskers, but I think a more appropriate title would be 'Chief Troublemaker' because of the things I get our company and myself into.
There’s no typical day - I just work with the areas of the business that need my attention the most. One day that could be interviewing new hires, the next it could be interior design, the next it could be plotting the future, and the next it could be cleaning smelly cat vomit.
The short version of the story behind Crumbs & Whiskers is that I’ve been an animal lover my entire life, and when I visited a cat café in Thailand, I knew immediately that this was what I wanted to do because it combined my love for animals with my love for art, design, and business. Being able start my own business and help animals?! YES PLEASE.
I'm most grateful for my Kickstarter backers because Crumbs & Whiskers wouldn't exist today if it wasn't for them. I've met a lot of our backers and they are such amazing and inspiring people.
If I had to describe myself in 3 words, I'd say spontaneous, creative, and adventurous.
The first thing I do every morning is write down my thoughts. I usually wake up mid-thought about a new idea I have for Crumbs & Whiskers…and it’s gone in an instant if I don’t immediately write it down.
My biggest "Is this real life?!" moment with Crumbs & Whiskers was a few days before we were opening our first location in DC – reservations to Crumbs & Whiskers had just gone live, and our entire system crashed. Not because there was a glitch in the system, but because so many people were trying to book that our reservations software couldn’t handle the volume. By the end of our first day in business, we had over 2,000 customers. I remember staring at my computer screen in complete disbelief and wondering how that happened.
I actually teach my team to treat every customer like they would treat their newest crush. If your crush walked into your place of work, wouldn’t you want them to be super impressed with you and have the best time ever?! I know it sounds like a super creepy customer service philosophy, but it totally works.
I’ve definitely been guilty of burning myself out. I just don't know when to stop. It's something I still struggle with everyday.
Usually when I’m feeling out of it, I travel. When I'm in a slump, I just need to explore someplace that operates in a totally different way than I’m used to. It’s incredibly inspiring, for me, simply to sit next to a waterfall in a forest or have a conversation and learn about someone else, somewhere else.
The best part about owning your own business is being able to make all the rules.
The hardest part for me is constantly making so many mistakes and being okay with that. I still beat myself up over every mistake, but I've now started thinking "Okay, how can I make the least costly mistakes possible?"
I read a lot, so the best advice I've ever received wasn’t technically given to me. But a few years ago, I read something from one of my favorite authors, Tim Ferris, that completely changed my life and the way I make decisions. He said, “Don’t ever choose unhappiness over uncertainty.”
My favorite thing about Crumbs & Whiskers is our social mission – that’s where the real magic is. I love that Crumbs & Whiskers gives shelter cats a better life and increases adoptions.
The secret to business - and life, relationships, and anything else really - is to never stop learning. Every time I've thought, "Oh I've got it all!" is when I've landed into deep trouble.
I think the best mistakes are the ones you let other people make, but that you get to learn from. I read a lot, so I’ve got a long list of others’ mistakes that I’ve taken to heart.
When Crumbs & Whiskers first opened, a big mistake we made was our seating capacity. It was way too high. For a space with 20 cats, we were seating 40 people, which is crazy to think about. That lead to a lot of brutally negative reviews, upset customers, logistical nightmares, and extremely stressed out cats. We did that for a couple months because I'm so stubborn and in all the craziness of things, I didn't realize that was our biggest problem...but then one day it hit me that most people visiting Crumbs & Whiskers were having a bad time. So we cut down the number of people we allowed in the space by half, raised our prices, and sent out personal notes to every customer in those last couple months with a heartfelt apology and an invitation to return to Crumbs & Whiskers completely free of charge. I really wanted to make it up to every single person who was disappointed in us.
In the last year, I've learned the importance of the "boring" stuff - things like business processes, logistics, protocols, training programs, company policies, company culture, employee feedback, etc. A business isn’t just about your product and marketing, which is the fun, exciting stuff – you have to also focus on operations, people, processes, reporting, efficiencies, and so much more. I honestly hate that stuff and wish I could only work on our product and marketing, but I've learned the importance of those things the hard way.
I have so many crazy cat stories. Once, while we were repairing our bathroom walls in our DC location, a cat snuck into the wall and got “stuck” there. Our entire team spent hours trying to get him out, but none of us could. We started freaking out and calling everyone – the fire department, animal control, police, my mom….everyone. No one could get this cat out and we were so terrified for the safety of the cat. Then, at around 11 PM, the cat just waltzed out of the wall….HE WAS NEVER STUCK. I’ll never forget that day.
A fun fact about me is that I'm actually allergic to cats and I hate coffee. And yes, I own a cat cafe...
My favorite thing to do is yoga.
If I could have a superpower, it would be never doubting myself and having rock solid faith in myself. In my opinion, being limitless in your beliefs about what you can achieve is a superpower. I struggle with self doubt and would love to have the ability to never doubt myself for even a second ever again.
If I could have a frivolous superpower, it would be the ability to stay young for as long as I want.
Right now, I'm most excited about the launch of Crumbs & Whiskers LA! This is what I love the most about entrepreneurship - creating cool new things that didn't exist before.
Sandra took Kevin to Crumbs & Whiskers as a birthday present. They weren't looking to adopt, but Edward made them an offer they couldn't resist. We caught up with them to see how Edward is doing in his furrever home.
C&W: What's your favorite thing about Edward?
Sandra: He loves watching videos of animals (like squirrels and birds) on YouTube.
Kevin: My favorite thing about Edward is how every night, without fail, he will jump up in my bed shortly after I turn the lights out and curl right up to me to go to sleep.
C&W: What's the funniest thing Edward has done?
Sandra: He will sprint around the apartment practicing for his 100-meter dash competition. His tail gets really big and bushy when he does this.
Kevin: I think it’s funny how Edward “gasps” for air as he vacuums down his food every night.
C&W: Have you guys gotten into a routine? What's Edward's favorite spot in your home? Favorite toy? Favorite place to sleep?
Kevin: Over time we’ve established a routine. Edward will always make sure to wake me up at 7:30 am for work even on the weekends because he hasn’t realized yet that I only work Monday-Friday. His favorite place to sleep is on the cat bed we got him with his little blanket.
Sandra: Edward’s favorite spot is on the windowsill overlooking the view from the 5th floor of my apartment. From there he can see all of the squirrels and birds outside. His favorite toy, as of right now, is a battery-powered caterpillar that he will chase around and knock in different directions.
C&W: Tell us something we don't know about Edward.
Sandra: He won Pet of the Month at our vet, Clarendon Animal Care. He won treats and he became Instagram famous. Follow him at @adventuresofedward!
Kevin: He will nibble on you to let you know that he wants you to pet him when he’s in a really affectionate mood.
C&W: What's your favorite thing about having a cat?
Sandra: Even if I have a horrible day, it all gets better when Edward greets me at the door.
Kevin: The feeling of providing for an animal with his own unique personality and quirks and receiving unconditional love back is amazing.
We’re ONE YEAR OLD! What started as a girl’s dream has become SO much more and we have you guys, and our awesome cats, to thank. Because we’re feeling super nostalgic, we wanted to share our favorite memories so far.
We dressed up our cats ... a lot.
We had awesome special events.
Titan showed us that celebrating cats is way better than celebrating Valentine’s Day.
There was lots of cuddling.
You savored delicious macaroons, while our cats tried to steal them.
We had a cat named Batman, and he totally lived up to his name.
You guys provided live entertainment for our cats -- that’s really why we host cat yoga.
We got you good with our April Fools prank.
(PS. Did you actually fall for that?! We're still judging you.)
Our cats took some epic naps.
We got these awesome drink sleeves that we’re OBSESSED with.
We saw 102 adoptions, including Raleigh who was the last of our original C&W Squad.
Wait seriously...is this real life?!
The entire team at Crumbs & Whiskers is craaaazy stoked to announce that we're coming to Los Angeles this fall! (Not freaking out. Not freaking out. Not...ok, TOTALLY freaking out.)
We also made this super awesome video about Crumbs & Whiskers with the help of some of our regular customers! Check it out. Like it. Comment. Share it with your mom. Wait. Better idea: Share it with your best friend in LA who's totally gonna freak out. (She can join our club of ZERO chill.)
See you in LA! (AHHH!)
Crumbs & Whiskers
When Heinrich Von Katz arrived at Crumbs & Whiskers, he quickly stole the heart of every woman here, including our employees! But sadly, he wasn’t a one-woman cat. His wandering eyes were always looking at the ladies. ALL the ladies.
Heinrich’s favorite activity was finding a beautiful woman's lap to sleep on. During his time at Crumbs & Whiskers, women were often seen in tears when it was their time to leave Heinrich. Heinrich, on the other hand, was seen moving on to the next lap, purring and eager to snuggle with a new love-struck lady.
When it was announced that Heinrich was going to his furrever home, some of the employees took it very hard. Veronica, in particular, was a mess. She cried for days and is still working through her feelings with our resident psychologist kitty, Raleigh.
So many heartbroken women wanted another glimpse of this Scottish hunk that we asked his furrever lady to give us an update.
Jose Lugo, his furrever hooman, tells us what Heinrich is up to these days. Since leaving C&W, Heinrich Von Katz now goes by Mackinnon.
C&W: How have things changed since Mackinnon's first day at his new home vs. today?
JL: Mackinnon has travelled to his second home with me in Florida and met his fur brothers and sister. He’s a little playful for the older bunch, but everyone seems to be getting along well. My Rottweiler Ruby has a crush on Mackinnon. When Mackinnon struts by Ruby whines for attention, but alas, it is unrequited love.
C&W: What's your favorite thing about Mackinnon?
JL: My favorite thing about Mackinnon is his cuddliness. When he’s picked up his body becomes completely limp and flexible and he just goes whichever way you hold him. To me, it is a sign of trust.
C&W: Cats are highly entertaining pets. What's the funniest thing that Mackinnon has done?
JL: Just watching the dynamics unfold as everyone gets to know each other is super entertaining. Mackinnon pounces down on LB from the countertop then runs off in the other direction, as if to playfully taunt him. But LB is older -- and TBH a bit tubby -- and can’t retaliate, so that is fun to watch
C&W: Have you guys gotten into a routine? What’s Mackinnon’s favorite spot in your home? Favorite toy? Favorite place to sleep?
JL: We have gotten into a routine. Mackinnon sleeps in my bedroom and like clockwork when it’s bedtime I walk in the bedroom and he is lying there like, “I’ve been waiting for you.” His favorite spot, which is also his favorite place to sleep, is on top of a soft-sided Eddie Bauer carry-on under my bed. His favorite toys are, sadly to say, the lizards running about on my lanai.
C&W: So ... here's the big question. Are you ready to adopt your next cat from Crumbs & Whiskers?! ;)
JL: At this point I have a menagerie! No more cats for me for a long while!
It's crazy to think that this handsome guy is now a one-woman man. We didn't think it could be done. You did well, furrever hooman. You. Did. Well.
(No, we're totally not jealous. Why would you ever think that?!)
We spent the day with Ahab talking about his life at the cafe, favorite things, and goals for the future. Here's what he had to say.
C&W: What brought you to Crumbs & Whiskers?
Ahab: I grew up in Sedalia, Mo with my parents and twin brother, Ishmael. After graduating college I needed some adventure. I pulled up a map, closed my eyes and put my paw on a spot. That's how I got to D.C. Of course the cafe seemed like the puurfect place to work on my novel. It's relaxing and exciting all at the same time!
C&W: What's your favorite thing about the cafe?
Ahab: It's got such a great vibe! So many hoomans to write about! They're always talking, and I'm always listening. You know my novel is a drama about hoomans, right? Don't worry -- I've changed their names to protect their privacy.
C&W: Sooo... I can't help but notice that Ishmael is also here. Did he follow you? What's the story there?
Ahab: Ishmael didn't really know what to do after school. He changed his major three times. I think he graduated with a degree in archaeology? Anyway, he followed me to D.C. hoping he'd get inspired.
C&W: What's the food like at the cafe?
Ahab: It's great! Hoomans aren't always the smartest (no offense) and we know how to get what we want out of them. LOTS and LOTS of treats and catnip! Sometimes we take their food too. They don't even get mad. They just laugh at us like we're doing something funny.
C&W: Can you give us any spoilers from your novel? When will it come out?
Ahab: I don't want to say too much because it isn't finished yet. You know I have 20 roommates here and I don't want anyone to take my ideas. I will tell you there's a love triangle and the story takes place over the span of a couple years. I'm not sure when it'll be complete. I think I need to watch hoomans here a bit longer to fill in more details.
We caught up with Zach Mendel, Titan's hooman, to see how they fell in love and how he's doing in his furrever home.
C&W: When you decided to visit Crumbs & Whiskers, did you already know you were going to adopt a cat?
ZM: My girlfriend and I had been discussing adopting a cat for months and finally moved to an apartment that allowed cats. We had been looking around online to see what cats we were interested in visiting. Then we came across Titan’s profile on the Lost Dog’s website. Specifically the line: “Titan may also be the laziest cat in the world, he leaves most of his projects unfinished because they’re just too much effort. We feel you, Titan,” which I connected with on a spiritual level. A few weeks later, after we went through the process and were approved, all that was left was to meet Titan. It coincidentally fell on Valentine’s Day weekend (Galentine’s Day to be exact), so I surprised my girlfriend with a date to Crumbs & Whiskers to meet him.
C&W: What made you fall in love with Titan?
ZM: He is possibly the most regal cat I have ever seen. He has no clumsy moments. Titan does everything with a firm disposition of slight disdain towards everyone and everything around him, like a fuzzy, docile Ron Swanson.
C&W: What are three things that you and Titan have in common?
- We both have full, lush heads of hair, and hope hold firmly to them well into our golden years.
- We're both quite dashing in our formal wear.
- We can pull off a Hawaiian shirt better than Magnum PI.
C&W: What was it like bringing Titan home? Were you nervous? Or just super excited?! Tell me about your first day together!
ZM: Titan’s first order of business after being brought home was to nap in a sunny spot, eat some food, walk around to sniff every single object in the house, and then curl up under the bed to slept again.
C&W: What's your favorite thing about Titan?
ZM: He may be regal and extremely collected, but as soon as he starts playing in his kitty tunnel, all that melts away and you can see the kitten-like craziness side of him.
C&W: Cats are highly entertaining pets. What's the funniest thing that Titan has done?
ZM: He did not enjoy his cat carrier very much. So we tried harness training him, and now he loves to take his trips to PetSmart free as a bird (well a bird on a harness).
C&W: What's your favorite thing about having a cat?
ZM: The companionship is something I was truly surprised about, having only grown up in a household with dogs. He can always sense when you are upset or there is something wrong, and he will let you know that it’s stupid of you to be upset about it.
C&W: So..here's the big question. Are you ready to adopt your next cat from Crumbs & Whiskers?! ;)
ZM: Actually, we took the plunge and adopted him a little brother. We wanted to go the kitten route, and fell in love with one from another local D.C. rescue, DCPaws. It’s only been a short time, but they get along better than we ever could have imagined. We have already noticed that Titan has perked up from having a kitty companion himself.
Does your mom love cats almost as much as she loves you? If you can’t bring her home a Crumbs & Whiskers cat (which is OBVIOUSLY the best gift), we’ve got some other ideas for you.
Crumbs & Whiskers, DC's first cat cafe, is officially turning into Crumbs & Canines, DC's first dog cafe.
This was a truly difficult decision for us to make, but we just can't deal with our asshole cats shutting down our computers or eating our Chipotle when we look away for 0.2 seconds anymore. Starting a cat cafe made the entire staff of Crumbs & Whiskers realize that cats are huge jerks (seriously, if we have to re-type that entire email to that customer ONE MORE TIME...) and so, it is with a heavy heart that we must say goodbye to our cats. We are beginning a new journey where we help those animals in need who actually admire and appreciate the help. Yes, you guessed it, dogs.
We hope you will continue to support us in this new journey. Everyone at C&W feels like we have found ourselves...and finally realized that dogs are, in fact, better than cats.
Kanchan and The Crumbs & Whiskers Team
The past two months have been incredible, and we have been lucky enough to do some amazing things. With your help, we have fostered over 40 cats, adopted 23 cats, and put smiles on the faces of thousands of people. It’s been a pretty great and impactful two months. Cheers to that!
But, we have also learned a lot about how we can improve. We have spent the past two months listening very carefully to everything you’ve had to say, and it's now time for us to make some changes. So here they are:
Max Number of People: We are cutting the number of people we allow in the café at once by nearly half. When we opened, we were allowing 37 people (with 20 cats) – moving forward, we will only allow 24 people at one time. We have tested the new numbers out, and we know that they work in eliminating overcrowding. But that being said, please remember that weekends and some weeknights will still feel busy because they are our peak hours. If you would like to visit us during slow hours, we recommend weekday mornings/afternoons and late evenings.
Café Experience: We are eliminating the previous food ordering system, and are instead including complimentary coffee and tea (self serve) in your cover charge. We will also feature macarons and croissants from a neighborhood bakery for those of you with a sweet tooth. Eliminating orders that are delivered from a separate store front will allow you to get your drinks instantly – no more waiting around.
Cover Charge: Starting today, August 29, our cover charge will be $15 per reservation. This charge will include complimentary coffee and tea. Due to the significant reduction in our capacity, we have no choice but to implement a small increase in our cover. We hope you’ll understand.
Seating Options: We have added additional seating options in the cat café – there are more chairs and benches for those of you who are not stoked about floor seating.
Cats: We are not making any changes involving our cats, but we want you to know that cats sleep 16 hours on an average day and are most active at night. There's a high chance you will encounter sleeping cats during your visit - this is not a sign that the cats are stressed, exerted, or overstimulated. It's completely normal behavior. If you want an active visit where cats are more playful, we recommend stopping by early in the morning or later at night.
We are making lots of smaller changes as well, but these are the big ones we want you to know about. We want you to know that your feedback is massively important to us, and that we are always thinking about how we can improve to give you a better experience.
We really want you to have an amazing time at the cat café. Email us (email@example.com) if you visited Crumbs & Whiskers when we opened and did not have good time. We have some ideas on how to make it up to you.
PS. We just discovered that a lot of you really like yoga. And cats (obviously.) You know what's coming next...
Hey cool cats!
It almost doesn't feel real, but Crumbs & Whiskers will be celebrating our first month anniversary on Monday, July 20. How are we celebrating?! By throwing you a party. With cats. Of course.
WHAT: A pawsome party
WHERE: Georgetown’s furriest spot
(Hint: cat cafe)
WHEN: July 20, 6pm - 8pm
HOW: Make your reservation here
(Scroll down To "One Month Celebration")
- Tickets: $25 per person
- Polaroids, wifi, and catnip are on the house.
- PLUS A SPECIAL SURPRISE.
- Proceeds from the night will go towards throwing a pizza party for the hoomans at Washington Humane Society and a Fancy Feast party for the cats at WHS! Just our little way of saying 'thank you.'
- Kanchan and the C&W Team
PS. We’ve had 9 adoptions in our first month! You guys ROCK.
PPS. The most spirited Crumbs & Whiskers party-er will get something really cool. Was that a dress code hint?! Probably.
I’m so excited to tell you that Crumbs & Whiskers will officially open on Saturday, June 20.
Here’s what to expect as we gear up for opening:
June 15 - 18: Backstage Parties!
We will throw one backstage party every evening for select Kickstarter backers as well as our social media contest winners. (Keep an eye out this week - tons of chances to win!)
June 19: Launch Party!
This is the night of our official launch party. The launch party has already sold out, but we will be posting photos and videos on our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat (@crumbswhiskers). So if you weren’t able to get a pass to the launch, don't worry - you’re pretty much going to feel like you are at the party!
June 20: Official opening!
More importantly, here’s how scheduling your visit will work:
June 10: Scheduling goes live to select Kickstarter backers only.
June 15: Scheduling goes live to The Gentlemeow’s Club.
June 18: Scheduling goes live to everyone.
Can’t WAIT for you to check out Crumbs & Whiskers. You're going to love it.
Hey cool cats!
After what has been the most intense eight months of my life, I’m super excited to tell you guys that Crumbs & Whiskers is opening in June. Yep, that’s next month.
We do have an exact opening date in mind, and if all goes according to plan, we will be announcing it very soon. We can tell you that it will ABSOLUTELY open next month, and that we are ABSOLUTELY STOKED (to put it lightly).
Thank you for going on this adventure with me. Thank you for being so giving and inspiring. Thank you for signing petitions in support of the cat cafe. Thank you for backing the Kickstarter. Thank you for telling your friends about us. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I wouldn’t be here without you. Crumbs & Whiskers wouldn’t be here without you.
I cannot wait until you guys come see the space (and the cats!) yourselves.
Love & cat cuddles,