Good news for all the animal lovers out there: Dhaka city finally has its own pet café! Situated on Zoo Road, Mirpur is the brainchild of Chef Saria Saguaro and Architect Rakibul Haq Emil, “Pat A Pet”. The founders, both being actively involved in animal rights movements and rescue organizations, realized the importance of creating a safe space where humans and animals can coexist harmoniously. The café which started its journey on 6 April 2022, can be considered a pet heaven, with the pet hotel FurryGhor situated next door and a veterinarian clinic located near the premises.
The café with its 4 rescue kittens and 1 big cat, is open to everyone regardless of whether they own a pet or not. The idea was to remove the misconception that only pet owners are allowed to visit a pet café. As for pet owners, the café is a safe space for them to spend some quality time with their furry friends.
Being animal activists themselves, the founders wanted to create a space for people to get the opportunity to interact with animals and remove any phobia or misconception that might exist.
The café not only serves coffees and other delicacies for humans but also caters to the needs of animals, providing pet treats such as cookies, doughnuts, and even dog cakes for owners to celebrate the birthdays of their fur babies. Furthermore, it has been ensured that all animal foods are sugar-free and 100% safe for animal consumption. The founders have also provided services such as pet fostering in partnership with FurryGhor, a foster home for pets.
However, some ground rules must be maintained while visiting this pet paradise, sick or unvaccinated pets are not allowed as they may pose a threat to visitors and resident animals alike. Dog owners are requested to inform the employees about any special needs or requirements as animals may often tend to get aggressive during interactions.
With the dawn of the age of social media, every café must possess that “instagramable interior”, and Pat A Pet has achieved just that. Keeping in mind the fun, quirky environment of the space, vibrant shades of blues and yellows have been used to make it livelier and more refreshing. The walls are covered in comic-style doodles and images so that it tells a story to whoever walks in through the doors. While designing the interior, the owners opted for a raw finish, exposing the natural material of the ceiling and walls. Movable furniture is used to accommodate space for animals to run around freely. The provision of natural light has been of great importance throughout the café as well as the presence of indoor plants. According to the founders, “We want our guests to leave this café feeling happy and content”.
Even though the vibrant café may seem like an easily accomplished project, the founders did face some difficulties during the construction phase which mainly included time and budget constraints. Apart from a space for pets, this café is also used as an educational platform for adults as well as kids. Parents who are skeptical about getting a pet for their children can understand and interact with animals and decide whether they are ready to take the responsibility or not. Children, on the other hand, are learning to respect, love, and treat animals as part of a family. In the words of one of the founders,
“It is a good change from seeing animals caged behind bars as we see in the zoo”.
As animal activists, the founders have started this business with the motto “Caring is Cool”. With the help of this business, ideas like “Rescue and Adopt” and “Adopt, don’t shop” is being promoted to make the public more aware of the problems that stray animals face. Their motto is reflected in their business strategies as well. Starting from the packaging to using reusable, steel straws, and introducing vegetarian alternatives to our favourite snacks, the café has adopted quite an environment-friendly approach.
As for the future, the founders are hopeful that Pat A Pet will have many more branches throughout the city, educating and allowing people to enjoy spending time with some furry friends. The idea of introducing pet merchandise has also been discussed, especially t-shirts, treats, and handmade pet collars, a percentage of which will be donated to the PAW Foundation to help strays find homes. Lastly, a word of advice from the founders, “Let’s make this world a better place by giving love to the strays rather than buying expensive breeds”.