#7 Congressional (2F of Cake2Go), St Dominic I Sub Division, Project 8, Quezon City
This QC cafe is catnip for any friend to felines.
Words by Isabel Aguas | Photos by Ina Jacobe
Anyone on #TeamCat would be just as thrilled as us when they first step into Miao, the cat cafe pioneer in the Metro. A feline fantasy awaits with an assortment of cats from different corners of the world: Europe, USA, Russia, Asia—you name it. For only 300 pesos, you get two full hours to find your favorite one, all the cuddle time you need, and a food and drink combo that’s hard to resist. The Start sat down with co-owner Sam Ramos to talk about jumpstarting her passion project and some furry friends that helped her along the way.
“Miao.” What’s in the name?
Miao is the Chinese word for “meow.” And since I speak a little Mandarin, I wanted to incorporate it.
How did this whole business start?
I went to Taiwan a year and a half ago, I think it’s where the first cat cafe is. I sent my sister the picture of the place and that time, we had more than 20 cats. We really are cat lovers. The whole family has cats so most of them are personally owned. After two weeks of convincing my brother-in-law to finance our business, we finally opened on February 14 of this year. We’re actually the first one here in Metro Manila.
Where do you get your cats aside from your personal collection?
I actually started rescuing cats at the age of six or seven. At the moment, we have about 10 puspins (Pusang Pinoy) or stray cats. The oldest cat I have now is an 11 year-old puspin. Some of our cats are from Ukraine, Russia, Europe, US, Thailand.
What keeps the cats here so tame?
Personally, I don’t think you can train cats. With dogs kasi, you’re the master. But with cats, they’re the masters of the house. We just choose the less aggressive cats. We have more than 50 now, but only 20 are here at a time.
What’s it like running an unconventional business like this?
We have a few family businesses but this one, passion talaga siya. We’re really not entrepreneurs so we’re very surprised with the outcome of the business and the reception of the people. For the first two weeks, we only invited friends and family. We didn’t exactly expect people to come ’cause Filipinos are new with concept cafes.
We also didn’t have a Facebook page that time and Paul, my business partner and brother-in-law, convinced me to make one. We were not advertising at all. A week after opening, I decided to open a page and in just two days, we already got about 2,000 likes. Now we have 14,000.
Your menu is great. Do you use local ingredients?
Yes! Most of them are. The coffee’s from Sagada. My sister is responsible for the food and drinks and ako naman sa cats and the service. We’re really still experimenting with the food.
What should customers expect when they set foot at Miao?
We aim for them to have a purr-fect experience. It’s de-stressing. When cats purr at you, it lessens your stress level. They actually bring cats to homes for the aged or cancer centers.
Awesome. So what are your operating hours?
We are open every day, every two hours. 11-1, 2-4, 5-7, 8-10. There’s always an hour-long gap because we want to make sure the place is clean for the guests. We also make sure the cats have enough resting time.