August 22, 2004
Robot-on-the-Spot: Meow Mix Cafe
Now, I'll admit, when I heard about this new restaurant where doting cat owners can bring their feline friends to dine (but only if the cats are on leashes, a helpful staffer informed me), my first thought was, "That's the lamest thing I've ever heard."
It turns out my first impression was not entirely correct. The cafe isn't just an opportunity for cat-fetishists to dress their pets in bonnets and take them out for kitty tea parties. It's actually just a temporary store selling Meow Mix products with a few tables in the back. Lunch for you and your cat requires only a $2 donation, and all those proceeds are donated to the ASPCA.
Meow Mix always comes through with a good marketing gimmick, from their soul-destroying trademark jingle to the premiere of Meow TV on the Oxygen network last year to, most delightfully, CEO Richard Thompson's stunt in the Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village apartment complex this past February. The complex's owner, MetLife, had offered a $150 reward to any employee who turned in illegal cat owners in an effort to boot rent-controlled tenants out and convert their homes into luxury housing. Thompson responded by parking the Meow-Mix Mobile(tm) in Stuyvesant Oval, giving away free cat food, and offering $160 to workers who refused to give up cat owners.
So Meow Mix, you go open your kitty cafes wherever you wish. I'm a sucker for a socially responsible business.