We had the good fortune of connecting with Elizabeth Gallardo and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Elizabeth, what makes you most proud of the business you’ve built?
Since opening our doors on March 7th, we have successfully reached over 50 adoptions. That’s 50 cats that are now in loving forever homes. We are delighted and grateful that we are able to provide a safe and calm environment that allows our human guests to make and build connections with their new furry best friend. We are proud to say that we change lives for the better, both for humans and cats. We hope that we are able to continue this great mission of ours in a post-COVID time and we hope to achieve many more successful adoptions in the months to come.

What should our readers know about your business?
The Cat’s Meow Café is a unique approach to pet adoptions. Our space allows for our guests to interact with several cats at once, allowing them to connect with unique cat personalities. Through this experience, we can create a stronger bond between the adopter and cats. We are a Retail Café with a Cat Adoption Lounge in partnership with Miami-Dade Animal Services. Together with Miami-Dade Animal Services, we aim to reduce the number of abandoned and homeless cats in our community. Born and raised in Miami, daughter to Cuban and Ecuadorian parents with a background in Audio Engineering and Marketing, I’ve always had pets growing up and as an only child, I found great comfort in always having a cat to snuggle with. In my opinion, cats are the best pets and are too often misunderstood. I want to break that stigma, starting with our local community. I hope to inspire and create groups of individuals who take their love for cats and turn it into advocacy. Miami has over 300,000 homeless cats and it’s up to us to make a difference. I first founded, @ifoster_305 on Instagram, and began documenting/sharing my cat advocacy work in late 2016. In the beginning, I had many questions and was not aware of available resources that can help answer questions to certain situations. My biggest inspiration occurred when I came across two accounts who advocate for everything cats, @kittenxlady and @myfosterkittens. Hannah Shaw and Nikki Martinez provide tons of resources to help you get started or, in my case, giving me the confidence to take the next step in fostering and trap neuter return efforts. While out on the field in rescue, you tend to run into a lot of different scenarios and it’s extremely helpful to have a library of resources on hand to help guide you in the right direction. In March of 2017, I decided to take my love of cats and translate it into action by pursuing a dream of founding The Cat’s Meow Café. A cat café with the purpose of providing a rich environment for adoptable cats looking for a forever home. After an invigorating weekend in New York during its inaugural Cat Camp Convention, I was more than inspired into taking the next steps to make this dream a reality. The work began as soon as I got home which included tons of research, networking, and traveling to different cat cafes around the nation, all while still working a full-time job. Starting a business is not easy but my passion to see this through has helped me get to this point. Not to mention all the amazing people who have lent a hand, donated, shared, and cheered us on along the way. Our biggest challenge and trying times were during the planning and plan approval stages of the project. Not many people are familiar with the Cat Café concept and being that it’s a brand new industry, there’s really not one “box” that we fit into. We had to change and adjust or business model to what we were actually allowed to do per zoning regulations. Thankfully, we always kept an optimistic attitude. Our passion for our mission has always guided us through the rough times and we are hopeful that it will also get us through these new uncertain times during this pandemic.

Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
Obviously, we would recommend for them to visit our Cat Café. Some of our favorite spots or things to do include: L’Artisane Creative Bakery by Carolina Molea, Love Life Café, Panther Coffee, Vizcaya Museum, Paddleboarding in Biscayne Bay, Midtown Garden Center and Breathe Pilates Miami, and Kitschy Cat Shack in Hollywood.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
John Bouma is a pet photographer and volunteer photographer at our partner shelter, Miami-Dade Animal Services. He is extremely devoted to the animals and makes it his mission to shine a positive light on all shelter pets. His mission is to use photography to save shelter and rescue animals. His volunteer page is @sit.snap.save and his business account is @maxnormanpetphotography. He deserves the biggest shoutout!

Website: https://www.catsmeowmia.com
Instagram: @thecatsmeowcafemia
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/the-cat-s-meow-café
Twitter: @catsmeowcafemia
Facebook: @thecatsmeowcafemia
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC60QZWVJsX7YaS77dR9-oig?

Image Credits
All images belong to The Cat’s Meow Café