Neko Ngeru Cat Adoption Cafe Wellington By Neko Ngeru Cat Adoption Cafe

Pledgeme projects

About Neko Ngeru Cat Adoption Cafe Wellington

Project 2017-07-27 13:10:54 +1200

What are We Doing?

We want more homeless cats to be adopted into loving homes. For this reason, we are opening Neko Ngeru Cat Adoption Café as a place where people and cats can meet over drinks and food to get to know each other and find out if they are compatible. We have also seen that lots of people in Wellington cannot have cats in their homes for various reasons. Our café will provide a place for people to relax and enjoy cats without commitment.

You can learn more about us and see photos of our rewards on our website or follow us on Facebook 


Ken's 1st cat who lived in 5 different

countries with Ken & Richelle and returned to

Japan at the age of 19. She still lives with Ken's best 

friends in Japan and is 21 years old now!     


 Who are We?

We are Ken and Richelle Okada originally from Osaka, Japan and San Diego, California. As international school teachers in Japan, Kuwait, Mexico and China we got to travel a lot but, we chose New Zealand as the place we would settle down because we think it is the best. We chose Wellington as our home because we think it is the best place to open our Cat Adoption Café. We chose Petone because it has free parking and an interesting mix of shopping and dining. Our dream to open a cat café comes from experiences working with rescue groups in Shanghai, China and rescuing abandoned cats around the world. We saw a need for a place where people could comfortably and conveniently see those cats that need homes. Our name signifies both where we come from and where we are. Neko is Japanese for cat and Ngeru is cat in te reo Māori. Japan is where cat cafes first became popular and Wellington is where we are going to bring one.


Madara (left) and Mao (right)

 Madara is Ken's 2nd cat and

Mao is Ken & Richelle's 1st

cat together. Both traveled

to 5 countries along with

Mi・Two but died in Shanghai. 



What is a Cat Cafe?


Since we will be the first cat adoption café in New Zealand, some people may not know what to expect. They ask if they can bring their own cat as you would at a dog café. The answer is no. Cats are quite territorial and bringing unfamiliar cats together would turn out to be more like a kitty fight club—definitely something the SPCA would not approve. A cat cafe is a cafe...with cats. At Neko Ngeru, we will have 15 to 20 cats living in their own space on the cafe premises. There, you will be able to get all the healing and stress reducing benefits that you need from contact with cats.  

They will be separated from the food service area by walls and double doors. Customers can enter the cat's play room for an hourly fee. If you purchase food and/or drink from us, you can bring it into the cat's area too (just don't let them have any since most human food is not good for them and they will be well-fed anyway).  We will have counter foods, hot and cold drinks and we hope to get a liquor license soon. As well as being open in normal business hours, we will also organize some events after hours and allow bookings for events, parties and functions. We plan to have cat assisted yoga, professional storytelling, quiz nights, art openings, and many other things.


Left - a cat we recued in Kuwait

She was at the door of our

apartment on a rainy day.

One of our students adopted her. 

 Right - Rasputin (& Mao)

Stray boy in Mexico.

We took him under

our care and one

of our students adopted him.

Left - Minnaloush

Found in our apartment

complex in Shanghai.

He was so friendly.

An expat family adopted him.

 Right - Bibi

Rescued in Shanghai.

He was so timid. 

Our collegue adopted him. 

Left - Ben

 Ben's neck was so crooked

he couldn't walk straight.

Thanks to Bow Meow

Shanghai who gave him

intensive care for a  month.  

Adopted by a Japanese family. 

Right - Moon Cake  

He was cared for in a vet.   

Adopted by an expat family. 


What if I am Allergic to Cats?

If you are allergic to cats, you can still come and get food and drink; we’ll have an area where you can watch people play with our cats. We are fastidious about hygiene and will also control the ventilation so that air from the cats’ area won’t recirculate to the food and retail. 


4 kittens found on top

of Ken's family's restaurant

in downtown Osaka.

We waited for their mom

to come back but she didn't

so we bottle fed them.

It was fun!!

 Left - Kiji

 Right - Mike


They were FIV positive

so it was difficult to find

homes but eventually all did.

Fortunately, the later blood

test showed they were not

really positive.

It was their mom. 

 Left - Whity

 Right - Kuro-kiji




Where Do the Cats Come From?

We have been working with many of the smaller rescue groups around Wellington to be the sources of our cats.  They will select the most sociable cats for us to adopt and keep at our café. The cats will be de-sexed, microchipped, de wormed and fully vaccinated. Many of the cats will have been abandoned or surrendered to the rescue organizations, but some of them will have been born wild in a colony then socialized so they can live in a home. Every adoption reduces the number of stray cats who must hunt to live. Supporting the rescue organizations in de-sexing as many cats as they can means there will be fewer kittens dying painfully every year. 

 Left - Tonraq

 Right - Zhi li (now Bonnie)

 They were our 1st foster

cats in NZ.   Bonnie was

adopted after 2 months.

Tonraq is so timid

but got attached to Richele 

so we adopted him.  


Left - Jesse

 Also from Outpawed

Jesse and Tonraq started

to get along well. 

Then Jesse got sick.

It was FIP.







Is Every Cat Available for Adoption?

Our cats’ comfort and stability are important to us, so some of our cats will be permanent ‘staff cats’. Finding good homes for as many cats as we can is also a priority with us, so we will have a good ratio of adoptable ‘guest cats’ in our café. We will also advertise cats--through our social media and on video in our café--who are also adoptable and still at the rescue organizations or in foster care. In this way, we will help as many cats find forever homes as we can and take some of the pressure off the rescue organizations so they can work on socializing the more timid cats. We will donate five percent of our profits between the rescue organizations from which we adopt. In short, we want to help cats and the people who love them. 


We Fostered three black kitties 

from UHARS around Easter.

Right - Green (Teddy) 

He has a cute face, sweet character

and was first to be adopted.

Left - Red (Bruce)

 Right - Blue (Justine/Justin)

Everyone thought Blue

was a girl, but no!

 Adopted together

and are now Donk and Dink



What We Have Been Doing

We spent nine months looking for a place to open our cat adoption café. For a while, we thought we would be on Bunny St in Lower Hutt. After spending quite a bit to get designs done and meeting with City Council officials to learn what we had to do to make it a safe place, we decided to look for another. It was just going to be too expensive. We were so grateful to find a good space in Petone. In the meantime, we met with most of the local rescue groups to figure out how we can best help each other now and when our café opens. We set up a social media presence with our Facebook page and website. (We try to keep up with posts and blogs and newsletters to keep our growing crowd informed of what we and the rescue groups are doing. We have more than 700 followers now.)  We have formed a Meetup group for cat lovers and have organized several events. We are doing everything we can to learn about the business of running a café so we can make Neko Ngeru Cat Adoption Café a success. Now, we are launching a crowd funding campaign to help pay for better furnishings and renovations.



Brett was a foster cat from Outpawed.

He was a great cuddly cat but

older and stronger than Tonraq.

He was adopted

by a family in Tawa.



Where the Money Goes

Because the site is currently a gun shop, it will cost a lot to turn it into a café. We will build a food and drink service area; the cat’s room has to be completely divided from the food service and retail area and separated by double doors; ventilation and skylights, openable windows and another restroom will go in. We also want to get the best cat furniture we can, so that means getting it built for us and placing it on the walls and even hanging it from the ceiling so you can watch the cats run, jump and play all over the place. Comfortable human furniture is important and that costs money too.

All in all, it will cost about $200,000.

We have saved our money for over 15 years to make this dream come true. We don’t want to borrow from any bank if we can help it. So far we have spent $60,000 on making our logo and website, hiring a design and project management company, preparing the rewards for our sponsors, purchasing the retail goods, and much more.


 on his adotion day! 


How You Can Help

Our goal for this campaign is $20,000. As you can see, that is a small percentage of what it costs. Please help us reach our goal so we can make Neko Ngeru Cat Adoption Café a really great place for you to come enjoy cats and possibly find your perfect feline companion.

One of our stretch goals is to provide excellent booth seating inside the cats' play area. If we reach $30,000, we could do that.








A cool item we are calling a 'cat display shelf' which has retail goods on one side and cat climbing features on the other plus a TV and aquarium could be built if we reach a stretch goal of $40,000, we would love that.  

Sharing about our campaign can be just as helpful as donating. Please remember to hit that share button and let your friends know how they can help us too.


The People Behind Neko Ngeru Cat Adoption Cafe Wellington


    Three days and $14,000 to go

    03:42PM Thu 21/09/17 on Neko Ngeru Cat Adoption Cafe Wellington

    There is still time for a miraculous flood of pledges and you could be part of it. If you all share the campaign page again and enourage friends to pledge, we can reach the goal. We cannot do it without your help.


    Richelle and Ken 

    Comment on this update:

    Neko Ngeru Update #3

    10:48AM Sat 09/09/17 on Neko Ngeru Cat Adoption Cafe Wellington

    Half way through and 65 pedgers have put $5551. As you can see, there is quite a way to go still. That's why we need your help to share the campaign again and encourage other people to donate. We are doing a raffle on Sunday in which you can win a party at Neko Ngeru. Spread the news, please.

    Comment on this update:

    Neko Ngeru Update #2

    04:45PM Tue 29/08/17 on Neko Ngeru Cat Adoption Cafe Wellington

    One week down and 34 pledgers have put $2331. Twelve percent is less than what we had hoped for at this point in the campaign. That's why we need your help to share this crowdfunding campaign link as often as you can. If people don't see it, they won't have a chance to join in and we can't send you any rewards. 

    On the bright side, construction started Monday so this cafe is really happening. We have had great discussions with the suppliers of Petcube and Monkeetree to feature their products in the cafe. We took a food safety course, so you know that's going to be handled well. And we are talking to caterers and juice companies to make sure we get the best for you. 

    Feel free to let us know if you have any ideas of how we can pubicise this campaign more. Meanwhile, keep sharing!


    Richelle and Ken


    Comment on this update:

    Neko Ngeru Update #1

    04:16PM Thu 24/08/17 on Neko Ngeru Cat Adoption Cafe Wellington

    Thank you so much!

    You are the first 20 people to pledge to our campaign. We have reached $1,181. We had hoped to be further along by now, so we ask you to please share the link again.

    We did get interviewed today for the Wainuiomata newspaper. Cait Sith was very cooperative and we got some good pictures. When we get the links to the published article, we will share them with you all. 

    We also met with our landlord on site since he is clearing out most of the things from the Petone Gun Shop. Some things we will recycle, though. I wonder if you will recognise them when you come visit?

    cleaning the gun shop

    Until the next time,

    Richelle and Ken Okada

    Comment on this update:


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      Tsuneo Kuwahara
      2017-09-22 00:46:06 +1200

      Tsuneo Kuwahara has pledged on 1 campaign

      Michael Fowler
      2017-09-21 23:14:37 +1200

      Michael Fowler has pledged on 1 campaign

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      Jo Woodcock
      2017-09-21 19:30:19 +1200

      Jo Woodcock has pledged on 1 campaign

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      Dana Jackson
      2017-09-21 18:01:46 +1200

      Dana Jackson has pledged on 2 campaigns

      “Great to see your dream turning into reality :-)”

      Yoshio Okada
      2017-09-21 17:31:23 +1200

      Yoshio Okada has pledged on 2 campaigns

      Miki Takagaki
      2017-09-21 15:46:30 +1200

      Miki Takagaki has pledged on 1 campaign

      “Ken-san, Good luck! Wishing you guys the very best! ”

      2017-09-21 15:45:49 +1200

      Jevon has pledged on 15 campaigns

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      2017-09-21 14:29:33 +1200

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      2017-09-21 12:51:25 +1200

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      Lawrenique williams
      2017-09-21 08:31:20 +1200

      Lawrenique williams has pledged on 4 campaigns

      “What a great idea!! looking forward to bringing my daughter along 🐈🐱😁 ”

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      Lawrenique williams
      2017-09-21 08:25:53 +1200

      Lawrenique williams has pledged on 4 campaigns

      “Goodluck!! I hope you are successful 😁 this is such an awesome idea. I look forward to visiting the kitties!! ”

      Maureen Petroni P
      2017-09-20 11:09:48 +1200

      Maureen Petroni P has pledged on 1 campaign

      “What a great idea! I have been waiting for that for so long thank you for doing this.”

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      2017-09-20 08:35:37 +1200

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      “Great to meet you guys last night at the PledgeMe party - good luck with the campaign!”

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      Pledges will only be confirmed if the target is reached by: 24/09/2017 at 6:00 PM