On the corner of Commercial Drive and Venables Street, Vancouver’s first-ever bunny café will be opening its doors in the next couple of weeks.
Michelle Furbacher, the owner and founder of Catfé, created the first cat cafe in Vancouver and Western Canada five years ago. She brought in rabbits as a pop-up event in 2019 when she didn’t have many cats for her café. The pop-up was a huge success, which is why it is now becoming its own location.
Furbacher has partnered with Sorelle Saidman, founder of Rabbitats Rescue Society, to host adoptable bunnies at the Bunny Café. Their goal is to educate people on proper care, help combat overpopulation, and find long-term homes for rabbits.
“With bunnies, there is more of a chance of them being returned,” says Furbacher. “People adopt them, but then they realize they weren’t really prepared for the amount of care that’s required for rabbits. We just want to make sure we’re educating people before they adopt.”
One of the challenges of running a business that cares for animals and the customers who interact with them is keeping track of everyone’s welfare.
In her experience with Catfé, she says it’s like having a huge foster family. Furbacher does daily health checks to make sure the cats are healthy. She will apply the same measures for the Bunny Café.
“They’re living beings, and you want to make sure that they’re all happy and not stressed out,” she says. “If they’re not happy there, we take them back to the rescue if it’s not the right environment for them.”
She initially wanted to open the business earlier, but the date had to be pushed back because of the pandemic. On Feb. 21, Furbacher and team member Jessica Delisle created a GoFundMe page to get a kickstart on their new business. They have raised over $10,000 of a $25,000 goal.
Due to the pandemic and current dine-in restrictions, the Bunny Café is opening first as a retail space and bunny lounge. They hope to switch to an actual café selling vegetarian and vegan-friendly items near the end of this year.
“It’s nice to have a place where [customers] can go interact with the animals,” Furbacher says. “It’s really soothing, just being surrounded by bunnies. It’s just kind of a nice way to de-stress.”
The Bunny Café will be located at 1696 Venables Street and is currently looking to hire those who have experience in customer service and retail sales and know about taking care of rabbits.
Furbacher says the pandemic has given herself and the team more time to work on the business to make it a special place.
“We’re really excited. This has been in the works for a couple years now, so we’re really excited to finally be getting to the point where we can actually share it with the public.”
Updates on the bunny café can be found on their Instagram page.