Living in Brooklyn can be depressingly limiting if you want to have a pet — long work hours, cranky landlords, prohibitively expensive dog walkers, mounting fear of commitment. We recently discovered that we’re not actually doomed for exile in an animal-less world thanks to a few new conveniences popping up around New York. We tried a few (but not all!) hacks that let you feel like you have a pet in New York without risking eviction or committing yourself to a creature for life.
Cuddle with Kittens at a Cat Café
It would be an overstatement to say that cat cafés have taken over New York City, but there are a surprising number of places to hang out with some cats in public. We decided to try out Koneko, which sounded the most true to Japanese origins of the group-cat-hangout, and also serves wine. We were really excited to drink and play with some soft, energetic kittens! But after a few minutes, we remembered that kittens, however cute, aren’t puppies. Cats like to sit quietly and when you try to pet them hiss loudly, or even bite. For this reason, you’re not allowed to pick the cats up. The facility was very zen and had a nice outdoor space, and the staff was really friendly and eager to explain every cat’s name and personality quirks. But mostly we sat a few feet away from a cat named Lionel, waving feathery and sparkly toys in his face while being thoroughly ignored. One cat was infinitely more interested in a space heater than our attempts to cuddle. We finished our wine. Maybe that’s what it’s like to have a cat? We’re dog people.
Koneko is located at 26 Clinton St., New York, NY, and open from 9am-10pm everyday except Tuesday.
Borrow a dog with this app
The Bark’N’Borrow app looks like a dating app — it’s strikingly similar to Grindr and a bit like Bumble, too. However, instead of being matched with Charlie, a 24 year old man with a beard and too many pictures at open mic nights, you’re matched with Charlie, a 4 year old grey and white schnoodle who is good with children and other dogs. First you create a profile specifying what qualities in a dog you are looking for (age, size, training level), what you just can’t stand (aggressive, intimidating), and why you want to borrow or dog sit a stranger’s dog. Then, you are presented with a surprisingly long list of “buddies” (puppies) that are both early tech adopters and eager for a playdate. Allegedly, it just takes a few swipes to set up a “booking” with your dog of choice, but I haven’t been matched with one yet. Woof! Swipe back Charlie!
Um, you can rent an alligator
Don’t forget your proximity to Broadway, because apparently it enables you to do many, many things. Like rent an alligator. Primetime Reptile Rental has everything you could possibly need to feel like a temporary owner of an exotic animal. 50 pound African Tortoises? Check. Six foot Tegu Lizards? Check. 15 foot Burmese Pythons? Check. “Young” Alligators? Check. They also have “many smaller lizards,” if you want to just dip your toe in the reptile pool, so to speak. They’ll bring animals to your establishment with a trained handler, so it doesn’t come cheap, but with just one click all this can be yours. By the way, according to the website, baby alligators can run about 15 feet long so be prepared.
Rent the reptile of your nightmares here