Image: Opening of Meow Mix Cafe
Paul Hawthorne  /  Getty Images
Allison Cardona, right, and her cat, Book, attend the opening of Meow Mix Cafe in New York City on Aug. 17.
updated 9/2/2004 2:23:48 PM ET 2004-09-02T18:23:48

Dressed in a tuxedo, Simba sat at the front of one of Manhattan’s newest dining establishments and nodded at people who greeted him.

Then he yawned, began to roll on the floor and lick his paws.

That’s acceptable behavior at the Meow Mix Cafe, a new eatery designed especially for cats and their human owners.

Simba, an 8-month-old kitten, was joined by about two dozen other tabbies, Persians and Burmese for a feast at Tuesday’s grand opening of the cafe, which is owned by the Meow Mix Company, a Secaucus, N.J.-based cat food maker.

“Why not take your cat out for dinner?” asked Simba’s owner, Leah Thompson, 19. “There’s always things for dogs, but never cats.”

The midtown restaurant serves Meow Mix packets for its feline customers with corresponding dishes to satisfy human palates. “Deep Sea Delight” mackerel for cats is paired with tuna rolls for cat owners; “Upstream Dream” salmon for felines corresponds with mini crab cakes for humans.

Meow Mix president and CEO Richard Thompson said the feline-friendly restaurant has two main rules: no dogs and no catnip, which must be checked at the door.

“Our goal is to keep cats happy,” Thompson said. “The idea is that you can bring them and start socializing them.”

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