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A preview of the forthcoming KitTea cafe in San Francisco.

Some people love cats; others loathe them as clawed and creepy. For the latter group, the idea of a "cat cafe" might conjure unsettling thoughts: You innocently walk in for a coffee and a croissant only to be swarmed and smothered by writhing felines.

Well, the San Francisco folks behind what could soon be America's first permanent cat cafe have released design images, and they should please even the kitty-phobic. Shift Design Studio has planned a chill-looking shop where animals and humans can enjoy separate spaces for the sake of everyone's comfort and safety. (The surreal concept mockups are a Photoshop feat of accidental art, featuring clipped-out photos of cats lounging around on a cartoonishly rendered background.)

News of this early peek at "KitTea," which has scored a years-long lease in the city's Hayes Valley neighborhood, was broken by local site Hoodline, which has basically owned this story since day one. Here's managing editor Rose Garrett explaining a bit more about the designs:

Many readers have wondered what the cafe would look and feel like in practice, and specifically how the division between cat lounge and tea house—a health code requirement—would be achieved. Below are the preliminary design mockups, which show the layout of the "cat lounge" side of the space, which includes both table seating (for humans) and cat seating along the opposite wall. The cat lounge will be separated from the tea house by a partition that includes a wall-mounted cat track.

The plans also indicate a "Cat Zen Retreat," perhaps for stressed-out felines off their Prozac, and a wall with transparent panes so kitties can play peak-a-boo with human customers. If all goes well, the store will be slinging java and hosting cat adoptions in the next few months. Have a look:

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