From Menswear to Catwear: The Story of a Retired Shop Owner turned Cat Bed Maker

Jaeshin Ha, a 79-year-old retiree, has spent every day of his retirement crafting comfortable beds and toys for rescue cats. After running a men’s clothing shop for over four decades, Jaeshin retired with his wife in 2019, but instead of taking it easy, he has found a new calling.

@whiskstowhiskers It makes me so happy to see how my dad spends his retirement. I hope one day, I can have days that feel like it’s purposeful, but also includes mid-day naps, K-dramas, and cat time. #catdadha #dad #cats #dayinthelife ♬ Aesthetic – Tollan Kim

Jaeshin’s daughter, Christina, is the co-founder of Meow Parlor, New York City’s first cat cafe, and the president of its affiliated nonprofit, Meow Parlour Cats, Inc. One day, while brainstorming for ideas, the family came up with the idea of creating cat beds, and Jaeshin and his wife got to work on creating the perfect design.

Jaeshin is a perfectionist, and his attention to detail ensured that his cat beds were not only comfortable but also durable enough to withstand frequent washes. He noticed how cats would sit in the middle of any piece of fabric he laid out, and that inspired him to create a flat bed that cats would love.

Cat Bed Maker

To test the prototypes, the family gave them to cat fosters and adopters, who provided feedback on the design. They also washed the beds to ensure they could withstand multiple washes. After a few iterations, the family came up with the perfect cat bed, which is now sold through Meow Parlour’s website, the brick-and-mortar cafe, and A portion of the sales goes to Meow Parlour’s nonprofit, and another portion goes to Jaeshin’s family for their hard work.

@whiskstowhiskers Replying to @susanlovesfae This was unexpected, but my parents were absolutely psyched when I told them about all of you. My mom clapped and cheered and my dad kept asking me for high fives all day. I’m really grateful that my parents get to spend their retirement in a meaningful way that gives them purpose, joy, and pride. Plus, they get to help cats! Our new foster is about 6 days old and she is doing really well thanks to you. I’d love some name suggestions for her. #catdadha #catdad #fosterkittens #smallbusiness #adayinthelife ♬ Bundle of Joy (From “Inside Out”) – Benny Martin

In addition to the cat beds, Jaeshin and his wife also create handmade cat toys. Their creations include toys shaped like starfish, ladybugs, turtles, and even kimbap, a Korean rice roll. Jaeshin’s theory that cats love fish inspired many of his ocean-themed creations, such as seahorses and sharks. The toys are sold alongside the cat beds and are a hit with customers.

Cat Bed Maker

The cat beds and toys have given Jaeshin and his wife a sense of purpose in their retirement, and they are making a positive impact on the lives of rescue cats all over the world. Christina is proud of her parents’ work and says that the cat beds have brought her family closer together.

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