Cat Cafés are Growing in Popularity: A Purrfect way to Make New Friends

cat cafe japan

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If you happen to be traveling through Japan, while you are marveling at all the amazing sites but all of a sudden get a yen to cuddle with a kitty, put your mind at ease; there’s an abundance of cat cafés from which to choose. Not only can you quench your thirst with a delectable beverage, you can also have an up close and purrsonal connection with a clowder of cherished, friendly felines.

Even though cat cafes are flourishing in Japan, it was not the first country to open one of these feline-centered establishments. Taiwan opened their first cat café in 1998. After the brilliant idea of folks being able to combine the company of friendly cats while at the same time savoring the taste of their favorite coffee blend and socialize with one another was not not only accepted widely; the concept quickly went viral.

Apparently the cat-loving travelers who visited the original cat café in Taipei (Taiwan’s capital city), had so much they couldn’t stop talking about their experience. Their excitement opened the door for other cities around the world to open cat cafes. This helped to make these unique coffee houses a popular way to accommodate coffee- loving felinophiles.

But these establishments serve yet another important purpose. Cat lovers who live in rental apartments or houses that don’t allow pets on the premises get the opportunity to enjoy the company of felines, without worrying about losing their home. Should they break their rental agreement rules by sneaking a kitty into their dwelling, they could easily face eviction.

cat cafe Japan
Cat cafe at Shinjuku, Japan. Photo by Ari Helminen under creative commons license.

Due to the huge number of cat-crazy folks, in almost record time cat cafés began opening throughout Japan like wild fire, in cities such as Osaka and Tokyo. Not to be outdone, much to the delight of feline-worshippers, other Japanese cities started following suit, with cat cafés beginning to become rather commonplace.

But opening a cat café is not for the faint of heart. Although these cat cafés are in high demand, due to the stringent pet-protection laws in Japan, it makes the opening and operating of a feline-cafe establishment extremely frustrating. In order to comply with these regulations, owners of cat cafés are required to post a long list of rules and regulations to which their customers must adhere. There are even some cafés that prohibit customers from actually touching the cats. However, it’s acceptable for patrons to have a kitty on their lap if the cat is the one who makes the first overtures.

In Vienna, Neko (the Japanese word for cat) was the name of the first cat café to be opened in the city. But after the owner first applied for a license, it took three years for the authorities to grant her permission to open the establishment. The first five cats who were “employed”  were all adopted from a local animal shelter. Of course, since the patrons adored them and doted on them, naturally these rescued shelter kitties enjoyed a far greater quality of life.

According to the Huffington Post, there’s good Mews ahead for folks living in the United States. In the San Francisco Bay area two new cat cafés are being planned for the enjoyment of residents and tourist. The KitTea, located in San Francisco, will be colonizing the café with cats, by partnering with two shelters. The establishment will become a half-way home for adoptable cats. While a location has not yet been settled on, the owners are planning to make their cafe a place in which folks can interact and relax while enjoying the company of the kitties.

Cat Town will be opened in Oakland as an extension of Oakland’s Cat Town shelter. Although it has a heavy emphasis on adoption, everyone will be welcomed in for a free playtime with the kitties. Both of these cat cafes are scheduled to be opened sometime this year.

And Michael has told about Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium which has just opened in the East End of London, UK. We are told it opened on 1st March 2014. Although the Lady Dinah’s website indicates that it is not open yet. Please check. Apparently it took a lot of planning and preparation because, as mentioned, there are regulations to follow when you have domestic animals meandering around a café amongst the public. It has been well publicized and patronized. Michael promised me he’d visit and report on the experience.

How would you enjoy sipping a flavorful latte or your favorite blend of tea, sharing some human companionship with a cat purring happily on your lap? Tell us in a comment.


18 thoughts on “Cat Cafés are Growing in Popularity: A Purrfect way to Make New Friends”

  1. I love this concept. Now we need them all over the USA. Although I am well cared for by my cats I do know other people that would benefit from one of these cafes. Thanks for a great article.

  2. Its SO hard to believe that new zealand is about the size of just one city or one state. lol Just so hard to believe that one city can be so huge. As im in a town its so hard to understand.


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