The craze of the cat cafe is believed to have started in Taipei, Taiwan when a family of cat lovers opened a little cafe called Cat Flower Garden in 1998. At its opening, this kitty cafe housed five stray cats and very few customers.
After the word spread about its feline regulars through a television report, cat lovers flocked to the cafe and its popularity soared. The idea caught on quickly in Japan, followed by Europe, Canada, the United States, Mexico and Australia.
Can you think of a more perfect way to spend an hour than curled up with a cup of coffee and a sweet kitty on your lap? Here is a peek at seven cool cat cafes around the globe.
1.Cat Cafe Neko no Niwa in Singapore
Owners Sue Lynn Tan and Samuel Chua were inspired to open Cat Cafe Neki no Niwa after visiting cat cafes in Japan, but Tan said they also opened it in memory of their late cat, Marbles.
They wanted to bring the therapeutic benefits of interacting with cats to Singapore, while attempting to change the common misconception in their area that cats are dirty and aloof.
Cat Cafe Neko no Niwa currently provides a happy home for 13 rescued cats. The cafe holds weekly cat care workshops and yoga with cats. Cat cafe visitors can pay an hourly or a day-long “cuddle charge.”
2. Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium in London, England
Did you recognize the name Lady Dinah from Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”? She’s Alice’s adoring cat who watched her go down the rabbit hole.
This cool cat cafe transports visitors to the magical world Wonderland with themed rooms embodying the look of a forest, a hedge maze and the Mad Hatter’s tea party. The cafe’s talented staff helped design parts of the cafe and its merchandise.
Visitors can choose to pay £10, or about $13 USD, for an entry session that includes “entry, cats and a cuppa”, or can enjoy a tiered lunch plate with the cats for £25, or about $35 USD, per person.
3. La Gatoteca in Madrid, Spain
If you get a chance to visit La Gatoteca, you can sip coffee from a cat-themed mug in front of a cat mural while holding (you guessed it) a cat. You may even fall in love and bring a cat home with you!
La Gatoteca opened in October 2013. Run by a nonprofit called ABRIGA, this coffee shop’s goal is to find homes for stray cats.
They frequently book speakers, hold events and offer free trainings for new cat parents. This shop takes reservations and caps the capacity at 20 to prevent overwhelming the cats. The entrance fee is €4, about $4.65 USD, for a half hour and €6, or roughly $7 USD, for an hour.
4. Les Cafe Des Chats in Paris, France
Les Cafe Des Chats opened in September 2013 as the first cat cafe in France, according to news reports. Unlike many other cat cafes, the focus here is as much on the food as it is on the cats.
The cafe serves brunch, lunch, snacks and dinner. Many of the ingredients used are local and organic.
Except for the kitchen, these adopted cafe kitties are free to roam wherever they please. They enjoy plenty of places to sleep and hide when they want to rest and be alone.
Chairs, shelves and drawers decorate the walls and offer the cats both jungle gym and sanctuary. House rules protect the cats from unattended children and interrupted naps.
5. Cat Cafe Melbourne in Australia
This cat cafe is touted as the first in Australia. It opened in 2014 for the purpose of providing a soothing environment for visitors and a safe and happy home for rescued cats, according to its website.
Cat Cafe Melbourne is two stories, complete with a staircase built for the cats to traverse the floors as they please. For $12 visitors can enjoy an hour-long session with the kitties.
You can learn about each of the resident cats by visiting the website. Clyde, pictured here, is known to frequent the reception desk and “help out” with tasks.
“When we’re looking for cats to introduce to the cat cafe we kind of ‘interview’ them at the shelters,” a café spokesperson said. “We try to find cats that are super social with people and then take them out of their cages to socialize them with other cats. They must be friendly towards other cats in order to fit in at the cat cafe as it is a unique environment for them. So far we have been very lucky and the cats get along very well with one another.”
6. Kopjes Katten Cafe in Amsterdam, Netherlands
Lenny Popelier reportedly brought the cat cafe concept to Amsterdam in April 2015 as the result of a successful crowdfunding campaign she launched in 2014. Kopjes, or Cups, currently houses eight cats who were adopted from two local shelters.
Today the cafe frequently holds “meowvie nights” and yoga sessions, or “cats on mats.” A 2-hour session costs €3, about $3.50 USD, and includes a visit with the cats as well as the opportunity to enjoy pastries and savory lunch items.
7. Brooklyn Cat Cafe in New York, United States
What makes this cafe unique is that it is completely volunteer based. It is run by nonprofit Brooklyn Bridge Animal Welfare Coalition. The BBAWC works to rescue, rehabilitate and find foster or permanent homes for abandoned and stray cats in Brooklyn.
The Brooklyn kitty cafe opened in 2016 with the purpose of providing an inviting space where cat lovers can interact with adoptable cats, according to its website. During its first year, the cafe reports that it saw 35,000 visitors and placed more than 250 cats in forever homes.
By Susan Johnson Taylor
Featured Image: via iStock.com/VickyLeeKaiWal