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A cat café is a theme café whose attraction is cats that can be watched and played with. Patrons pay a cover fee, generally hourly, and thus cat cafés can be seen as a form of supervised indoor pet rental.
The world's first cat café[f 1] opened in Taiwan in 1998. The Taiwanese cat café, located in Taipei, eventually became famous in Japan and began to attract many Japanese tourists as well as domestic visitors. In Japan, the first cat café[f 2] opened in Osaka in 2004.
Cat cafés are quite popular in Japan, with Tokyo being home to at least 39 cat cafés. The first was Cat's Store (猫の店 Neko no Mise?), by Norimasa Hanada, which opened in 2005. The popularity of cat cafés in Japan is attributed to many apartments forbidding pets, and to cats providing relaxing companionship in what may otherwise be a stressful and lonesome urban life. Other forms of pet rental, such as rabbit cafes, are also common in Japan.
There are various types of cat café. Some feature specific categories of cat such as black cats, fat cats, rare breed cats or ex-stray cats. A cat café must obtain a license and comply with the strict requirements and regulations of the Animal Treatment/Protection Law.
Japanese cat cafés feature strict rules to ensure cleanliness and animal welfare, in particular seeking to ensure that the cats are not disturbed by excessive and unwanted attention, such as by young children or when sleeping. Many cat cafés also seek to raise awareness of cat welfare issues, such as abandoned and stray cats and many often have cats from local animal shelters to help them lose any fear of humans and advertise them for possible adoption.
One café in Tokyo added goats as a way of having a unique element.
Cat's Royalty Dubai Cat Café, is one of a kind cat café located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The first café with freely moving felines opened in 2009 and then few more branches in 2013. Each place combines a little cozy café, a feline club, and, what is the most important, a "cat therapy" hall. There are 20 therapy cats of various breeds working there & meeting guests. This place is meant for everyone who loves cats, or for people who for some reason cannot afford having animals but wants to socialize with them, or for those who want to learn how to treat cats, to get to know more about them and their breeds. You can meet many purebred and rescued kitties in each café.
- In Korea, there is a chain called "Cat Attic" (Korean: 고양이다락방) with 9 locations in Seoul and Busan. "Norie Cat" (Korean: 노리캣) opened in November 2012 in Cheonan-si, Chungcheongnam-do, with around 20 cats, and there are many other privately owned cat cafés, especially in Seoul and other major cities.
- In Malaysia, the "Purrfect Cat Café" opened in Georgetown, Penang. In February 2014 it had 8 cats.
- In Bangkok, the Purr Cat Café Club boasts fourteen Persians as well as a cat beautician and outfit shop.
- In Singapore, the first cat cafe is Neko no Niwa ( www.catcafe.com.sg )at Clark Quay and the second Cat cafe was opened on 22 June 2014 ( www.thecatcafe.sg )
- In Austria, one of the first cat cafés in Europe, Cafe Neko, opened in Vienna.
- In March 2012 the first planning application for a cat café in the UK was lodged. This had to be withdrawn as the original site became unavailable. After the second planning application was passed for a new site, the UK's first cat café opened in May 2013, in Totnes, Devon. In December 2012, a campaign to open a cat café in London, England was launched. The café will be populated by rescue cats, and building work is under way. London's Cat Café called Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium opened its doors in March 2014.
- In Hungary, one 'Cat Café Budapest' opened in February 2013, and another in March 2013.
- In Germany, Cafe Katzentempel in Munich and Pee Pees Katzencafe in Berlin opened this 2013.
- The first cat café in Spain, La Gatoteca, opened on October 15 in Madrid, 2013.La Gatoteca
- In France, a cat café opened in Paris. "Le Café des Chats", in the Marais district, has formerly abandoned and homeless cats roaming around, for what the owner calls "purr therapy". The first weekend drew a record crowd, with bookings for the next two months.
- The UK's first cat café, Totnes Cat Cafe, opened in South Devon, May 2013.
- The cat cafe in Lithuania Cat Cafe Kačių kavinė is scheduled to open in Vilnius in Jule 2014.
- The first Cat Café in Italy, Neko Café, opened in Torino on 5 April 2014 
- The first Cat Café in the Netherlands opens in Amsterdam after a successful crowdfunding campaign. 
- Two sisters are seeking to bring a cat cafe into Edinburgh Scotland. They say that the large student population and the number of housing units that don't allow pets make for a high number of residents who will want to enjoy a cup of coffee while interacting with a cat.
- In the United States two cat cafés are scheduled to open in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2014.
- KitTea's crowd funding campaign achieved its goal, with over 800 people contributing more than $50,000
- Canada's first cat café, Café Chat l’Heureux, is scheduled to open in Montreal, Quebec in Summer 2014.
- In Vancouver, British Columbia, plans for a location called Catfé are in the works for Fall 2014.
- Southern California is the planned location of two cat cafes, with The Cat Cafe projected to open in the fall of 2014  and Catfe planned for Los Angeles.
- San Diego's cat cafe has signed a lease for its location at 472 Third Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101
- Toronto's cat cafe, Kitty Cat Cafe, is projected to open in September 2014. Kitty Cat Cafe has launched a crowd funding campaign to help with the development costs www.kittycatcafe.ca
- Toronto's Pet Me Meow, recently launched Canada's first Pop-Up Cat Cafe and is scheduled to open a permanent location early fall 2014. Partnered with Toronto Cat Rescue, Pet Me Meow will host rescue cats you can play with and adopt. More info can be found at 
- named "貓花園" (Cat Flower Garden) - Nikkei BP, May 2, 2008
- named "猫の時間" (Neko no Jikan, literally "Cat's Time") - Nikkei BP, May 2, 2008
- Nikkei BP : Article on May 2, 2008 (Japanese)
- ASCII : Article on August 19, 2007 (Japanese)
- "Tokyo's rabbit cafes hopping with customers." The Japan Times. February 16, 2012. Retrieved on July 13, 2013.
- Iwata, Mamiko, All About : Article on March 7, 2010 (Japanese)
- "Tokyo cafe employs goats to add 'wow factor' - video." Reuters at The Guardian. July 11, 2013. Retrieved on July 13, 2013.
- "Purr Cat Cafe Bangkok – Bangkok.com Magazine". Bangkok.com. Retrieved 2014-05-31.
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- Nemire, Jessica (2014-01-29). "Not to Be Outdone By S.F., Oakland Gets Its Own Cat Cafe | SF Weekly". Blogs.sfweekly.com. Retrieved 2014-05-31.
- 3/28/14 1:15pm 3/28/14 1:15pm. "San Francisco Cat Cafe Raises $50,000 Because HI PRETTY KITTY". Jezebel.com. Retrieved 2014-05-31.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Cat cafés.|
- Tokyo's cat cafes, Global Post
- Cat cafe soothes Tokyo's busy feline lovers, Reuters
- Tokyo's cat cafes offer serenity in the city, Christian Science Monitor
- San Diego Cat Cafe Could be First in Country NBC 7 San Diego
- "A cat café in Vancouver: The fuzzy face of economic diversity". The Vancouver Observer. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
- Cat Cafe Planned for the Capital