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, "貓花園" (Cat Flower Garden), opened its doors in Taipei, Taiwan, in 1998. The Taiwanese cat café eventually became a tourist destination, attracting tourists from Japan as well as all over the globe.
Due to the Japan's land size and population, many residents live in small apartments or condominiums which do not allow pets, making a cat café a very popular destination for young workers looking for the companionship and comfort offered. Japan’s first cat café, named “Neko no mise” (Shop of Cats), opened in 2005. After this, the popularity of cat cafés boomed in Japan. From 2005 to 2010, seventy nine cat cafés opened across the country.
Cat Cafés in Asia
The first cat café in Singapore was Cat Cafe Neko no Niwa (Japanese for ‘Cat Garden’), while cat cafes in Japan, Korea and Thailand usually feature only pedigreed cats, Sam and Sue made a decision to only adopt cats for their cafe. As of today, there are more than 5 different cat cafes in the city.
Cat Cafés in North America
The first cat café to open in North America was Le Café des Chats/Cat Café Montreal in Montreal, Canada, which opened its doors to the public in August 2014.
There are 3 cafes in Canada and over 15 in the United States projected to open over the next year or two.
Following the opening of the first Canadian cat café, Le Café des Chats in August 2014; Café Chat L'Heureux (also in Montreal) opened in September 2014 with 8 cats adopted from local shelters.
The “Cat Town Café” opened in October 2014 and is a “cross between a coffee shop and an adoption center” in Oakland, CA. They were soon followed in December 2014 by “Planet Tails Cat Café” in Naples, FL and in quick succession by “Denver Cat Company” in Denver, CO, "Meow Parlour" in NYC, “The Cat Café” in San Diego, CA, “Purrington’s Cat Lounge” in Portland, OR and "Calico Nook" in Franklin, MA.
In 2015, the Crumbs and Whiskers cat café is slated to open in the Washington metropolitan area, where it will be partnering with the local chapter of the Humane Society; this café will provide a boarding space for around 15 cats at a time, all of which will be provided by the Humane Society and be available for adoption.
On May 3, 2015, Grand Rapids Michigan announced "Happy Cat Company & Cafe" will open sometime in 2016. They will be partnering with Crash's Landing, a local cat rescue in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Cat Cafés in Europe
According to local legend the world's first cat café opened in Vienna in the summer of 1912 and ceased operation approximately two years later. It is said that Vladimir Lenin was a regular for a period in 1913, finding the feline companionship a comfort during his time of exile. The cat café is known to have ceased operation shortly after the beginning of the First World War, although the much repeated story that the closure was due to its patriotic owner donating all the cats to a factory making fur lined boots for the war effort may be apocryphal.
Cafe Miao opened up in Copenhagen in 2014. For further information, visit its website.
Le Cafe des Chats is a cat cafe located on 16 Rue Michel le Comte, 75003 Paris, France. This cafe is a diner that includes desserts, tea, and, of course, cats. It is ideally situated in the catacombs beneath the streets of Paris. The waiting time can be long, so you may want to make a reservation. For further information, visit the website at: http://www.lecafedeschats.fr/#_=_ 
CatCafe is located in downtown Budapest near St. Steven's Basilica at Révay utca 3. For further information, visit its website.
- "Cat Café Singapore Pte Ltd. Website". About Cat Café Singapore Pte Ltd. Website. Cat Café Singapore Pte Ltd. 2015-04-06. Retrieved 2015-04-06.
- "5 Cat Cafes in Singapore". 5 Cat Cafes in Singapore. Open Rice. 2014-10-03. Retrieved 2015-04-06.
- "The Cat Cafe". The Cat Cafe.
- "Cat Cafe Opens in San Diego". Fox 5 San Diego.
- Caroline Tucker (28 March 2015). "Cat cafe pounces forward in D.C.". ABC7. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
- Courtney Pomeroy (23 March 2015). "D.C.’s Cat Cafe, Crumbs and Whiskers, Makes Strides Toward Opening This Year". CBS. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
- Rachel Nania (18 February 2015). "Founder shares plans for D.C.’s first cat café, Crumbs and Whiskers". WTOP. Washington's Top News. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
- Perry Stein (6 February 2015). "Meet the woman who left her consulting job to open D.C.’s first cat cafe". The Washington Post. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
- Perry Stein (9 March 2015). "Not-yet-open D.C. cat cafe raises serious money in 1 day". The Washington Post. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
- Maura Judkis (20 November 2014). "So, how would a cafe crawling with adorable kittens pass a D.C. health inspection?". The Washington Post. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
- Kati Palmurkar (3 May 2015). "The First Grand Rapids Cat Cafe". Happy Cat Company. Retrieved 4 May 2015.
|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
- Cat Cafe Opens In San DiegoFox 5 San Diego
- San Diego's Very Own Cat CafeSan Diego 6
- "A cat café in Vancouver: The fuzzy face of economic diversity". The Vancouver Observer. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
- Cat Cafe Planned for the Capital
- Cat Cafe Review Bangkok
- Edinburgh Cat Cafe opens
- Video of Edinburgh cat cafe