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.
Cat cafes are often used by those that cannot have cats in their own homes for any reason, whether this be for housing restrictions, living situations, those for whom a pet does not make sense (those who travel a lot or are in a temporary living situation), etc.
A cat cafe allows customers to enjoy many of the benefits of owning a cat.
The world's first cat café, "貓花園" (Cat Flower Garden), opened its doors in Taipei, Taiwan in 1998. The Taiwanese cat café, originally opened to provide a relaxing haven for busy urban workers, eventually became a famous 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. 
With the success of cat cafés in Japan, more and more cafés began popping up all over the world, from Café Neko, which opened in 2012 in Vienna, Austria, to cafés in Germany, Russia, Hungary, Spain, France and Italy. Some of these cafés have tried to stand out from the crowd by showcasing specific breeds, colors, fat cats, rescues or other classes of cats. For example, “Maison de Moggy”, the first cat café in Scotland, opened in January of 2015 hosting several special breeds of cats in the café and “La Gatoteca” in Madrid, Spain has 15 cats at a time, all available for adoption. 
Cat Cafés in North America
The first cat café to open in North America was Le Café des Chats/Cat Café Montrealin 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.
Three cafés currently in the planning stages are: “Catfé”; planning to open a location in Vancouver, British Columbia by the summer of 2015, and “Kitty Cat Café” and “Pet Me Meow” both planning cafés for Toronto to open in the Spring of 2015.
In April 2014 Purina ONE opened a pop-up, The Cat Café, in New York City for one weekend only and with lines circling the block is the official first cat café in America.The United States first permanent cat café, “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.
Cat Cafés in Europe
United Kingdom has embraced cat cafes in 2015, after the start of the high profile “Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium” in 2014, garnering local and international press coverage   . Following their subsequent success, cat cafes are expected to open in the UK in Birmingham, Edinburgh, Nottingham, and other major cities .
|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
- Cat Cafe Review Bangkok
- Edinburgh Cat Cafe opens
- Video of Edinburgh cat cafe