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, "Cat Flower Garden" (貓花園), 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. Though the origin of cat café is Taiwan, the concept blossomed in Japan, where the first one named "Neko no Jikan" (lit. "Cat's Time") was opened in Osaka in 2004. 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
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 in Japan. Some feature specific categories of cat such as black cats, fat cats, rare breed cats or ex-stray cats. A cat café in Japan is required to obtain a license and comply with the strict requirements and regulations of the nation's Animal Treatment and 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 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.
Also, there is a new cat café that will open during July 2015 in Chelsea, a small municipality near of Ottawa, named the Siberian Cat Café. This cat café is particular, because it only shelter Siberian cats, making it the first hypoallergenic cat café in the world.
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 June 2015, the Crumbs and Whiskers cat café opened in the Washington metropolitan area, where it partnered with the local chapter of the Humane Society; this café provides a boarding space for around 15–25 cats at a time, all of which are provided by the Humane Society and made available for adoption.
In May 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.
The first Italian cat cafè opened in Turin in March 2014; at first it hosted six cats. Its name is MiaGola cafè , which in Italian can be interpreted as a language game: literally mia gola can be translated my throat, while miagola (stressed on the first syllable: miàgola) means (he or she) meows.
The cat cafe in Lithuania, Cat Cafe Kačių kavinė, opened in Vilnius in October 2014. Cat Cafe is located in cener at Jasinskio str 1. It is on of the biggest cafe with cats in the world. 13 cats live there.
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- Kati Palmurkar (May 3, 2015). "The First Grand Rapids Cat Cafe". Happy Cat Company. Retrieved May 4, 2015.
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- A cat café in Vancouver: The fuzzy face of economic diversity, The Vancouver Observer
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