Cat café

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Cat cafe "Cats Republic" Saint Petersburg, Russia

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.

Etymology[edit]

Cat café has been officially recognized in the online edition of the Oxford Dictionary of English since August 2015.[1]

History[edit]

The world's first cat café, "Cat Flower Garden" (貓花園[2]), opened its doors in Taipei, Taiwan, in 1998.[3] The Taiwanese cat café eventually became a tourist destination, attracting tourists from Japan as well as all over the globe.[4] Though the origin of cat café is in Taiwan, the concept blossomed in Japan,[3] where the first one named "Neko no Jikan" (lit. "Cat's Time") was opened in Osaka in 2004.[2] 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. Tokyo'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.[5]

Controversy[edit]

In the United Kingdom animal charities disagree on whether cat cafés are a suitable environment for cats with the RSPCA, Cats Protection and the Celia Hammond Animal Trust criticizing them for keeping large numbers of cats in a confined space with a revolving population of people. International Cat Care takes a more positive view saying "It is a difficult environment to get right but it's not impossible by any means". However, all the charities agree that cat cafés need to be properly regulated.[6]

Asia[edit]

India[edit]

India's first cat café, Cat Café Studio, opened in 2010 in Mumbai.[7]

Japan[edit]

Nekokaigi, a small cat café in Kyoto.
Female Somali in cat Café in Tokyo

Cat cafés are quite popular in Japan, with Tokyo being home to 58 cat cafés as of 2015.[8] 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 cafés, are also common in Japan.[9]

There are various types of cat cafés in Japan. Some feature specific categories of cat such as black cats, fat cats, rare breed cats or ex-stray cats. Every 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.[10]

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. From 2012 the cats could be displayed until 8 pm, but in 2016 the guidelines of the environment ministry state that they may visit and play with customers until 10 pm.[11]

One café in Tokyo added goats as a way of having a unique element.[12]

Singapore[edit]

The first cat café in Singapore is Cat Café Neko no Niwa (Japanese for ‘Cat Garden’). As of today, there are more than five cat and dog cafés in the city.[13][14] The cat cafés are namely Neko no Niwa, The Cat Cafés, The Company of Cats, Meomi Cat Café and Cuddles Cat Café. Neko no Niwa, The Company of Cats and The Cat Café feature cats who were rescued.[15]

The Singaporean Cat Cafes are regulated and licensed by AVA and they are all bound to a 'code of conduct'. Individuals having questions with their cat needs, can join the Cat Welfare Society, which helps with medical fees, sterilization costs or adopting of the cats. Cat Cafes usually have their own/specific houserules.[16][17]

Cuddles Cat Cafe was investigated by Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) in December 2014.[18]

Taiwan[edit]

Cats are popular pets in Taiwan, with the cat population increasing rapidly in recent years.[19] The world's first cat café, named "Cat Flower Garden", opened in Taipei in 1998,[20] where there is also a luxurious "Cathy Hotel" especially for cats.[19] The Taiwanese cat café concept next spread to Japan, and later to most other countries around the world.[21]

Thailand[edit]

Thailand has several cat cafés, most in Bangkok. Cat Cafe by Dome, Cat Up Cafe, Caturday, Cataholic Cafe, The Coffee Cat, Mohu Mohu Cafe and Purr Cat Cafe Club are all located in Bangkok.[22] Each serves baked goods with a small menu of main dishes and coffee and tea. Many have special pricing for petting time with a specific cat. Prices are usually higher than at most cafés but not unreasonably so. They all have rules regarding the behavior of guests towards the cats and often have purebred cats. Catmosphere Cat Cafe and Maewmoth cafés are located in Chiang Mai.[23]

Europe[edit]

Cat cafe in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Austria[edit]

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's donating all the cats to a factory making fur-lined boots for the war effort may be apocryphal.[24] In 2012 cat café Neko was opened in Vienna.

Belgium[edit]

Le chat touille opened up in Brussels in 2014.[citation needed]

Czech Republic[edit]

Kočkafé Freya opened in Prague in 2014. It was followed by three other cafes in Prague, along with cat cafes in Olomouc, Pardubice, and other Czech cities.

Denmark[edit]

Cafe Miao opened up in Copenhagen in 2014, but closed in 2017.

Estonia[edit]

The first cat café in Estonia, Kassikohvik Nurri, opened in October 2014 in Tallinn.

Finland[edit]

The first cat café in Finland, Kissakahvila Purnauskis, opened in November 2014 in Tampere. It is a permanent home for seven cats.

The second cat café, Kissakahvila Helsinki, opened in July 2015 in Helsinki. It is a permanent home for six cats.[25]

France[edit]

Le Café des Chats is a cat café located on 16 Rue Michel le Comte in Paris in 2013. This café is a diner that includes desserts, tea, and, of course, cats.[26]

Kafelin is a cat cafe in Montpellier.

Germany[edit]

Stubentiger Cafe in Hannover opened in August 2015 with a varied menu, including vegetarian, gluten-free and vegan.[27] In Munich, there is Café Katzentempel. Cologne has Cafe Schnurrke.[28] In Berlin there is Pee Pees Katzencafe,[29] BaristaCats,[30] and Zur Mieze.[31]

Hungary[edit]

Cat Café & Gallery is located in downtown Budapest near St. Stephen's Basilica at Révay utca 3.[32] Cat Café is located on Damjanich utca 38.[33]

Italy[edit]

The first Italian cat café opened in Turin in March 2014; at first it hosted six cats. Its name is MiaGola Café,[34] 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 Neko Cat Cafe was opened in Turin on 5 April 2014.[35][36] The resident cats are all adopted from animal welfare organizations.

Latvia[edit]

The cat café in Latvia, MINKA cat cafe, opened in Riga in February 2015. MINKA Cat Cafe is located near the center at Meža street 4a.[37]

Lithuania[edit]

The cat café in Lithuania "Cat Cafe Kačių kavinė" opened in Vilnius in October 2014. Cat Cafe is located in center at Jasinskio str 1. It is one of the biggest cafes with cats in the world. 15 cats live there.[38]

Netherlands[edit]

The cat café Kopjes opened in Amsterdam in April 2015.[39] In Groningen Kattencafé Op z'n Kop opened in February 2016[40] and cat café Poeslief opened in October 2016.[41] The cat café Miespoes opened in Den Bosch in 2016, as did cat café Katdeau in Hengelo. In August 2016 kattencafé Ditjes & Katjes opened in The Hague.[42] Shortly afterwards Pebbles opened its doors as the first cat café in Rotterdam.[43]

Poland[edit]

"Kociarnia", the first cat café in Poland was opened in Kraków in June 2015.[44] The name is a combination of Polish words kocia (of a cat) and kawiarnia (a café).

A second cat café, "Miau Café", opened in Warsaw in January 2016.[45] This is a coffee and cake cafe that is also a shelter for homeless cats. It has vegan items on the human menu.[46] The Miau Café came to life thanks to the crowdfunding campaign on the Polish platform, wspieram.to where the 1 700 residents of Warsaw pulled in the financial resources to make the idea of the first cat café in Warsaw come true.[47]

Romania[edit]

Miau Cafe was opened in Spring 2015 in Bucharest.[48] A coffee house named Lady Cat also opened in Cluj-Napoca in March 2016.[49]

Russia[edit]

The first cat cafe in Europe and in Russia "Cats Republic" was opened in the center of Saint Petersburg in 2011. There are live 25 cats.[50]

United Kingdom[edit]

England[edit]

The first British cat café opened in Totnes, Devon in June 2013.[51] However it closed in May 2014 due to staff illness and the need to safeguard the owner's health.[52]

The Manchester Cat Café

In 2014 Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium opened to significant media attention[53][54][55] and a two-month waiting list.[56] Newcastle is now[when?] home to Mog on The Tyne Cat Café[57] and Willow Cat Cafe.[58] Nottingham has a cat café called Kitty Café.[59] In 2015, several other UK cafes were in planning.[60]

The Bag of Nails in Bristol is a cat pub, and has had as many as 24 cats.[61][62]

A cat cafe opened in the Northern Quarter of Manchester on 30 July 2016.[63]

PAUSE cat cafe will open its doors in Bournemouth later on in the year and will become the first on the South coast. After a crowdfunding campaign, the cafe, at Old Christchurch Road, will have 12 resident rescue cats roaming the two floors. Rescuing felines will be promoted.[64]

Scotland[edit]

Maison de Moggy is the first cat café in Scotland and opened in January 2015.[65][66] Purrple Cat Cafe is planning to be Glasgow's first cat cafe, and is due to open in the summer of 2017 [67]

North America[edit]

Cat cafés have been spreading across North America since 2014. The goal in North America generally is to help get cats adopted by partnering with local cat rescues.[citation needed]

Canada[edit]

The first cat café to open in Canada was Le Café des Chats/Cat Café Montreal[68] in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, which opened its doors to the public in August 2014.

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.

Saturday, 17 October 2015 saw the opening of Ontario's first cat café located in Guelph, Ontario.[69]

Catfe opened in Vancouver, British Columbia on 14 December 2015 [70] and Kitty Cat Café and Pet Me Meow are both planning cafés for Toronto to open in 2015.[71]

The Siberian Cat Café opened in 2015 Chelsea. This cat café has only Siberian cats, making it the first hypoallergenic cat café in the world.[72]

United States[edit]

The Charming Cat Cafe in Vista Ridge mall, Lewisville, TX
The Charming Cat Cafe in Vista Ridge Mall, Lewisville, Texas
A cat café in the Lower East Side, New York City

In the United States, compliance with governmental food service regulations is required. The area where the cats are playing or being considered for adoption must be entirely separated from the area where food and drink are served. For example, a newly adopted cat must leave through a separate door without passing a food serving area.[73]

Cat cafés in the United States differ from those in many other countries by their focus on adoptions. Hundreds of animals have been adopted through their efforts. In some cases, adoptions are completed for customers visiting on vacation. For example, The Cat Cafe in San Diego has completed adoptions for customers visiting from Nebraska,[74] the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, and Pennsylvania.

KitTea was the first cat café to announce its plans to open in the United States. The news was first leaked via an article posted via The Laughing Squid[75] and SFIST[76] on 22 January 2014. Although KitTea was unable to open as the first cat café due to raised rents and construction delays,[77] they are proudly known as the first and only cat café in San Francisco, California.[78] On 24 June 2015, KitTea finally opened its doors to the anticipating public[79] and continues to support cats from Wonder Cat Rescue and the ACC in San Francisco.

Mexico[edit]

Cat cafés have been established in the capital, Mexico city, and in the State of Baja California. "Bastet Cafe" opened its doors on 30 August 2015 in Tijuana.[80]

Oceania[edit]

New Zealand[edit]

New Zealand's first cat café, The Cat Lounge, opened in November 2015 in Auckland.[81]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

News stories[edit]