Cats and cappuccinos may not seem the likeliest combination, but the idea has stirred the pot for several entrepreneurs across the country. The concept is simple: Come in for a coffee and play with a few cats while you’re there.
The first “cat café” opened its doors in Taipei, Taiwan in 1998. They’ve since spread throughout East Asia, especially in large, densely populated cities like Tokyo and Osaka, the former being home to nearly 40 kitty klatsches. Their popularity has been attributed to pet-free policies in many apartments, coupled with the solitary nature of city life — making pet rental incredibly lucrative.
Montréal and Vancouver are poised to receive their own cat cafés later this year, Café Chat l’heureux and Catfé, while Toronto will soon be home to both Kitty Cat Café and Pet Me Meow. The establishments have a philanthropic side as well, as the cats will be supplied by shelters and available for adoption by patrons. All four have taken to crowd funding website Indiegogo to raise funding, although so far only Café Chat l’heureux has been able to meets its goals. (Kitty Cat Café’s project is still in progress.)
You may be wondering how the cat cafés will meet health codes, or more importantly, how patrons can avoid finding a furball in their latté. Catfé’s plan is to separate the store into two sections, a bar in which to order food and drink, and a lounge to pet or play with the cats, assuming they’ll let you.
Because as any cat owner knows, the success of these cafés won’t be in the hands of the owners.
— Drew McLachlan
Because this article wouldn’t be complete without a cute cat video, here’s lunch break at the Minimal Café in Taipei: