So what is a cat cafe? Think indoor petting zoo meets restaurant meets animal shelter. We'll break down what exactly goes down in these establishments.
A cat cafe is a place where people can visit and play with cats and perhaps even partake in an activity in the space. Ever walk into a business and think "You know what this place needs? 10-15 cats roaming around freely." Well, somewhere down the line someone (other than me) thought that and made cat cafes happen. And boy are we grateful!
Although all cat cafes are not the same, generally speaking, they are feline friendly coffee shops (sometimes sans coffee) where cats can just be cats. Many are also part shelters that feature adoptable kitties. This offers up a new approach to adoption where people can interact with cats in a more relaxed space. This allows for the animal's personalities to really come through. In most cases, proceeds go right back into the cafe and directly supports the mission of saving and harboring more felines.
Although you can find plenty of cat cafes in major U.S. cities, these businesses did not start popping up and spreading throughout North America until 2014. In fact, the first cat cafe started in Taiwan in 1998. This "Cat Flower Garden" quickly became a bustling local and tourist favorite. But it wasn't until the concept hit Osaka, Japan that trend really started to blossom. Eventually, the popularity of these establishments made it overseas, and as of 2017, there are nearly 100 cat cafes in North America, with no indication of slowing down.
Did you know that cats can actually reduce anxiety and stress? Yes, it's true! Many studies have shown that having a feline around can calm nerves and even improve your overall health.