ginger cat and coffee cup - cat cafes

What are Cat Cafes, and why have they got so popular?

Are you the kind that likes a cat with your coffee? If so, there could be cat cafe near you to check out. Beng a cat lover, you’ve probably already heard of them but just in case – here’s an answer to an often asked question – what are cat cafes?

While a lot of independent stores were booted out of retail existence in the 2000s, e commerce then hit big time. Now a lot of our high streets have seen larger retailers either fail or go on line, and going to them is becoming more and more about the experience. Boutique places shops and cafes, such as cat ones are on the increase.

What are cat cafes exactly? A quick history

Cat cafes that house cats, and where visitors can mingle with them – or the other way around.

You can now find them all over the UK, but the first ones were in far east Asia. The world’s first, named ;Cat Flower Garden’ opened in Tapei, Taiwan as long ago as 1998, and before long there were several in Japan. One of Tokyo’s first ;Shop of Cats (Neko no mise) opened in 2005 and ruled all that cats (except for new-borns) could be cuddled.

Cats at Hapineko Cat Cafe” by osiristhe is marked with CC BY-ND 2.0.

One reason why cat cafes became such a ‘thing’ in Japan was that a lot of people were prohibited from having pets in their apartments. These places allowed people to communicate with and stroke the residents. This was certainly the idea behind Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium was the first venue of this type to open in London, Visitors could indulge the local kitties while having afternoon tea – within a 90 minute slot.

Lady Dinah’s got so popular that you now have to book an appointment if you want to visit. Luckily there are loads more to choose from in London, and in various parts of the UK

What do you do in a cat cafe?

In a cat cafe, people do pretty much what they do in any other type: they sip drinks, eat cake, hang out and chat with friends, or work on their laptop. The main difference is that there are cats around and people can stroke or play with them.

How do cat cafes work – do I have to book in advance?

For some of them, the answer is yes, but not all A lot of cat cafes charge by the hour, so it’s worth finding out about that before you go.

Are these cafes good for the cats themselves?

This is a slightly controversial topic among cat lovers. Some cat experts such as John Bradshaw at Bristol University have mentioned that putting them in places where there are lots of people goes contrary to cats’ natural tendencies.

However, others might mention that cat cafes are generally run by people who love cats, and want the best for them. Many of these establishments house cats that come from rescue homes. In some cases, they work in partnership with local charities. One of these is Java Whiskers in London, which works with The Scratching Post..

Where to find Cat cafes in the UK

You can find a fair few of them in London. In addition to the mentioned above Lady Dinah’s, they include:

  • Whisker’s & Cream at 593 Holloway Road (near the Emirates stadium, so good for Arsenal fans!)
  • Java Whiskers Cat Cafe at 105 Great Portland Street
  • Black Cat Cafe at 76A Clarence Road (that’s Lower Clapton, Hackey) – all vegan.
  • Dragon Cat Cafe (out West) at 18A Broadway Shopping Centre (Hammersmith).
  • The Little Cat Cafe (South East) at Myatt’s Fields Park, Cormont Rd, SE5

There are cat cafes South East in Eastborne (Mad Catter Cafe), Herne Bay, Kent (Cosy Cat Cafe), Rochester, Tonbridge and Rye.

In the South West you can find one at Newton Abbot, Devon (Cool for Cats Cafe) – this was a relocation of the UK’s first ever cat cafe in Totnes, and Bournemouth, as well as Cardiff’s Feline Good Cafe.

An assistant at a Cat Cafe  by Takashi(aes256) is marked with CC BY-SA 2

The UK midlands – Nottingham has Kitty Cafe in Friar Lane, and moving further north there’s Cafe Cat Manchester (High Street), Tabby Teas Cafe in Sheffield, Cat PawCino in Newcastle, and KittChen in Hawskhead, Cumbria.

Scotland also has a few, including Maison de Moggy in Edinburgh, The Cat in the Window Cafe in Aberdeen, and Glasgow‘s Purple Cat Cafe.

…but I already have a cat!

Point taken. These cafes can be great for people who love cats, but can’t have them for whatever reason. If you already have one or more, they may not hold the same appeal. That’s unless you’re the kind of person that can never get enough kitty stuff.

Wufmag posts regular pieces and articles of interest to cat-owners. If you are looking to give your kitty something great each month, why not try our monthly themed boxes?

What’s your Reaction?