Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Look Inside a Hong Kong Cat Cafe

Cat cafes are most closely associated with Japan, and it's true, Tokyo is currently home to at least 39 of them. However, did you know that the first cat cafe in the world opened its doors in Taiwan in 1998?

Since then, the growth of cat cafes has exploded in popularity in many Asian countries as a result of modern urban dwellers seeking to connect with animals they may not be allowed to keep in their small apartments, and as a way to help deal with the stress and loneliness of city life. (Though, of course, it doesn't hurt that they're really cute and fun, too!)

More than just a meal experience, patrons often frequent these novelty cafes as a form of "supervised indoor pet rental."

Sadly, I haven't yet had the opportunity to visit a cat cafe, but one of my readers, Sandy (Mom to two gorgeous kitties, Monsieur and Milo A.K.A. M&M), recently paid a visit to "Cat's Place," a cat cafe in Hong Kong, where she lives. I asked her if she'd be willing to share her experience with us, and she happily obliged!

Sandy writes:

The cat cafe is located at a cosmopolitan place called Causeway Bay in Hong Kong. The ambiance is great, soft quiet music and they've managed to block off the sound from the busy streets downstairs. As soon as you walk into the door, you know you're in cat heaven!

The cat cut out has a photo of the cats living/working there attached. Such a clever idea!

Near the entrance they have many cat decorations, from ornaments and posters to small cat toys. It is an amazing collection!! And you can definitely tell that they've spent a long time collecting them. I was however, disappointed that I wasn't able to purchase anything. I was hoping for at least some cute collars.

As you walk into the main dinning area, you are immediately greeted with sleepy cats and "cat" furniture. You know, the ones that cat artistically re-decorate for us humans? The cats are definitely welcoming and you can pet them. I'm very happy that everyone knew how to handle cats. Even younger people (like 11 years old). Everyone respected the cat, and let them come to us. And if they didn't like the petting they will just walk off. I was very amazed with how the cats being not interested in human food. They never jumped onto my table when I was eating, nor did they try when I was away for a little bit to snap photos elsewhere.

There were about 14 cats in total, and most of them except for 1 or two were adult cats. The cats are definitely very comfortable and relaxed there. They had their own kitty counter underneath the counter where they can help themselves to food and water. There were signs there saying "We're eating, let's play later" so I guess customers can see kitties are having their own chow time. There were of course little corners and cat beds for cats to nap when they don't want to socialise. There were also a small tray of cat toys for customers to pick up and try with the cat.

The speech bubble on the top says "Eating now, let's play later," and this is where the cats help themselves to some nom nom. However the cat behind is like "I want to play now!"

The only cost is the food and drinks, just like any cafe. It is a bit pricey, and not for the average person who wants high quality cafe food. I'd say the price is probably the same as a gourmet cafe restaurant, and whilst the food isn't bad, it's just not at that standard. I'm sure people don't go there for the food, and I guess to cover the high rent, and slow customer flow, they do have to charge a bit for the food and drinks. They did ask me when I sat down "Are you a member?" and being a member is again free, they just ask for your name and email address.

In a back room, there is a workshop for making small crafts. There's also a small cake section where they sell cat shaped cookies and cakes. They did look sooooo nice, but again, it was too expensive.

When I left it did start to get crowded so I guess next time I should book ahead. I'd definitely go back, but just not on an empty stomach... ha..! If I could say what I'd like improved about that place is: 1) Get more cat accessories!! Maybe the restaurant isn't business orientated, but it's so difficult to get cute cat stuff in HK! 2) More cat obstacles/toys/furniture. There were a few scratching post and maybe the cats were happy just jumping onto counters and book shelves, but I'm sure a few tall cat posts wouldn't hurt.

Thank you so much to Sandy for sharing her cat cafe pics and experience with us!! Be sure to stop by her Facebook page to see even more pictures, and to meet her beautiful boys!

Have you visited a kitty-friendly tourist destination that you'd like to share? Drop me a line at catsparella@gmail.com!



Katnip Lounge said...

hmmmmm, I could do that at my house, Hubby can cook, and the Cats can be themselves!

Marg said...

MOL, Katnip. Too funny. Not a bad idea though. If we just had more room, we could do it too. My cats would definitely disappear. But that was a great post. Very interesting. I have seen a video at another place and there were a lot more cats.

Fr. Tom Fish said...

I like this post a lot. I saw a post about a bookstore in Hong Kong and I thought that was great, too.

Cats everywhere, yay!


Cat and DOG Chat With Caren said...

love the cafe...I am dying to eat there!

Anonymous said...

Great for a university town like Davis, but California regulations preclude such delightful endeavors.
Alternative: Volunteer at a local shelter.

Ellen Whyte said...

We lvoe pet friendly places!

Clooney said...

That is so great! (I'd also go to the Katnip Cafe.)

Mr Puddy said...

Look Crazy but me and my mom love it : )

Amy & the house of cats said...

We think cat cafes sound like fun - too bad we can't have them here. It could be a good way to get some cats out of shelters and somewhere that could be a forever home like situation.

Alex said...

I have never heard of Cat Cafes, but I want to go to one ASAP!!

Unknown said...

OMG! I want to go to there! LOL

Unknown said...

We need to change the animal /food establishment laws in the USA!
Bring on the cat cafe!
The rhyme was not intentional. Everyone knows cats do not rhyme.

Palate Sensations said...

I have been to this cafe in HK. It's great what the owner is doing. I don't think it's expensive at all. HK is pricey where ever you go.

Anonymous said...

I have been to the HK cafe. Even HK has regulations which would prevent it operating as a cafe. That is why it has to be a club. Eight cats would make a lot of hairs on the furniture, but much time and effort is put into cleaning, so there are minimal hairs on the cloth covered seats and no smell that I noticed. Food OK and nice music.

Anonymous said...

Can also be quite busy when a group of 8 students come in for lunch.

Anonymous said...

And by the way, for cat lovers it is a charming place, with cats to stroke and play with, cats chasing each other, great baskets of cats, every imaginable cat ornament
and a hundred books on cats, some in Cantonese and some in English.

Indah said...

I Love cats..have ten cats @home. I'll be visiting HK in a few weeks. It would be great if you can share some cat cafe addresses in Causeway Bay or Kowloon area.

Anonymous said...

I was visiting HK for several weeks for business and could not find this place for the life of me, even with walking directions printed out in hand and asking questions of several people. Could someone enlighten me to any clues on how to get here. I know there are shops upstairs in many buildings and I tried a few but never found the cafe! Very disappointing. I'm going back soon if anyone can help. :)

Gabrielle Kent said...

I can't quite remember how to get there, but I know it was on the third floor and I could see Muji through the window

Post a Comment


Related Posts with Thumbnails