Cat cafes have been a growing trend in Asian countries such as Japan and China over the past several years, but it appears that the phenomenon of pairing coffee with kitties is finally starting to catch on in other parts of the world.
After a three year battle over hygiene issues, Takako Ishimitsu was ultimately granted permission to open Austria's first cat cafe, Cafe Neko (neko means cat in Japanese), in the capital city of Vienna last week.
Ishimitsu, who is originally from Japan but has been living in Vienna for the past twenty years, wanted to bring a part of her cuddly culture to the Austrian coffeehouse scene. The five cats who lives in the cafe - Sonja, Thomas, Moritz, Luca, and Momo - were all rescued from the humane society, and are free to roam around and interact with customers. They also have plenty of beds and high up spots to retreat and take a nap, when they need to take a break.
Unlike a traditional cat cafe, patrons at Cafe Neko are only charged for the food they order, and don't have to pay an extra fee to enjoy stroking kitties as they sip. The cafe's menu includes coffee, Japanese tea and juices, and homemade cakes and snacks.
Flickr user Felix Kah visited Cafe Neko earlier this week, and agreed to share some pictures from his trip. He says, "My thoughts on the cafe are quite mixed. It's definitely a cute and awesome idea, but there is still need for much improvement in terms of the attitude appropriate to the cats. Although there were signs for treating the animals properly, there were still some guests who just didn't know how to behave to a cat."
All images courtesy of Felix Kah.
Know of any cat-themed travel destinations, or have some cool kitty vacation pics you'd like to share? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!