Meghan Smith

DePaul University '18 - Chicago Journalist

Joined July 6, 2016

Cat Café’s Continuing to Grow in the States

Published: Aug 10, 2016


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Cat Café's have been popular in Asia since the early 2000's, but are now beginning to take off in the states.
 

Chicago, IL, 60654

When a stimulating cup of coffee isn’t quite enough, perhaps a furry companion can serve as a morning boost or afternoon pick-me-up.  With America’s first Cat Café opening in California in 2014, customers had the opportunity to enjoy their favorite drinks aside the company of a friendly feline.

In lieu of the business’s success worldwide, nearly 30 more Cat Cafés have popped up across the states throughout 2015 and well into 2016. Each new café brings a twist to the original, which opened its doors in Taiwan in 1998. The original Cat Café in Taipei was a bit pricy and forbid its customers from waking a sleeping cat or photographing the animals with flash photography.

The idea of combining a sanctuary for cats and a coffeehouse for caffeine fiends became intensely popular when Japanese tourists brought the idea to Japan in 2004. Only a decade later, the trend has spread across Europe and now to North America, where Caféssuch as ‘Catmosphere,’ located in Cincinnati, and ‘Catfe,’ located in Vancouver have recently opened.

Many western cat cafes offer alcohol in addition to warm beverages such as coffee and tea. The process of bringing these unique Cat Café’s to America however, was not as smooth as it was in Japan. In fact, strict food service industry regulations have made it quite difficult for business owners to emulate the Japanese trend. Local laws such as in San Francisco forced ‘KitTea’ to completely separate the dining area from the kitten’s playhouse in addition to getting a slew of permits.

Although re-creating the Cat Café has been a challenge, each unique business is working for the overall good. At nearly all cat cafes across the globe, cats are free from cage-lined shelters and have the opportunity to be visited by customers or even be adopted into a new home. Cat owner, Katina Calamari said, “I can think of when I feel lonely or bored and I want to go somewhere with animals but not a pet store, and I wouldn’t mind drinking coffee and doing school work while petting a cat!” Whether you are a cat lover, a coffee lover, or a mix of the two, cat cafes are the purrfect place for you.

 


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