Have you ever thought that the only thing missing from your coffeehouse experience is a cuddly cat to pet while you sip your soy latte? The people of Japan thought about it a while back and popularized cat cafes.
Since Tokyo isn’t a city known for space, many of the capital’s apartment-dwelling citizens needed to find a way to get their animal affection fix elsewhere—enter the feline loaners. Customers come to spend time with the cats in an effort to relax and de-stress from chaotic city life. The concept was so popular that Japan expanded it to include all sorts of animals like owls, snakes, and goats. Personally, if it’s not a dog I don’t see an animal having that kind of effect on me, but cat fanatics everywhere would disagree—including the U.S.
According to the Huffington Post, America is finally getting it’s first two cat cafes in California’s San Francisco Bay Area. The two spots have names that are respectively clever and self-explanatory: KitTea in San Francisco and Cat Town Cafe in Oakland.
According to the KitTea website one of the owners, Courtney, experienced Japan’s cat cafes firsthand and thought it would be a great fit in the San Fran area. Patrons can come in as often as they like and get to know the rescued cats that live there. All cats will be available for adoption, so this model should work great for folks who want to be sure that they can connect with a cat before adopting it.
Cat Town Cafe is in earlier planning stages; they’ve taken to indiegogo in an attempt to fund the project. According to their appeal, Cat Town Cafe plans to “provide a fun and social environment for adoptable cats (and people), while relieving some pressure and freeing up some much needed space at Oakland Animal Services, Oakland’s municipal animal shelter, and bringing a brand new experience to the people of Oakland and the rest of the Bay Area.”
A retailer on the Pet Business 2014 Top 25 Retailers List is lending a hand to Cat Town Cafe. California-based retail chain Pet Food Express will help Cat Town Cafe find a retail space, negotiate a lease and help Cat Town Cafe pay rent. The people behind Cat Town Cafe have also laid out the issues they are facing and feature a very informative FAQ section.
It sounds like both cafes have purrr-fectly good intentions, but we’ll have to wait and see if they catch on in the States. Until then I’ll be having my tea without the ‘kit.’