Cat cafes: The basic idea is as follows. An establishments that allows the customer to make feline friends while they enjoy their coffee.
This rather unusual business model already exist not only in Japan, but in Paris as well. Yet outside of Japan, the concept has yet to really gain much momentum for different reasons, including Health Department regulations, but there are some ready for their launch coming up this year and the next.
Entrepreneurs in Canada are giving the idea a try in British Columbia and Vancouver, the United Kingdom has already launched a handful in Birmingham, Edinburgh and Nottingham with reasonable success. True to the tradition of the French, food is involved and their version of the cat cafe is essentially a diner that includes desserts, tea, and, of course, cats. It is ideally situated in the catacombs beneath the streets of Paris, but call for reservations before just walking in.
The concept has hit Oakland, California as the first city in the United States to engage in this model, with a bit of a feel good twist. Unlike many capitalistic cash grab business with possible animal exploitation, the model of the cat in Portland, San Diego, Denver, NYC, Michigan and Massachusetts, partner with a local chapter of The Humane Society or another local cat rescue group.
Cat Café History: The world’s first cat café, “貓花園” (Cat Flower Garden), opened its doors in 1998 in Taipei and became a smashing success attracting tourists from all over Japan and beyond. Part of the reason for the success is in part due to the limited living space in Japanese apartments and rules disallowing most all pets that you can pet and play with. In addition, customers’ young and old, looking for mild to more serious companionship were the most prominent of all customer profiles.
This confirms that it’s time for Americans to just let animals start hanging out in our cafes and restaurants all the time. Health codes are kind of bogus anyway, right?
Here’s a YouTube video of the experience in Japan’s Cat Café. (Cut and paste in to your browser.)