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Gatto in braccio a cliente del cat cafè
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It often happens to wake up on the wrong side of the bed and need a cup of coffee and some affection to start the day. Animals are the best in this sense.

Cat cafés, born in the Far East at the end of the last century, meet both needs at the same time.

What are cat cafés?

Neko cafés, from ‘neko’, a word that means ‘cat’ in Japanese, are themed cafés. Here, there are loving cats to welcome customers in addition to the waiters. 

The first cat café opened in 1998 in Taiwan. The phenomenon then quickly spread to Japan at the beginning of the 21st century and landed in Europe in 2012, in Vienna. In Italy, the formula was first presented in 2014 in Turin.Cat is playing in a cat caféIn these places you can order breakfast and enjoy the pets’ company. These are not places where you just grab a coffee on the go, but places to relax, pamper the kittens and enjoy their company

What are the rules to follow?

Even if cats in cat cafés are particularly friendly, there are rules to follow to avoid disturbing the routine of the animals. First of all, cats should not be bothered while resting. Precisely for this reason it is not possible to photograph them, especially with a flash. They may be docile, but they are still shy and independent animals. Each cat café usually shelters about five cats, although there are no precise rules about this matter.Cat are eating in a cat café

What are the benefits of cat cafés?

Cat cafés benefit both customers and animals.

The opportunity to have breakfast or to spend time over coffee with cats purring is very relaxing. Petting cats and listening to their purring is a real stress reliever. In addition, cat cafés are quiet and not very crowded places. For this reason, they are often chosen as study rooms by young students.Client is reading a book next to a cat in a cat caféThe cats we meet are mostly rescued cats looking for a home or coming from catteries, so they are more than happy to give you attention and cuddles. Neko cafés, therefore, contribute to the reduction of straying.

Where are cat cafés in the world?

Outside East Asia, their birthplace, cat cafés have found their way around the world. In Europe, in addition to the aforementioned Cafe Neko in Vienna, the forerunner in the old continent, we can mention Le Café des Chats in Paris and La Gatoteca, in Madrid, which is located inside an association that finds a shelter for abandoned cats. In Italy, the first neko café opened in Turin in 2014. Overseas, the first American-soil cat cafés were opened in Montréal, Canada, in the same year.Cat cafè in the worldThis new type of café is an opportunity for all animal lovers to spend time in the company of loving pets eager for cuddles, even if it is not possible to host one in their own house. 

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