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Would you take tea with Tom Kitten? Cat Cafes have reached Australia

By 5 August 2014 24

cat-tea-cup

Hands up (or should I say ‘paws up’) who has been to a cat café before? Probably not many of us have.

There are approximately 150 cat cafes in Japan, and around 30 throughout the rest of the world with Australia’s first cat cafe opening its doors last week.

A cat café sounds like a crazy concept. It’s not a café for people to bring their own feline friends along to enjoy a Devonshire tea, but rather a café that is also home to between 10-20 resident cats that have been rescued from animal shelters and pounds.

Cat cafes were designed for those who love spending time with cats but whose lifestyles or living arrangements don’t allow for them to have their own fur-baby. Visitors arrive at the cat café and can order food and drink from a menu. Visitors then pay an extra fee (usually around $10 per hour) which allows them take their purchases down to the cat room and spend some time with the resident cats.

The first cat café, Cat Flower Garden, opened in Taipei in 1998 with Japan following suit in 2004. In the last decade, cat cafes have popped up in the US, Asia, Europe and even in the Middle East. As of Wednesday 30 July, Australia’s first cat café opened on Queen Street in Melbourne’s CBD. Usually with cat cafes you can make bookings or just walk in off the street but Cat Café Melbourne has proved to be in such high demand that a booking waitlist has formed and currently it’s a five day wait to visit the cats with the following two days nearly at capacity.

As a cat lover myself, I think cat cafes are a fantastic idea with mutual benefits to both the humans that visit and also to the cats. People suffering loneliness visit cat cafes to get some extra love and cuddles from the cats. The most frequent visitors are university students who have moved away from home for their study, and retirees who perhaps don’t have the same level of social activity as they once did. Studies have also proven that interaction with cats can help lower high blood pressure and also reduce anxiety and stress levels. I can vouch for this on a personal level, my happiness levels increased ten-fold from the day I got my own cat.

The 11 cats that call Cat Café Melbourne home were all rescued from local animal shelters and the Café raises money to donate back to the shelters to ensure that as many cats as possible are rescued and looked after. Being a resident cat would be hugely beneficial to the wellbeing of the lucky few as they have contact with other cats, a safe place to live, up to date vet checks, and most importantly – a never-ending supply of cuddles and pats!

Cat Cafes usually come with a set of basic rules that include not disturbing the cats if they’re sleeping (so bad luck if you turn up and all 11 kitties are partaking in an afternoon snooze!), and no flash photography. Some cat cafes also have an age restriction, usually visitors have to be at least 7 or 8 years old, to ensure that the cats are not tormented or getting their tails pulled!

I’d love to see a cat café set up shop in Canberra, I’d love it even more if I was the one to open it. Canberra has a lot of people in high-level, extremely stressful jobs. Perhaps a visit with the cats would do them good!

As for location, I think somewhere in the city would be the perfect location for the Canberra Cat Café. It’s easy to access by public transport and also has a busy thoroughfare so plenty of visitors would be drawn in from the streets. Would you visit?

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24 Responses to
Would you take tea with Tom Kitten? Cat Cafes have reached Australia
mountainman 10:09 am
05 Aug 14
#1

Coffee alongside fraternising cats ….pass!

Maya123 10:27 am
05 Aug 14
#2

Somewhere like Lonsdale Street sounds like the place for this funky idea. It would be fun to have the cats about, but whether this tightwad would pay an extra $10 I would have to see. Besides, the neighbour’s cat visits me regularly, so I have access to a cat.

Alexandra Craig 10:43 am
05 Aug 14
#3

Maya123 said :

Somewhere like Lonsdale Street sounds like the place for this funky idea. It would be fun to have the cats about, but whether this tightwad would pay an extra $10 I would have to see. Besides, the neighbour’s cat visits me regularly, so I have access to a cat.

I originally thought Lonsdale Street too, but given that 99% of RiotACT commenteres have this stupid hate for Braddon I thought I’d play it safe and say the cafe could be in Civic! :)

Beau Locks 11:01 am
05 Aug 14
#4

Cat cafes are all very well, and good luck to the owners of the Melbourne one and the people that shell out the creds to go there. I can’t imagine the demand for one in Canberra, but perhaps I’m wrong.

What I do reckon there would be demand for, however, would be caffs (or better still, pubs) where one could take a sensible pooch. I remember taking my old dog (*sheds a tear*) to the ANU bar back in the day, and she also spent time in one or two other establishments, but I can’t imagine where I’d be able to take the new pooch these days. There are one or two pubs that I’ve been to in Sydney where dogs are welcome.

In the UK I hear that dogs are often welcome in pubs.

While I’m on the topic of pets in public or semi-public spaces, I think Canberra should take a leaf out of Melbourne’s (and indeed most of Europe’s) book and allow dogs on public transport. Very sensible. I might just suggest that to the Capital Metro folks if I chance by one of their pop up stalls.

(As an addendum, animals, or at least ‘livestock’ aren’t allowed on Melbourne’s trams. I heard a story, possibly apocryphal, of a woman getting on the number 86 in Northcote with a chook under her arm. The tram driver allegedly informed her that chickens weren’t allowed on the tram, to which she asked if dead animals, i.e. from the butcher etc, were okay. Upon hearing they were, she wrung the chook’s neck and proceeded to board.)

Mysteryman 11:30 am
05 Aug 14
#5

In this country? No. The cats aren’t the problem. I don’t think I’d like to be in a cafe full of cat lovers.

Maya123 11:36 am
05 Aug 14
#6

Alexandra Craig said :

Maya123 said :

Somewhere like Lonsdale Street sounds like the place for this funky idea. It would be fun to have the cats about, but whether this tightwad would pay an extra $10 I would have to see. Besides, the neighbour’s cat visits me regularly, so I have access to a cat.

I originally thought Lonsdale Street too, but given that 99% of RiotACT commenteres have this stupid hate for Braddon I thought I’d play it safe and say the cafe could be in Civic! :)

“99% of RiotACT commenteres have this stupid hate for Braddon” They do! Why? Much more fun and interesting than the bland, boring Mall, which I only visit when need arises, never from enjoyment. I have to admit though, not being a shopaholic, or living in the area, I have only visited the shops at Braddon once, but I did enjoy it and they excited me, and I look forward to visiting again.

Maya123 11:42 am
05 Aug 14
#7

Beau Locks said :

While I’m on the topic of pets in public or semi-public spaces, I think Canberra should take a leaf out of Melbourne’s (and indeed most of Europe’s) book and allow dogs on public transport. Very sensible. I might just suggest that to the Capital Metro folks if I chance by one of their pop up stalls.

(As an addendum, animals, or at least ‘livestock’ aren’t allowed on Melbourne’s trams. I heard a story, possibly apocryphal, of a woman getting on the number 86 in Northcote with a chook under her arm. The tram driver allegedly informed her that chickens weren’t allowed on the tram, to which she asked if dead animals, i.e. from the butcher etc, were okay. Upon hearing they were, she wrung the chook’s neck and proceeded to board.)

I would have nothing against dogs on public transport, as long as they are muzzled, or are nursed the entire trip. I remember taking a long bus ride in Europe with a German Shepherd under the seat in front of me. I spent most of the trip very uncomfortable with my legs pulled up on the seat in front of me, away from the dogs easy reach.
I read of a cat, Casper, in the USA who regularly rode the buses, with the approval of the drivers. He would wait at the bus stop with other passengers and get on with them. He had his favourite seat. That wouldn’t be allowed to happen here.

Alexandra Craig 11:52 am
05 Aug 14
#8

Maya123 said :

Alexandra Craig said :

Maya123 said :

Somewhere like Lonsdale Street sounds like the place for this funky idea. It would be fun to have the cats about, but whether this tightwad would pay an extra $10 I would have to see. Besides, the neighbour’s cat visits me regularly, so I have access to a cat.

I originally thought Lonsdale Street too, but given that 99% of RiotACT commenteres have this stupid hate for Braddon I thought I’d play it safe and say the cafe could be in Civic! :)

“99% of RiotACT commenteres have this stupid hate for Braddon” They do! Why? Much more fun and interesting than the bland, boring Mall, which I only visit when need arises, never from enjoyment. I have to admit though, not being a shopaholic, or living in the area, I have only visited the shops at Braddon once, but I did enjoy it and they excited me, and I look forward to visiting again.

I probably shouldn’t say 99% – it’s nowhere near that high. Apparently people don’t like it because it’s hipster. Sounds to me like they’re grumpy and bored with their own lives haha.

Braddon shops are great, lots of nice things to eat/drink/buy :)

Alexandra Craig 11:53 am
05 Aug 14
#9

Maya123 said :

Beau Locks said :

While I’m on the topic of pets in public or semi-public spaces, I think Canberra should take a leaf out of Melbourne’s (and indeed most of Europe’s) book and allow dogs on public transport. Very sensible. I might just suggest that to the Capital Metro folks if I chance by one of their pop up stalls.

(As an addendum, animals, or at least ‘livestock’ aren’t allowed on Melbourne’s trams. I heard a story, possibly apocryphal, of a woman getting on the number 86 in Northcote with a chook under her arm. The tram driver allegedly informed her that chickens weren’t allowed on the tram, to which she asked if dead animals, i.e. from the butcher etc, were okay. Upon hearing they were, she wrung the chook’s neck and proceeded to board.)

I would have nothing against dogs on public transport, as long as they are muzzled, or are nursed the entire trip. I remember taking a long bus ride in Europe with a German Shepherd under the seat in front of me. I spent most of the trip very uncomfortable with my legs pulled up on the seat in front of me, away from the dogs easy reach.
I read of a cat, Casper, in the USA who regularly rode the buses, with the approval of the drivers. He would wait at the bus stop with other passengers and get on with them. He had his favourite seat. That wouldn’t be allowed to happen here.

Awwwwwwwwww Casper! That’s such a lovely story! Brings a tear to my eye. I’ll have to google it. Thank you for sharing :)

davo101 11:59 am
05 Aug 14
#10

Maya123 said :

That wouldn’t be allowed to happen here.

If only he could jump high enough to get his MyWay card to work.

Maya123 12:24 pm
05 Aug 14
#11

davo101 said :

Maya123 said :

That wouldn’t be allowed to happen here.

If only he could jump high enough to get his MyWay card to work.

I think Casper was given some sort of honorary pass by the bus company that gave him free travel. He became their mascot, and at first the owner had no knowledge of this. She only knew her cat would go missing during the day, and was shocked to discover he had been riding buses.

Kalliste 12:44 pm
05 Aug 14
#12

Do I want to eat/drink and get covered in cat hair? No thanks. Especially if I’m spending an extra $10 to do so. Make it puppies/dogs and I might change my mind.

switch 1:14 pm
05 Aug 14
#13

Wait till the drain cats hear about this!

arescarti42 1:35 pm
05 Aug 14
#14

A cat cafe is fine too.

pink little birdie 1:50 pm
05 Aug 14
#15

The cat cafe would need to be civic or belconnen to take advantage (capitalise) of the uni students population.

There are a few dog friendly cafes and things. The one in Weston park at yarralumla is do friendly and has doggy biscuits. I think there are a couple in Gold creek too. Also the cafe near the Dam on Lake Ginn

(I’m going by the more dog friendly places we take our friend with a guide dog so it’s slightly skewed towards the business that are more compulsorly good towards the guide dog).

Alexandra Craig 3:05 pm
05 Aug 14
#16

Maya123 said :

davo101 said :

Maya123 said :

That wouldn’t be allowed to happen here.

If only he could jump high enough to get his MyWay card to work.

I think Casper was given some sort of honorary pass by the bus company that gave him free travel. He became their mascot, and at first the owner had no knowledge of this. She only knew her cat would go missing during the day, and was shocked to discover he had been riding buses.

I looked Casper up – he has his own Wikipedia page! Sadly the poor little guy got hit by a taxi (a hit and run too!) when he was crossing the road to board a bus. Poor Casper. Such a cute story.

Kalliste said :

Do I want to eat/drink and get covered in cat hair? No thanks. Especially if I’m spending an extra $10 to do so. Make it puppies/dogs and I might change my mind.

Maybe the $10 should include a complimentary lint roller when you leave at the end of your hour!

pink little birdie said :

The cat cafe would need to be civic or belconnen to take advantage (capitalise) of the uni students population.

There are a few dog friendly cafes and things. The one in Weston park at yarralumla is do friendly and has doggy biscuits. I think there are a couple in Gold creek too. Also the cafe near the Dam on Lake Ginn

(I’m going by the more dog friendly places we take our friend with a guide dog so it’s slightly skewed towards the business that are more compulsorly good towards the guide dog).

Maybe we could start with a cat cafe in Civic and then if it’s popular enough one could open up in Belconnen?!

John Hargreaves Ex M 3:08 pm
05 Aug 14
#17

A good idea but my cats hate other cats more than fireworks

Alexandra Craig 4:16 pm
05 Aug 14
#18

John Hargreaves Ex MLA said :

A good idea but my cats hate other cats more than fireworks

You don’t take your own cats along… there’s already resident cats there for everyone to enjoy! :)

bigfeet 5:24 pm
05 Aug 14
#19

As a result of this post I have resolved to live a better and more meaningful life.

It has given me a glimpse of my own personal hell and having viewed it, I am determined not to spend eternity there!

Masquara 6:06 pm
05 Aug 14
#20

You aren’t allowed to take food or drink into the cat area, so it won’t be like having kitty on your lap over a cuppa. Frankly, you can go the RSPCA and commune with kitties without paying ten bucks an hour.

farnarkler 6:08 pm
05 Aug 14
#21

I used to go to Le Cirio in Brussels where they had a resident cat. It would come and sit next to diners and wander around the place. Great.

thy_dungeonman 6:54 pm
05 Aug 14
#22

I am mainly a dog person but I love all animals and so have visited one of these cafes in Japan. The price there is pretty much the same 10/hr which isn’t bad for some entertainment while your out and about, people will pay more for a cover charge to get into a room of full of loud music and sweaty people.

In Japan you can buy food and drink (generally packaged stuff) which you can consume in the cat area. However in the Melbourne cafe because of food regulations etc. the cafe is on the bottom floor and the cat area on the floor above and food and drink cannot be taken upstairs. In Japan they also have puppy cafes but I think cats are probably a better animal to keep indoors long-term. They usually have their own area they can retreat to if they get sick of human company.

I think it’s great, being able to have contact with domesticated animals without having to keep one yourself means fewer poorly thought out pet-buying decisions will be made. As a dog fan though for now I’ll just content myself with visiting the dog park.

Alexandra Craig 7:39 pm
05 Aug 14
#23

Masquara said :

You aren’t allowed to take food or drink into the cat area, so it won’t be like having kitty on your lap over a cuppa. Frankly, you can go the RSPCA and commune with kitties without paying ten bucks an hour.

No. You can take food into the cat area so yes you would have a cat on your lap over a cup of tea if the cat chooses to sit in your lap. Cats are just not allowed in the area where food and drink is prepared.

Maya123 9:17 pm
05 Aug 14
#24

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