Cat Cafes invading United States

Photo c/o The Independent

Over the past couple of years, cats have invaded the internet and now they are coming for cafes.

Two new cat cafes are opening to open in 2014, KitTea in San Francisco and Cat Town Cafe in Oakland. These will be the first ever cat cafes to open in the United States but other countries have beaten us to the punch. Cat cafes are a known phenomenon in Japan with other countries opening up their own cafes: The Country Cat Cafe in Genting Klang, Malaysia, Cafe Neko in Vienna, Austria, Le CafĂ© des Chats in Paris, France, Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium in Londan, England, and plans for a cafe in Australia.

Each cafe will operate in a slightly different manner, mostly due to the various health regulations stipulated by each state and by their ultimate goals for the cat residents. KitTea has partnered with two shelters, Wonder Cat Rescue and Give Me Shetler, to fill their cafe with adoptable cats while providing patrons with a relaxing cafe experience. Cat Town Cafe is also partnering with shelter, Oakland Cat Town shelter, but will focus more on adoptions.

No Cat Cafe in NYC? That's fine, I'll just have one in my house.

No Cat Cafe in NYC? That’s fine, I’ll just have one in my house.

Both cafes have design plans that will include walls separating food-ordering areas from cat spaces, along with human-animal ratios, cat-only zones, hand washing stations, and separate litter boxes. Cat behavioral consultants will be included as well to ensure the felines are comfortable psychologically and physically.

So far there are no plans to open up a cat cafe in New York City (and it might be virtually impossible because of strict health regulations) despite having similar factors as other cities that decrease the ability to own pets. Just like Japan and San Francisco, it is more difficult to own a pet in New York City because of expensive rent, small apartments, and the lack of accessible pet-friendly apartments. These factors prevent people from owning pets and receiving the health benefits that pets can bring, some of which are outlined by the CDC , like lowering blood pressure and improving psychological health.

So what’s the biggest problem with starting up a cat cafe? You’re not the owner, the cats are.

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