The Rise of Cat Cafés

Why you should give one a shot

Photo by Camden & Hailey George on Unsplash

Few things are more fun than hanging out with lots of cats while you sip a steaming hot cup of coffee. It’s not my living room I’m describing, though I do have both of those things, it’s a cat café.

According to BBC Travel, the first cat café in Taipei, Taiwan, opened in 1998 and was called the Cat Flower Garden. Since then, more cat cafés have opened in other countries, like Russia, Spain, and Canada. Cat cafés are extremely popular in Japan, where there are nearly 150 cafes, many of which are centered around large cities like Tokyo.

Cat cafes offer a service to their patrons unique to large Japanese cities like Tokyo, where apartments are small and expensive. Patrons can play, pet, and hold adorable felines as they sip caffeinated beverages and socialize with friends. Many landlords have strict no-pet policies, so these cafes allow the patrons to get their cute cat fixes without the burden of cat ownership.

Hiring feline staff

In recent years, cat cafés have taken off in the United States as well. While good housing may not be a problem in this country, tenants who want to keep a cat or two can usually pay a pet deposit to ensure their furry friends are welcome in their new homes.

Cat cafés often provide an alternative to the traditional humane association or animal shelter, so the cafes in the U.S. may be popular for different reasons.

Cafés usually partner with cat rescues to hire their feline “staff.” Using this business model, they free up space for other cats at shelters or in foster care that may require more medical care or treatment.

Making room for other kitties

The cafés also clear space at animal shelters to make more room for stray cats and kittens who might otherwise have to be left behind or worse.

Cat cafés offer their patrons the ability to interact with cats and kittens in a stress-free environment. The cats get to roam cage-free as prospective cat owners sip their favorite caffeinated beverage and interact with the cats.

Exploring cat adoption in this way allows prospective cat owners to watch cats interact with other cats and people in the cat’s environment. Seeing the cats in action gives the visitor an idea of how the cat will behave once they’re adopted.

Some cat cafes hold special events like movie nights, kitty yoga, and pilates to entice prospective adopters. These events can be a fun way to socialize and meet some cute felines.

Adopting Scout

I went to the café with a friend. We wanted to experience kitty yoga, and my friend was looking to adopt. Little Scout was playfully chasing other kittens across the floor when I arrived. Then she hung out near my yoga mat, playing with a catnip mouse.

She was so active that I hadn’t noticed right away that she was blind. It wasn’t until she sat on my mat and purred in my ear that I noticed. I was hooked. As she played with my shoestrings, I contemplated how to tell my other two cats that she’d be joining us. As my friend and I drank coffee and ate muffins, I completed my application to adopt her.

To further seal the deal, she followed me to the door like she didn’t want to say goodbye. I picked her up the next day.

Scout had some medical issues, including an ear infection and an upper respiratory infection, so she basically spent her first month in quarantine. Little did I know, we’d all spend the next year in quarantine. Having a kitten around made life more fun.


If you’re interested in adopting a new feline friend or just hanging out with some furry friends, cat cafes are a great option. What better way to get your caffeine fix than to do it with a cute kitten on your lap? Who knows, you may come home with a new friend.

Click here for a list of cat cafes in the United States.


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