I’ll preface this all by saying I don’t like cats, but I don’t mind them as long as they aren’t clawing my eyeballs out.
Why are cafés all over the world offering hairballs with their over-priced scones? Well, it isn’t the hairballs customers are after, but the little kitties who produce them. This new phenomenon is called a Cat Café. They can be found all over the world and seem to have originated in Japan(crazy Japan!) but aren’t very big in North America yet. I found out about one recently in my country, directed specifically at LGBTQ youth, where cats are brought in from a local animal shelter. The cats are provided with litter boxes, food, water, climbing structures, and other toys. Coffee and tea is served, but most importantly, at-risk youth are served up a good dose of cute kitty cuddles.
I think anybody reading this can attest to the benefits of interacting with and/or seeing adorable animals. If you’re feeling down, goofy animal videos are a perfect distraction and mood-booster. Any sort of comedy a person finds funny helps, for that matter.
It goes without saying, I am totally on board with Cat Cafés. Bring on the caffeine and cuties! (On a side note: did you know those are my two greatest addictions?)
And yes, there is science to prove that this actually makes people healthier. Or you could just check out this snazzy info-graphic:
Furthermore, the local cat café has a few guidelines to make sure the animals are safe, too. They’re pretty common sense:
Do not tease, chase or strike the animals.
Approach cats calmly and slowly with your hand extended.
Respect kitty consent: release a cat when it wants to be let go and if a cat is hiding or keeping its distance, let it be.
This whole cat café thing isn’t a totally new idea. Maybe you’ve heard of people volunteering their dogs so children can practice reading with them. I think all of these programs are genius; young people living in cities can’t always afford or find the time and space to have a pet. However, with cat cafés, they can experience the benefits without the stressors and responsibilities of being a pet owner. These programs are also good for the cats and shelters– the cats are often up for adoption and can find a loving home through the people they meet.
I would love to hear of anything similar going on where you live. Share your experiences with Cat Cafés in the comments!
More stuff about Cat Cafés:
Something weird I found in my research: this bizarre series of art depicting cats and other pets doing everyday things.