Spending time with animals is therapeutic. Pet-parents find comfort in their routine play session with their cat at the end of a difficult day, or cuddle time on the couch with their kitty. Simply connecting with animals and experiencing giving and receiving affection is one of the most fundamental human needs. Many people consider consuming coffee to be another basic human need, so it is no surprise that people have begun combining coffee-drinking with cat-playtime! Unfortunately, not everyone is able to commit to buying a pet, whether it is because they are spatially or financially strapped. However, there has risen up popular trend called “cat cafes” where people can go to socialize with animals while they enjoy a beverage.

Cat cafes are basic storefront cafes or bakeries that allow patrons to play with a number of cats for a cover charge and a certain allotted time. These benefit the cats who are able to have steady affection and socialization as well as care provided for those who may otherwise not have a home. Many of the cat cafes now also provide adoption options for the 10-15 cats on site, in the hopes that regular visitors will fall in love with a particular kitty and decide to give him a forever home.

The first cat café was opened in 1998 in Taipei, Taiwan, and soon became a popular destination and commodity for tourists and Japanese visitors. Because of the limited space in Japan, many young professionals live in building which do not allow pet ownership. Regularly scheduling visits to cat cafes allows people to be connected to animals, and enjoy their companionship without any long-term responsibilities. The first Cat café opened in Japan in 2005, and in the length of 5 years, nearly 80 other cafes were opened in the country.

As trends begin to span the globe, cat cafes have popped up in Germany, Austria, Russia, Hungary, Spain, France, Italy, Canada, the United States and Singapore. As of January 2015, the first cat café appeared in Scotland and was called the “Maison de Moggy.” There are cat cafes now in major British cities such as Birmingham, Edinburgh, and Nottingham. Canada has opened 3 stores since 2014 and the first store in the United States opened in Oakland California, in 2014. An upcoming 15 stores are projected to be opened in the United States over the next few years. Now instead of a world with crazy cat ladies, we will have street corners filled with feline-frenzied fans and frozen coffee drinks!