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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Not to Be Outdone By S.F., Oakland Gets Its Own Cat Cafe

Posted By on Wed, Jan 29, 2014 at 4:30 PM

click to enlarge A cat café in Osaka, Japan. - THE WANDERING WITCH GIRL (FLICKR.CREATIVECOMMONS USER)
  • the wandering witch girl (flickr.creativecommons user)
  • A cat café in Osaka, Japan.

As we reported last week, KitTea Café will be opening in San Francisco shortly, providing an "oasis" for humans and cats alike. Today, we learned that another cat café, Cat Town, will be opening in Oakland in the next few months. Like the name suggests, cat cafés are cafés for both humans and cats to enjoy. Although this description conjures up an image of rotund cat ladies draped in scarves and fur, perched on cafe stools whilst drinking coffee and talking aloud to their pets, SFist reported that the "goal is to provide homeless cats a place to call home."

Feral, unhoused, and otherwise abandoned cats will be brought to KitTea permanently in order to co-mingle with the human patrons of the café -- an arrangement that also gives the cats somewhere warm to live. Cat Town will have a similar purpose, but instead of the café becoming the forever home of the cats it adopts, founders Adam Myatt and Ann Dunn plan to team up with Oakland Animal Services in order to find displaced felines in need of a home and house them in the café temporarily until they can send them home with compatible (com-cat-ible?) café patrons.

And though humans and cats will be occupying the same space at KitTea, Cat Town will be divided into "a cat-free cafe with espresso drinks and light bites, and a 'cat zone,' equipped with hand-washing stations," according to Eater SF. This sounds like a more feasible set up, because without hand-washing stations and a separation between felines and food, there isn't much preventing the health department from coming along and cat-nipping the whole operation in the bud.

click to enlarge Cat café in Taipei, Taiwan - MIAOUROCK (FLICKR.CREATIVECOMMONS USER)
  • miaourock (flickr.creativecommons user)
  • Cat café in Taipei, Taiwan

Cat cafés aren't just a new, weird Bay Area Trend. They have actually been in existence since 1998, when the first one opened in Taiwan. Ever since then, cat-fés have been popping up all around the world, with 150 of them in Japan. Unlike the cat cafés mentioned earlier, the ones in Japan aren't about adopting the cats, but rather about cuddling them, and patrons must pay by the hour in order to do so. However, as KitTea explains on its startling website, which features a close-up of a cat's face staring at you the second you clink enter after typing in the URL, most apartments in Japan prohibit pets, which would explain why there are other establishments in Japan where people are free to frolic with their furry friends.

So, instead of being a place to bring your cat and pet him while you sip your latte, the cat cafés set for appearance in San Francisco and Oakland are more like SPCAs where you can simultaneously get your caffeine fix. And when you put it that way, it actually sounds more awesome and less ludicrous.


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Jessica Nemire

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