Catte Latte: Cat cafes arrive in U.S.

By M, Carolyn Miller

Imagine this: you, a cat lover without a cat of your own, need a feline fix to smooth out a rough day at the office, or a fight with your partner. So you call the local cat café and schedule an appointment. Then, at the designated time, you head to the cat café, pay a small fee, purchase your coffee of choice, and walk over to the "Cat Zone," where you curl up with a cat, sip, and sigh heavily as you relax into a purring backdrop.

Welcome to the premise behind the burgeoning trend of cat cafes.

The trend, which originated in Taiwan in the late 1990s for young cat-less urbanites, gained momentum in Tokyo in 2005 when it met a market need. Unlike family apartments, most Japanese apartment rentals for single people don’t allow pets. As a result, young, single urbanites flocked to the cat cafes for "cat therapy" and cappuccinos. Today, Japan boasts close to 150 such cafes.

In 2014, the trend found footing in Europe and the U.S. (Cafes now exist in Berlin, Paris, Turin and the U.K.) In the U.S., the first café, sponsored by Purina, opened in New York in April of 2014 as a weeklong pop-up for feral cats but then disappeared. It has now gained more permanent traction.

In October of this year, the first permanent café opened in Oakland with a nonprofit business spin. At Cat Town Café & Adoption Center, visitors can adopt the cats they play with. KitTea Pet Service, which will serve tea-sipping cat lovers, will open in San Francisco by January 2015. Denver Cat Company, in partnership with Rocky Mountain Feline Rescue, is slated to open in the spring of 2015.

Where to find a cat café near you:

Oakland, CA:

San Francisco, CA:

Denver, CO:




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