Cat cafes (an idea I claim credit for, since I thought of such a thing when I was a postdoc in Davis), are popping up all over. What more relaxing thing can you imagine than enjoying a coffee and pastry with a cat in your lap, purring away? I visited a cat cafe in Vienna, and had a great time, and now I hear that one has opened up in London.
Laws make it difficult to open such places in America, but a temporary one (apparently designed to place homeless cats) has opened in New York City—on the Bowery in Manhattan. CNN reports that it is a joint venture of PurinaOne and the North Shore Animal League, and aims to adopt out 16 cats. It opened Thursday and, sadly, will close tomorrow. I wish it were permanent. If any readers want to visit and report, the address is 168 Bowery.
CNN reports on its success:
As cat people sipped cappuccinos with cat faces drawn in the foam and flicked furry, feathered balls attached to sticks by string at feline guests, Roberts said the café featured a “Cat Chat” speaker series with discussions led by a cat behaviorist, a veterinarian and other cat experts.
Nearby, Valerie the cat had been camped out on Casey Schimon for about an hour, when someone came over to say Valerie had been adopted.
“I’m so excited for her, because she is seriously the most precious thing, and somebody is going to be very happy,” an only slightly sad looking Schimon said.
. . . Cat coffee houses started in Asia, have gained popularity in Europe, and there are talks of opening a few in such places as California, Oregon and Canada. Bu for now, organizers say the Cat Café in New York is the first feline coffee spot in North America.
“I just want to look at cats. I really like them. I go to school here, so I’m far from my cats. I just wanted to get my fill,” said Melissa Torres, who waited nearly two hours to get in the café, “You hear about them in Japan, and I always thought I would have to go to Japan to go to a cat café.
Really, do we need more of these or what? You get a cat to stroke while you sip your joe, and the cats get adopted. What’s not to like?
Here’s a video of the cafe contributed by reader dano1843; be sure to look for the cattucinno:
D*g cafes would, of course, be a bust.
For our second feature, reader Steve alerted me to Gizmag, where I found a newly invented “CA Table”, created by Chinese designer Ruan Hao. Here, in Hao’s own words, is his rationale:
People who live with cats always have these kind of experiences.
1. Putting away the cat from your laptop is like a sentimental ritual of temporary farewell.
2. A proper sized hole could be so irresistible to cats. Their curiosity would be greatly satisfied through repetitively exploring the unknown path behind the hole.
The design of CATable was a fusion of those experiences, as well a locus where the interaction occurs. It is a table for us, and a paradise for cats.
So here’s the table:
The piece says that although the table is lovely, it won’t achieve its aim. I think I agree:
Does [Hao] not understand? Buy a cat an expensive toy, and it will take great delight in playing with the box, and show nothing but contempt for the toy itself. Build a cat a thousand-dollar gorgeous table full of hidey holes, and you’ll do nothing but reaffirm Muffy’s deep affection for the window sill and the warm laptop keyboard.
If you’re a well-heeled cat owner, you might try it out. All I can offer is a free autographed copy of WEIT if you buy one of these and sent me a photo of your cat in it. (Like that’s gonna work!)
For more cat accountrements, see the list of Gizmag‘s top ten cat gadgets, including cameras for cats to wear, litter boxes, cat castles, massage centers, and playhouses like this one: