I doubt there's anything much more relaxing than lounging with cats while reading a book and sipping a soothing, hot drink. Add in the idea the cats might find a home in the process and you just might have purrfection. That's why I love the idea of Cat Cafes!
The world's first cat café, "Cat Flower Garden," opened its doors in Taipei, Taiwan, in 1998. The Taiwanese cat café eventually became a tourist destination, attracting tourists from Japan as well as from around the globe. The concept blossomed in Japan when the first one, named "Cat's Time," was opened in Osaka in 2004. Tokyo's first cat café, named "Shop of Cats," opened in 2005. After this, the popularity of cat cafés boomed in Japan. From 2005 to 2010, seventy-nine cat cafés opened across the country!
In the United States, most health departments require special steps to separate the cafe area from the area where the cats are housed. Gaining regulatory approval can be difficult. Oakland, CA's Cat Town has the distinct honor of being the first cat cafe to open its doors to customers in the U.S., it opened in October 2014. In contrast to Japanese cat cafés, U.S. cafes typically focus on adoptions. Within seven months of being open, Cat Town reported that "the euthanasia rate at its partner shelter has declined from 41 to 21 percent, and 184 cats have made the transition from the cafe's Cat Zone to permanent homes".
Below you will find a sampling of some of the cat cafes now open across the U.S. In very exciting news, Athens will be getting its very own cat cafe very soon!