Have Cat Cafes Gone Mainstream? Popular In Asia, Now In Europe And The US
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When Shark Tank, the popular US TV show for entrepreneurs, features cat cafes as an investment opportunity, clearly they have gone from fad to (almost!) mainistream. Long popular in Asia and now in select European and US cities, Metro Washington, DC is in the process of having its very own feline cafe! Cat cafes in Japan have been especially popular where apartment buildings may not easily allow for pets. Even though cats are lower maintenance than dogs, for many active professionals who travel having any pet is difficult.
The seemingly perfect solution? Enjoy a coffee or chai while admiring the antics of playful cats! Entry fees may exist, or alternatively, there may be charges for playing with the cats.
I have long enjoyed Europe’s more relaxed view of allowing pets in restaurants and cafes. I recall in Amsterdam I once went to sit on a banquette in a dimly lit cafe. I stopped abruptly when I realized it was occupied by a Great Dane lookalike! US cities generally prohibit non-servoce animals from being inside food establishments. Outdoor cafes provide some flexibility if dogs are leashed on fences. They are technically outside the restaurant and generally are placed next to their owners. Press accounts in Washington describe the cat cafe as being adjacent facilities that will not share an interior access point. That avoids health code restrictions but limits part of the cat cafes’ attractions.
Beyond a commercial enterprise, some of the cat cafes focus on rescue and adoption working in conjunction with animal welfare groups. For those that do not, the question arises what provisions are there for making sure the cats are well taken care of?
Please give us your pros and cons and whether you would visit a cat cafe (often?).