Taiwan started the first cat cafe called Cat Flower Garden. Then the Japanese enthusiastically embraced the concept to the point where Japan has more cat cafes than anywhere else in the world — around 150 at the last count. Yet cat cafes are unlike ordinary cafes because you often need to book a reservation ahead of time. Part of the reason is to keep the human to cat ratio manageable and the second is to make sure the cats don’t get overwhelmed with crowds of people.
“We now have a booking system, because 20,000 people wanted to come into a 30-seat cafe all at the same time,” says Lauren Pears, founder of Dinah’s Cat Emporium in London. Her website says the cafe is fully booked until October 2014.
Thomas Leidner, owner of the Cafe Katzentempel in Munich, says: “The popularity of these cafes is probably due to the fact that many people are not allowed, or are disinclined to have pets in the city, yet they occasionally feel the need for closeness to an animal.
“Life today is busy and hectic, so offering an oasis of calm, where you can relax over a drink and enjoy (vegan) snacks, is important to us.”