I wonder if a cat café would ever be successful in London. It’s a trend that has quickly established itself in Japan: Tokyo counts now about 39 cat cafes. The first ever cat café to open was in Taipei, Taiwan in 1998 and the first ever in Japan was in Osaka in 2004.
A cat café is simply a café where people can go for all the usual reasons: unwind, good coffee and a bite, read a book-with a difference. There are cats, lots of cats! And cat climbing frames, cat beds and treats to give the kitties.
I think the first question that comes to mind is about the welfare of the animals: are they happy, are they well treated? Apparently yes: they are well looked after from a logistic point of view (food, nice cosy bed, cleanliness), and any interaction with humans has to be initiated by the kitties. I guess though how happy a cat is may depend on the personality of each individual cat: I know for a fact that our ‘family’ cats have a favourite human in the family, e.i. they form attachment with one particular person. On the other hand it could be a very good idea as cafes could be used as a ‘rescue centre’ to help stray cats.
The cat café trend has proven to be very popular in Japanese cities where many buildings forbid keeping pets in homes: the first and only (to date) UK cat café was opened in Devon in May 2013 and a London one is underway. I guess we’ll have to wait and see!
Cat cafes in the UK: