Print Edition: February 26, 2014
Japan is famous in the West for many things — anime, unique vending machines and restaurants to mention a few — but one Japanese venture is an internet sensation: the cat café. In these cafés, clients can order a coffee and some treats and play with the variety of cats that live in the shop. Each café is different, with different breeds and policies, but all of them have the same quirky, though slightly hairy, charm.
There is now talk of one such cat café coming to Vancouver for Canadians to enjoy. It’s Michelle Furbacher’s dream to open one up so Vancouverites can play with kittens — and really, with a name like this, how can you not be associated with cats? Furbacher is hoping to attain proper permits and a location to open her cafe — the “Catfé”— as early as September of this year.
Instead of providing a spot to enjoy a little caffeine with your furballs, Furbacher plans to provide her guests with WiFi and a small library. She doesn’t want to get into a hairy situation because of Canada’s food and safety regulations, so she told Metro News that she plans to serve “bottled drinks and packaged food bought offsite,” should the regulations allow that.
Regardless of food laws, the paw-ssibilities are endless in terms of feline fun. Furbacher even plans to add a space for guests to enjoy live entertainment while snuggling with her cats. One downside for feline fanatics is that you won’t be allowed to bring your own cats, in order to avoid catfights, but Furbacher says the Catfé will act as a foster home for cats from animal shelters, and they will also be available for adoption. Her hope is that “people will meet the cats, fall in love with them, and maybe adopt them,” which could help shelters clear some space and find more cats some good homes. For years there has been concern regarding the crowdedness of shelters, so this cat café idea could provide a cool hangout spot while also helping with this problem.
You don’t have to worry about the health of the cats, either. Every cat will take a trip to the vet to be vaccinated, fixed, and screened for approval before it can become a member of the exclusive cat club. And in addition to the strict standards the cats have to meet, the café itself will be under close watch for cleanliness. As much as we love cats and kittens, their fur has a tendency to cling to fabrics, skin, tongues, and everything else. Their fur may be soft, but it’s generally preferred on the cats themselves.
Thanks to the internet, cats are a sensation, so this idea should be purrfect. In addition to satisfying the cat cravings of the feline deprived, the cat café will also provide dozens of opportunities for cat-related puns — and really, who doesn’t love to agitate their friends with an abundance of puns?