Café Des Chats in Paris (Photo: FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images)
Canadian cat lovers are purring over yesterday's news that a cat café may be opening in Montreal this summer.
You may well ask: what's a cat café?
It's basically what it sounds like: a coffee shop stocked with resident cats, who hang out and play with the assembled patrons. The concept started in Taiwan in 1998, and has spread to Japan, Korea and Europe since. This tour of Tokyo's cat cafés, made by a Canadian student in Japan, gives you an idea of what to expect:
The Montreal shop will be called Café Chat L'heureux (The Happy Cat), and in addition to creating a space for coffee and tea drinkers to play with about 10 furry friends, it's intended to raise awareness about the lives of stray animals in Quebec. Owner Clément Marty is currently raising funds for the project on Indiegogo, and outlines his concept in this video (in French with English subtitles):
As he explains, all the cats in the café will be strays picked up from shelters, chosen for their sociability with humans and each other. Marty says he's been developing the idea with vets and shelters, and will comply with all food safety and hygiene standards. If all goes according to his plans, Café Chat L'heureux will open in Montreal's Plateau neighbourhood by this summer.
Marty's not the only North American to try to bring the cat café trend to the continent: a pair of entrepreneurs are hoping to open KitTea in San Francisco this spring.
But not everyone is in love with the idea. A Boston café called Miaou Boston failed to get off the ground last year (they'd previously disclosed that "getting permission to allow animals on the restaurant’s premises" was a big hurdle) — and that's not to mention the inevitable odour complaints that would accompany a relatively small enclosed space with nearly a dozen cats.
Judging by the absurd online popularity of cats, however, we're pretty sure that a little odour won't keep the feline-obsessed away.
If Café Chat L'heureux does manage to open in Montreal, would you go?
Via MTL Blog