A cat café is a theme café whose attraction is cats that can be watched and played with. Patrons pay a cover fee, generally hourly, and thus cat cafés can be seen as a form of supervised indoor pet rental.
The world’s first cat café, “Cat Flower Garden”, opened its doors in Taipei, Taiwan, in 1998. The Taiwanese cat café eventually became a tourist destination, attracting tourists from Japan as well as all over the globe. Though the origin of cat café is in Taiwan, the concept blossomed in Japan, where the first one named “Neko no Jikan” (lit. “Cat’s Time”) was opened in Osaka in 2004.
Due to the Japan’s land size and population, many residents live in small apartments or condominiums which do not allow pets, making a cat café a very popular destination for young workers looking for the companionship and comfort offered. Tokyo’s first cat café, named “Neko no mise” (Shop of Cats), opened in 2005. After this, the popularity of cat cafés boomed in Japan.
The first cat cafe in Europe and in Russia “Cats Republic” was opened in Saint-Petersburg, Russia in 2011.
The first cat café to open in North America was Le Café des Chats/Cat Café Montreal in Montreal, Canada, which opened its doors to the public in August 2014.
After this, a lot of ‘cat cafes’ have been opened around the world.