Caroline Gerdes
November 16, 2014 9:00 am

We’re getting cat scratch fever over here because New York’s first official cat café opens next month! Meow Parlour will open on December 15 on the Lower East Side. Mark those calendars! Patrons will be able to reserve 30-minute, $4 time slots to play and cuddle with some adorable kitties. And, these furry friends will be available to adopt too!

For those seeking either a temporary fluffy fix or a forever friend, have no fear, lines won’t be an issue. Cat lovers can reserve half hour slots online, with the option to stay up to five hours. Meow Parlour will also feature pastries (proprietors Christina Ha and Emilie Legrand also run Macaron Parlour) and WiFi. But really, they had us at kittens.

With cats on the brain, we’re a little curious about how these feline-friendly cafés began. And, the story starts nearly a decade ago on the other side of the globe. But, it has only been in the last few years that these businesses have popped up from Singapore to Spain! Usually cat cafés are frequented by cat lovers who can’t own a cat for reasons of family allergies, landlord stipulations, etc. etc. Here is a definitive map of the world’s cutest cat cafés . . . all of the cat cafés!

Let’s start with Asia. . . 

Taiwan

The world’s very first cat café, Cat Flower Garden opened in Taiwan in 1998. And, the concept soon took off in Japan, where the cat café model gained notoriety. Thank you Cat Flower Garden for your adorable ingenuity!

Japan

So, the whole cat café craze really took off in Japan with so many kitty friendly businesses, it would be difficult to list them all. According to a BBC article, about 150 cat cafés have operated in Tokyo since the city’s first feline bistro launched in 2005! Cat’s Store, or Neko No Mise, claims to be Tokyo’s first cat café and its successors have tried all sorts of gimmicks to stand out from the crowd. Some specialize in black cats, others calico, and many have adopted other animal themes with one shop even offering companionship with goats!

China

There are MANY cat cafés in China’s major cities like Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, and others. One Wall Street Journal article chronicled a Beijing storeowner who strives to set his café apart by hosting 80 cats.  But, the kitty market is so flooded, the article ends a disappointed note (or maybe it’s a high note): “[Neighboring shops] all have cats now,” the owner said. 

Korea

There is a popular chain of cat cafés called Cat Attic in Seoul and Busan. And, Seoul offers a host of other cat and themed coffee joints — even a canine café!

Malaysia

The country’s first cat café, Purrfect Cat Café, opened in Penang last February.

Thailand

Bangkok’s Purr Cat Café Club and Catmosphere Cat Café in Chiang Mai are Thailand’s most popular cat cafés. Purr Cat Café Club sets itself apart from similar businesses by offering a cat beautician and cat clothes, while Catmosphere goes above and beyond with a feline space theme.

Singapore

Singapore’s first cat café, Neko No Niwa, opened at the end of 2013, with five more cat cafés opening in the following nine months!

The Middle East

UAE

Ailuromania Café claims to be the first cat café in Dubai and the Middle East! Check out their adorable cast of characters who customers can socialize with — isn’t Moe a cutie? 

Europe

Austria

Vienna’s Café Neko opened in 2012 after three years of negotiations with city officials over hygiene issues. It is one of Europe’s oldest cat cafés. 

The Czech Republic

Social Point, Prague’s first cat café recently opened in September. 

Denmark

Check out Café Miao in Copenhagen. 

Finland

Purnauskis, the country’s first cat café, opened last month in Tampere.

France

France’s first cat café Le Café des Chats opened in 2013 in Paris’ Marais neighborhood and was immediately welcomed by the community, with purr-therapy sessions booking up so quickly, they have to be scheduled days in advance! Unlike the Japanese model of cat cafés, Le Café des Chats focuses on organic tea and quality food with cats as an extra, no-charge bonus. So free kitten playtime and French pastry? Yes, please.

Germany

Munich’s Café Katzentempel and Berlin’s Pee Pees Katzencafe were Germany’s first cat cafés, opening in 2013. Café Schnurrke in Cologne opened in 2014.

Hungary

Cat Café Budapest opened in 2013, and a few more have opened in the city since.

Italy

Neko Café, Italy’s first cat café, opened last spring in Turin.

Lithuania

The first cat café opened in Lithuania last month.

The Netherlands

Amsterdam is certainly known for its coffee shops but Kattencafé Kopjes promises kitten cuddles, not cannabis. This crowd funded venture is not open yet, but will be the first cat café in Amsterdam.

Spain

La Gatoteca opened in Madrid in 2013.

United Kingdom

Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium, another crowd funding venture, opened last March. Its online booking system crashed from traffic and in March was already fully booked into the summer! The owner said it may be crazy on the outside, with people trying to get a slot, but promised calm, cool cats on the inside.

Australia

Australia’s first Cat café, Cat Café Melbourne, opened July 2014.

North America

Canada

Cat cafés are new to Canada . . . and North America. Café des Chats in Montreal was Canada’s, and the continent’s, first cat café, opening August 2014. Vancouver’s Catfé (awesome name BTW) and Toronto’s Kitty Cat Café are currently in the works after crowd funding campaigns. Toronto’s Pet Me Meow (seriously, props to Canada for awesome names) is a pop-up café hoping to soon find a permanent location.

United States

Ok, so the whole cat café thing has really exploded in the United States in the last few months! Cat Town Café, an expansion of the Oakland based rescue group Cat Town, was the first cat café to open in the United States on October 25, 2014. A couple of other cat cafés are currently in the works in the Bay Area and kitty cafés are also heading to Denver, multiple locations in Ohio (one has plans to be a cat wine bar), Los Angeles, San Diego, Portland, and a couple in Seattle.

(Images , , , , viavia)

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