Oakland's cat cafe: Coffee, sugar, and a tabby, please?

At the Cat Town Cafe in Oakland, Calif., the focus is on hot beverages and feline adoptions. The owner says there were 14 adoptions in their first 12 days.

Cat lovers in Northern California are pouncing at the chance of spending time with feline company at a new cat cafe in Oakland.

Cat Town Cafe is giving dozens of visitors a chance to mingle with furry friends while sipping coffee and nibbling on cat-themed cookies.

The cafe opened last month and has been full since opening day. It was inspired by the cat cafe craze in Japan, where many people live in cramped high-rise apartments that don't allow pets.

As The Christian Science Monitor reported in 2008:

"When it comes to having cats, it's a burden. I work and I don't have the time to take care of them in a responsible manner," Oda says of the utility of cat cafes.

And in Tokyo – where not only long work hours but tight and expensive real estate limit pet ownership – cat cafes are a cultural trend. There are at least seven of them operating in Tokyo, packing customers in at fees varying from $8 to $12 an hour.

But while in Japan making feline friends became popular therapy for lonely or anxious workers, at the Oakland coffee shop the focus is on the cats.

The tuxedo, orange tabby, and Siamese cats napping or stretching in the sun in Cat Town come from a local shelter and are available for adoption.

"Most of them have been at the shelter for four months or more. So as much as this is a super fun experience, it's really a mission-driven project to get the cats out of the shelter and into great homes," said Ann Dunn, founder of Cat Town Oakland, a nonprofit group that helps place cats least likely to be adopted from the Oakland Animal Shelter.

She said there were 14 adoptions in their first 12 days.

For a $10 donation to the organization, visitors get one hour of kitty company in the cafe, where they can play with felines, get a back or stomach kneading session, and watch them nap. Each person is given a designated time window to make sure there are not too many people at once in the room with cartoon-like, bright murals of cats.

Cat naps are very popular at the cafe but Christina Souza, who visited the cafe a recent afternoon, didn't seem to mind.

"I think it's fun. It's great. It's exciting. Why not have more venues where cats can let out their fun personalities?" Souza said.

Cat cafes are now open in London, Vienna and Paris and Cat Town founders believe their coffee shop is the first of its kind in the United States. That may change soon as a half dozen new cat cafes are set to open in the U.S. next year, most of them along the West Coast.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to Oakland's cat cafe: Coffee, sugar, and a tabby, please?
Read this article in
https://www.csmonitor.com/The-Culture/Latest-News-Wires/2014/1113/Oakland-s-cat-cafe-Coffee-sugar-and-a-tabby-please
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today
https://www.csmonitor.com/subscribe