Latte Cats

visiting cats in cafes around the world

Summer Travels

Cat Town Cafe

img_4162Cat Town started in 2011 as a rescue organization in Oakland, California, placing cats in foster homes and eventually helping them find permanent homes. In 2014, the Cat Town Cafe and Adoption Center opened. The cafe provides space for up to 20 cats and brings in potential adopters; nearly 1400 cats have found homes through Cat Town since 2011.

Cat Town is a nonprofit organization, and matching cats with people is clearly their mission. The cafe contains an area with a couple of tables where one can buy coffee, cookies, and bagels. Cats are in a separate cat zone that is viewable through a glass wall. The cat zone is clean, well lit, and decorated with colorful murals and models of local landmarks. Volunteers are on hand to answer questions about the cats and to talk to potential adopters. There are no tables and only a few chairs (mostly taken by cats), so it’s not a cafe where one would come to sit and chat with a friend or read a book. However, it’s very much a place where one can get some quality cat-petting time.

In addition to the main room, there is a smaller room with alcoves for the more timid cats. Only two visitors are allowed in the room at one time, and there is a sign indicating that one should be quiet to permit the cats to relax.

There is a fee of $10/hour to visit if booking online in advance. It’s only $5/hour for drop-ins, but they were quite busy the week I was looking to book online, so I’d recommend making a reservation. And as a nonprofit, the fee you pay to visit is tax deductible!

Location: 2869 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94611
Cafe hours: Wednesday-Sunday, 10:00-19:00
Cat zone hours: Wednesday-Sunday, 9:30-19:00; Monday & Tuesday by appointment for adoptions
Admission charge: $10/hour when booked online; $5/hour for walk-ins
Reservations: Recommended
Price of a coffee (no lattes): $3.00

You also might want to check out Hood Cats, a side project of Adam Myott, one of the founders of Cat Town. I was mighty happy a few weeks ago when the Hood Cats calendar turned up in my mailbox.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kavárna Kočičí

Ahh, Prague. It’s one of my favorite cities by far. It’s full of amazing architecture, beautiful parks, delicious cheap beer, and friendly people. Prague is also home to several cat cafes. Located in Karlín (Prague 8), Kavárna Kočičí is a family-owned cafe that is the permanent home to nine former shelter cats. The cafe also is very involved in charitable work, having raised over 60,000 Kč ($2500) in the past year and a half for shelter cats and to support the spaying and neutering of street cats.

The cafe is spacious, with tables and chairs on the ground level and a lounge area below. The lower level, with exposed brick walls and rustic decor, would be a nice place to curl up with a book and a cat on a winter day. The lack of windows makes it a less than ideal spot if you’re interested in taking photos, so be sure to get your fill of cat pics before you descend the spiral staircase.

Both vegetarians and celiacs will find something on the menu;  food offerings include vegetarian soup, salad, quiche, pastries, and cakes (including vegan and gluten free). Beer and wine are sold alongside the typical tea and coffee drinks.

More views of the cafe are available on their YouTube channel.

Location: Křižíkova 22, 180 00 Prague 8
Hours: every day, 11:00-20:00
Admission charge: 20 Kč ($0.85)
Reservations: Yes
Price of a latte: 60 Kč  ($2.50)
Price of a beer: 39 Kč ($1.60)

If you find yourself planning a trip to Prague (which you must), the absolute best place to stay is in an Airbnb room hosted by Monika. I had such a great experience with her during my first trip to Prague in 2015 that I returned to visit again in 2016. You’ll want to check out some of the major landmarks in the city center, but the surrounding neighborhoods are much more appealing if you wish to avoid the crowds. Monika will share her tips for sights that are off the usual tourist trail and show you were locals spend their time. Thanks to her for acting as a translator when I spoke to the cafe owner!

 

 

Cat Café Budapest (District VI)

There are two unrelated cat cafes in Budapest of the same name. This review is for the one located in District VI at Révay u. 3.

Three Maine Coons and seven mixed-breed rescue cats are permanent residents of Cat Café Budapest. The cafe is very large, consisting of a front room with regular tables and chairs, a back room with lounge seating and a variety of cat-climbing structures, and additional tables on a second level.

A wide variety of drinks are on offer, including 18 types of tea (770 Ft or $2.80), a variety of flavored espresso-based drinks, hot chocolate, beer, cocktails, and soda. One unusual drink is the cat-puccino, flavored with peanut butter and cinnamon. I didn’t try it, so I can’t judge whether coffee and peanut butter make a good combo! Let me know if you are brave enough to sample it.

Food is limited to cakes (740 Ft or $2.70 at 275 forint to the dollar), panini (890 Ft or $3.25), and a few other baked goods. The cafe is located in the city center, so it would be a convenient spot for an afternoon snack and a rest after spending the morning walking around the city. There was a “full” sign on the window and a line outside when I first tried to visit, so a reservation would be wise if you have only a limited amount of time. On my second attempt the cafe was half empty, meaning more one-on-one time with the cats.

Location: Révay u. 3., 1065 Budapest
Hours: Every day, 10:00 – 21:00
Admission charge: No
Reservations: Yes
Price of a latte: 750 Ft ($2.75)

 

 

Whiskers Cat Pub

Several days ago, I was wandering around the neighborhood where I was staying in Budapest and noticed the sign for Whiskers Cat Pub. The place was clearly a new business, and there was a bit of construction still going on inside. Fortunately, they opened their doors a few days later, four hours before I had to head to the airport to leave Hungary. I had the honor of being the pub’s first customer and spent my last afternoon in Budapest there. Whiskers is owned by the same people as Cat Cafe Budapest (review coming soon).

The first thing you notice when entering the pub is the glass walkway overhead. If you’re lucky, you’ll see the underside of a cat or two perching above you. The cats are confined to a glass-walled upstairs room and a walkway that leads from the cat room to the enclosed spot above the front door. There are plans for another walkway on the other side of the pub, providing more opportunities for cat viewing.

The downstairs room has a simple and clean décor, and the high ceiling makes it feel even more spacious that it is. There are a few details that let you know it’s a cat café, including the engraving on the tables, the table legs made into scratching posts, and the cat paintings on the walls.

There are four resident cats. One is a Cornish Rex, and the other three are rescue cats of various colors. All were quite friendly, with the Cornish Rex winning the award for the most affectionate café cat I’ve ever met.

The pub offers a variety of cat-themed mixed drinks such as a Purricaine and a CATmopolitan, as well as draft and bottled beers. Coffee drinks are also available. Pub snacks such as nachos and pretzels are sold, but they don’t offer full meals. Service is friendly, and English is spoken.

As a solo traveler, it can be difficult to walk into a pub at night and strike up a conversation with strangers. I anticipate that it would be much easier in a cat pub, as you instantly have something to talk about with anyone you meet. I’m looking forward to returning to visit at night the next time I’m in Budapest. I’m sure it won’t be too far in the future.

Location: Semmelweis utca 17., Budapest 1052
Hours: 12:00 – 24:00
Admission charge: No
Reservations: No
Price of a 0.5 L mug of beer: 490 Ft ($1.80)

 

Cat Cafe (Budapest)

Note: There are two spots called Cat Cafe located in Budapest. This review is for the one located at Damjanich utca 38.

Walking into Cat Cafe is like entering the home of someone who clearly loves his or her cats and lets them rule the house. There are scratching posts, cat toys, and empty cardboard boxes strewn about. The chairs have scratch marks, and after sitting on the sofa you might want to use one of the cafe’s rollers to remove fur from your clothes. The decor is simple and not over-stylized, but you’re probably looking at the cats more than anything else anyway.

The cafe has four permanent resident cats who were all being lazy and doing what cats do when I visited at around 2 pm. Luna, a British Shorthair, was extremely cute (that face!) but it was impossible for me to win her over. She lolled about and showed her belly, only to then resist my pats. Oh, cats! I had better luck with the others, especially Sushi, a huge Maine Coon who was happy to get some ear scratches.

Service was friendly, and the woman who was working explained the system to me in English. There’s a set price for a slice of cake and as many drinks as you wish. It’s also possible to get one glass of beer. Cake options included lemon cream, chocolate cream, and honey and nut cream. I ordered the chocolate, and it reminded me of a more grown-up version of the Ho Hos I ate as a kid. I also got a cappuccino, which arrived decorated with a cat face.

There’s no time limit on a stay, and there are some board and card games available. The cafe has two rooms. The front room has regular tables as well as two seats at a low table a few steps up in the window alcove. The back room has sofas. The cafe is below ground level, making it a bit tricky to get well-lit photos, particularly in the back room.

Location: Damjanich utca 38, 1071 Budapest

Hours: Wednesday & Thursday 2 pm – 8 pm; Friday 2 pm – 10 pm; Saturday noon – 10 pm; Sunday noon – 8 pm

Admission charge: 1790 Ft (approximately $6.50), with various discounts are available for seniors, students, children, admission after 8 pm, etc.; cash only

Reservations: Possible by email on their website

Price for a latte: N/A

 

(AT) Cats and Tea 茶飲輕食

(AT) Cats and Tea, located in the southern Taiwan city of Tainan, is my favorite sort of cat cafe. There’s no entrance fee (just buy a drink and/or snack as you would at any cafe), freshly-prepared food is served, and the cafe helps homeless cats find human companions. The owners are also involved in the local TNR (trap/neuter/release) program. Win, win, win!

There were 12 cats in residence when I visited, and they had quite a range of personalities. Some were happy to play and be petted, especially when treats were involved, while others were a bit nervous and hung out in the back of the cafe or in a cat carrier. Two were confined to a large cage as you’d see in a cat shelter where cats might not all get along. There was also a tiny kitten who did a bit of meowing and seemed a lost until finally snuggling with another cat (mom?). As the cats are adoptable, it makes sense that they’d be less accustomed to living in a cat cafe than cats who are permanent residents of a cafe.

The menu was in Chinese, but the kind woman who took my order spoke English and suggested the waffles when I said I was vegetarian. There were a few options for toppings, and I chose cherry. I also got an iced latte that came with a convenient cat-blocking lid with a hole for the straw.

The tasty waffles (NT$150, around $4.70) were made to order. The cafe was clean, had excellent air conditioning (a bonus in the hot and humid Taiwanese summer), and provided the opportunity for plenty of cat petting. I visited at noon on a weekday, and there were two other tables of guests. One kind guest brought the kitten and then another cat over to me so I could hold them. As is common in cat cafes, a common spoken language isn’t necessary. Everyone understands cat love.

Location: No. 70 Jianye St, West Central District, Tainan City, Taiwan (700 台南 市 中 西區 建 業 街 72 號)

Hours: 11:30 AM – 8:00 PM, closed Tuesdays

Admission charge: None, but there is a minimum purchase of NT$100 ($3.10)

Reservations: Yes, but walk-ins are welcome

Price for a latte: NT$120 ($3.75)