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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

Hyo-neko no mori (Kyoto Bengal Cat Forest)

DSC_6326.jpgLattecats goes to Japan! I’ve now been to several cat cafes here, and I’ve found that the “cafe” aspect of Japanese cat cafes is usually an afterthought. Kyoto Bengal Cat Forest does away with the cafe altogether and simply is a room decorated like a forest with cats running around.

Seven bengals were in residence when I visited midday on a Friday. The place was quite crowded, and when we left there was a line outside. Guests are limited to 30 minutes, but as I wasn’t sipping a coffee, it was a sufficient amount of time.

The place has more of a business feel than a homey cafe run by cat lovers, and it’s located inside the (amazing) Teramachi shopping arcade. An owl petting zoo is located above the cat forest, and it’s possible to visit both with a combination entrance ticket.

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Café Miao

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Katte latte

Café Miao is Denmark’s first cat cafe and the site of my introduction to cat art in milk foam. It is home to seven friendly permanent residents: Stoffer, Åse, Peter, Guffe, Tiger, Panter, and Snehvide. The cafe wasn’t very crowded when I visited in the middle of a weekday, so the cat to human ratio was quite high. I suspect the cats have a taste that is a bit more traditional than that of the average Danish person, as the design of the place leans toward cat-cozy rather than the more customary modern Danish style.

 

Food options include burgers, a brunch plate, various udon noodle dishes, sandwiches, and salad. It looked to be standard cafe fare, with the bonus of cat-shaped buns for the sandwiches. I was tempted to order the veggie burger ($15), but I opted to stick to only a latte. The Copenhagen food scene is bursting with amazing eating spots, and I wanted to sample as many as possible during my 5-day visit. Plus I know I get so distracted by cats that finishing my coffee before it’s cold is enough of a feat.

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MINKA Cat Cafe

Most cat cafes focus on the cat-visiting part of the business rather the food and drink. That’s okay by me, as the point of going to a cat cafe is to witness some purring, get in a few pats, and toss around some toys. It’s hard to focus on two of my loves (cats and food) at the same time, and there are plenty of non-cat options if I’m just looking for a falafel or some spring rolls. But sometimes you hit the jackpot and find yourself eating well-crafted food in a tasteful, modern environment with a cat sitting in the chair across from you.

MINKA Cat Cafe is located in the Āgenskalns neighborhood of Riga, Latvia, approximately a 30-minute walk from Old Town. Five former shelter cats call MINKA their home, and they make perfect companions for lunch or dinner. The cafe serves beer, wine, and alcohol in addition to coffee drinks. There is no admission charge, and the prices are very reasonable. The full menu can be found on their Facebook page.  I visited for lunch on a weekday, and there were guests at only one other table. But the place can get crowded at other times, so reservations are recommended if you don’t want to risk disappointment.

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