Cat Café

BATD ON Jul 10, 2013 AT 11:28 am

by Chrissy Iley

If I ever went to Japan the only reason to go there is for the cat cafés. In Japan people live in tiny buildings that often don’t allow pets, or there’s a one cat rule like a one child rule in China. Anyway, the Japanese love their kitties, and if they don’t own one, they like to relax to the sound of purr, as do I.

I’m very excited about the Cat Café that will open later this year in London, but before London there’s Vienna, famous for whirls and waltzes and now famous for being custodian of the first cat café outside of Japan.

Café Neko is not surprisingly owned by a Japanese cat-loving lady. She rescued the cats from Vienna’s death row and now they live happily in a light and airy café. Their cat bathroom is a cat flap adjacent to the human bathroom. There are five of them. Each one glorious in its own way.

The cat café has a simple menu of coffee and snacks. You get to play with cats. There are many toys to entertain them.

It is centrally located but hard to find, down a winding road just behind Kärntner Strasse, one of the main shopping streets.

Ginger cat Thomas is curled in a wicker basket and two little girls are cooing at him. A couple a few tables away are having their coffee and chatting with a calico called Momo. A small black cat called Sonia is playing with a mouse on a string.

Cafe Neko, Vienna

The menu is in German, English and Japanese and the food is Austrian and Japanese. I wonder if they chose to serve sushi because the cats like it. They also have desserts like Chestnut Cream and Vanilla Kitten. I’m not sure if that’s made for a kitten or by a kitten.

I order a sparkling mineral water and a marvellous thing happens. I am seated with two main coons, a strawberry blonde called Moritz and an off white one called Luca. Moritz is enormous and fluffy and seems to love attention. Initially I was attracted to him, until Luca.

Luca outstretched his giant white paw, jumped on my lap and wanted to chase the bubbles inside my water because he’s a main coon and that’s what they do. They love to put their paws in glasses of water. I was once told that was because they like to break ice with their paws in the wild so that they can drink. As it’s around 90 degrees I’m not sure that is what Luca is up to. I think he just likes to chase bubbles.

His paws are large and very flexible. He could do that milk advert without CGI. Then the waitress tells me he likes to do high fives for treats. She brings a little cat treat, he high fives, and his brother not wanting to miss out also gives a high five.

It’s Luca who has stolen my heart though. And then he sits by my bag, ready to come away with me. We stare into each other’s eyes. You are supposed to do that to tell them you love them, I read.

Such an expression of quizzical fluffiness. Such a lovely mane. Such a beautiful off white colour.

The waitress says that he would cost €2 million, so he’s not for sale. He is however the reason I want to go back to Vienna.

Café Neko, Blumenstockgasse/Ecke Ballgasse, 1010 Wien

Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium, soon to be launched in Shoreditch,

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