We can all agree that coffee is one of the greatest miracles of life. But do you know what’s even better than coffee? Drinking this wonderfully caffeinated beverage while surrounded by cute, furry cats. If this intersection between adorable and delicious appeals to you, then you’re in luck because cat cafés serve exactly that purpose.
Recently, cat cafés have been popping up all around the world. These cafés, in which guests generally pay an hourly cover fee to interact and play with the furry friends, are making their way across South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Europe, North America and the Middle East. Although the international surge is relatively new, cat cafés are not a new concept. The first cat café was opened in Taipei, Taiwan in 1998. The idea was then adopted in Japan, where it really took off. The overcrowding in Japan means residents often live in small apartments that do not allow pets, and cat cafés are a solution to that problem.
Now, cat cafés are traversing the globe and have fortunately graced New York City with their presence. But it doesn’t stop there — a dog café is scheduled to open in the East Village next year. So if you’re feline-lethargic and need some sweet java in your system, here is a rundown of three New York cat cafés that will enhance your coffee-drinking experience and the level of cuteness in your life. Bring a book, bring a friend or, if you’re like me, bring your anti-allergy pills.
The Brooklyn Cat Café
149 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn
Of the three cafes I visited, the Brooklyn Cat Café was by far my favorite. Although you have to pay a $5 minimum for half an hour to even enter the space, it is exactly what a cat café should be — focused on the cats. Everyone working there is a volunteer, and the purpose of the café is to find new homes for all of the animals. Cats are sprawled around the floor, on couches and literally climbing the walls. It is a wonderful, interactive experience, and despite my initial disappointment that no coffee or tea was sold, I would recommend this cafe to anyone looking for a fun activity in Brooklyn, or to anyone who is looking to adopt a cat or volunteer for a good cause.
46 Hester St., New York City
Meow Parlour is the OG cat café in New York City. It is the exact embodiment of what a cat-themed coffee place should be. Located in Chinatown, the cat parlor is separated from its sister café, where treats and drinks are served. However, if you are craving a colorful macaron or cat-shaped cookie to munch on while you play with the cats, the employees can take your order and grab the food from next door. It’s $6 for 30 minutes of playing time, which is quite a steal, and all of the cats are rescues hoping to be adopted. The ambiance is cozy, the cats are happy and the location isn’t too far out of the way from campus.
26 Clinton St., New York City
Before visiting Koneko, I️ did not anticipate how fancy a cat café could be. Koneko is elegant, classy and very expensive. The espresso drinks are pricey, as are the food items they offer, such as the Green Tea Cheesecake which was $7 and the $8 Salted Caramel Nut Tart. All of this and we haven’t even accounted for the additional cost for 30 minutes of play time with the cats, which is $20. If you’re a fan of sleek black and white decor, daintily placed succulents and cats living in more luxury than most humans, Koneko is the cat café for you.
Email Jemima McEvoy at [email protected]