Daily Archives: June 15, 2015

Cats + cafés = happy Connie.

A few weeks ago, I became much more excited about going to Taipei for two weeks during my internship and being separated from Steve during that whole time, mostly thanks to the fact that I had read a Lonely Planet article about all the cat cafés in Taipei. It’s actually pretty awesome how many cat cafés I’ve been to in Asia now: the first two we visited were in Tokyo and Bangkok, respectively, both during our original circumnavacation. I’ve now added three more to the list, all in Taipei, and a more detailed report is due! Friends and family will know that I adore dogs, and our corgi-mix Stella is pretty much the thing I love most in the world. But I was first and foremost a cat person, pretty much from the cradle. My family had cats when we were in China, and had more after we came to the States. It’s thus fitting to get crazy about cats again when I come back to Asia!

Cat cafés are a relatively recent phenomenon. The very first cat café, called Cat Garden, opened in Taipei in 1998 and has since been renamed Cats and Café 1998. Thus, cat cafés are actually a Taiwanese invention! However, they’re most popular today in Japan, which people theorize is because there’s very limited space and it’s hard to have pets. Oh, and also that the Japanese are crazy about cats. Hello? Other than having cats, these venues also differ from regular cafés in that they often have an entry requirement or a minimum spending requirement. In Japan, the cat cafés we visited stipulated that you had to spend a certain amount of money (like 500 yen) for a cover charge to stay for a certain amount of time, but it did usually come with a beverage. In Taiwan and the cat café we visited in Bangkok, there is usually a minimum spending requirement, ranging from 120 to 200 NT. That’s usually the price of a drink, which is astronomical compared to what they can usually cost – 20-30 NT! It’s to deter people from coming in just to gawk and take pictures of cats, without spending a penny. I used the Lonely Planet article and another article from City543 to plan for a list of cat cafés…

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