Image credit: CC BY 2.0 (Tim Brennan, 2015)
To fuel people’s love for a late afternoon chill, pet cafés have been popping up all over Asia, ready to welcome visitors with a furry touch. Pet cafés give customers the opportunity to have the company of animals, especially those who do not have pets at home. That means no litter box clearing, no toilet training, just lots of petting and cuddling as you sip a cup of coffee or have ice-cream. In short, it’s an absolute haven for animal lovers who cannot afford the time and commitment to own a pet at home.
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Also, as some of these cafés act as foster homes for abandoned animals, they also provide adoption services for customers who are willing to give them a home forever.
Studies have shown that pet owners tend to be healthier and happier people as animals do have therapeutic value. So there is surely something positive about being surrounded by a dozen animals that will almost catapult pet lovers to sensory nirvana. Well, read on to find out five interesting pet cafés and start planning some holidays to check out your favourites!
The meow that started it all
The brainchild of a Taiwanese cat lover, the Cat Flower Garden was the very first original cat café in the world. It was started in 1998 and gained so much popularity among locals and foreigners alike that throughout the years it gained world-wide recognition. Now, it has been renamed to become Café & Cats 1998. Inside this brightly-colored double-storey building is the purr-fect kitty playground; there are plenty cat towers, cat climbing shelves, scratching posts and 14 adorable cats of different breeds. Cat food is available for sale to allow customers to pamper their favourite felines and provide a few extra minutes of petting or cuddling. The three friendly golden retrievers here are an added bonus — go right ahead and make some canine pals!
Dog café? I’m Seoul-ed!
While cat cafés are calm and quiet, expect quite the opposite at the Bau House Dog Café in South Korea’s capital, where instead you will be greeted with a wave of tail wagging and friendly barks. The café is divided into two sections, one for the smaller dogs and the other for the larger breeds. Within those areas, the dogs are free to roam. So don’t be taken aback by the commotion inside; step right in and be warmed by the affectionate dogs enthusiastically making their way up on the seats or under the tables, looking for treats that visitors can purchase from the shop.
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Care for a hare?
Just a hop away from the heart of Chiang Mai city, the Lucky Bunny Café Restaurant is nothing short of adorable. Everything in this small little house is bunny-themed, from the furniture to the well-drawn menu to the food and drinks, so you can expect treats such as bunny art latte and even bunny-shaped cookies and cakes. Unlike many other pet cafés, the dining area here is separated from the bunnies’ playpen to ensure the safety and hygiene of these vulnerable fur balls. Up to six visitors are allowed in the playpen with the rabbits at any time and for around 20 minutes. Do note that visitors must book in advance to cuddle with these bunnies.
Owl see you in Tokyo
If furry animals aren’t your thing, how about trying some feathery company? For what it’s worth, stepping into the Owl’s Café in Tokyo may even excite Harry Potter fans who might frantically want to find Hedwig lookalike. But Hedwig or not, you will be surely be in awe by these owls; some are permanent tenants here while others have owners as the café also acts as an owl hotel. There are very strict rules on handling the owls and each creature has an assigned colour code, which will determine whether you can touch, hold or only gaze at. Holding an owl would require the assistance of the staff and you can only hold the owl once and only for a short while. Regardless, it is fascinating to be up-close and personal with these wise birds and you’ll surely have a hooting good time here.
Tipping the scales in Hanoi
Pet Café in Vietnam’s capital of Hanoi was started by 28-year-old Nghia, an avid animal lover who seeks to spread the love not only for the furry cute ones, but also for animals that people do not usually coo over. As the lighting is kept dim for the sake of these animals, it does take some courage to cosy up and dine in the café — with snakes slithering, rats scuttling and spiders crawling around in their tanks. Yes, this café is lined with glass tanks filled with a variety of reptiles, creepy-crawlies and even a few hedgehogs. Those who are more daring can ask to hold them, while the rest can try to get comfortable eating in the company of these unconventional stars.