The cat cafe may have been invented in Taiwan and popularized in Japan but in just two years the cat cafe phenomenon has spread across Canada faster than kitty can track litter from the box to the bedroom.
Canada is a nation of pet lovers where 57% of Canadian households own pets and not surprisingly, cats are the top choice. Almost eight million cats live in homes across Canada, according to the 2014 Canadian Pet Market Outlook. But apparently enjoying the company of kitty at home is not enough.
Cat owners want to enjoy feline company when they go out for a cappuccino, too. Cat owners believe that their feline companions boost their mental health, so it’s no wonder they seek the support of furry cat therapists at home and in cafes. Here are 10 cat cafes in Canada to get your kitty (and coffee) fix.
1-Le Café des Chats, Montreal
Le Café des Chats, Canada’s first cat cafe, opened in 2014. Situated on Montreal’s pedestrian-heavy Rue Saint-Denis, patrons come in to have coffee, tea, a smoothie or sandwich and visit the nine resident felines.
Unlike many cat cafes, these cats are not available for customers to adopt. This is nice for customers who can come back repeatedly and visit with their favourites.
Whether you prefer the long-haired, pure white Snow or the affectionate, polydactyl (extra toes) Bigfoot, somebody furry is sure to offer a petting opportunity with your latte.When I visited at 9:30 on a Saturday night, business was winding down and I saw a rare sight: Four cats gathered around a woman entertaining them with a straw.
In my limited cat cafe experience, the ratio is usually reversed, with multiple people vying for one cat’s attention.
There’s no question the cats are in charge here.
A sign on an easy chair proclaims “chats seulement” (cats only) and the phrase “Le Chat est Roi!” (The cat is king) is painted across one wall.
Opened in December, 2015, Catfe had to close briefly a month later because it ran out of cats! But that’s good news, because it means their adoption program has been successful.
Catfe has since settled on closing Thursday afternoons to facilitate adoptions and restock with new cats from the BC SPCA.They reopen on Thursday evenings for an adults-only time to greet new arrivals.
All cats are over five months old, apparently healthy, and already neutered or spayed before they arrive at this cat cafe. At press time, Catfe has found homes for 176 rescue cats.Expect eight to 12 rescue cats, cat-themed merchandise, quiche, vegetarian soups, pastries and drinks.
Be sure to make a reservation at this cat cafe as the 16 spots in the cat lounge can sell out weeks in advance.
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3-Tot the Cat Cafe, Toronto
Toronto’s first cat café opened in November 2015. Tot the Cat Café partners with local rescue agencies to find cats forever homes.
Guests sign up at the register for their special time with the cats here.
Up to 12 customers at once can spend an hour in the cat room, which is separate from the food preparation area.
Expect to trade your shoes for slippers and sanitize your hands before being allowed access to the cats.
Tot features cat-themed espresso drinks, such as the black cat mocha and calico macchiato.
Check out our guide of cool spots to visit in Toronto.
4-Café Venosa, Montreal
During the Saturday afternoon lunch rush, customers at Café Venosa competed for feline attention.
“Some people bring catnip spray!” a customer told me as we watched a cat vigorously rub his head against a young man’s black shoe.
“That’s cheating!” I complained. She nodded solemnly. But when you have eight cats and 30 people starved for feline love, sometimes you have to play dirty.
Café Venosa’s cats are adoptable, so if you really fall in love you can bring one home with you.
This all-vegan cat cafe has indoor and outdoor patio seating, so customers and cats can get some fresh air.It’s a bright and friendly place, with a mixture of turquoise and exposed brick walls, bright animal-oriented artwork and comfortable red overstuffed chairs.
The menu offers vegan pizzas, sandwiches, soup, salads, desserts, espresso and tea. I ordered a Cesar tofu wrap, which was delicious.
Don’t miss the washroom’s chalkboard walls covered with cat graffiti drawn by customers.
Visiting Montreal in Spring? Here are 10 things to do in Montreal you’ll love.
5-Siberian Cat Café, Chelsea, Quebec
Are you a sucker for long-haired cats? Are you allergic to felines? The Siberian Cat Cafe in Chelsea, Quebec – just a 15-minute drive from Ottawa – allows you to meet gorgeous, long-haired, hypoallergenic cats.
The owners, Natalie and Michael Lebrun, are both allergic to cats. When they learned about the hypoallergenic Siberian breed, they knew they had to get one.
So they contacted a breeder. Their new kitten, Clarisa-Freyja, didn’t make them sneeze. They loved her so much they wanted to share the Siberian breed with other people.
They came up with the idea of a cat café that was essentially a retirement home for the retired breeding cats from the Troika Cattery.In addition to being hypoallergenic, Siberians are known for their intelligence and sociability.
The Siberian Cat Café features elaborate structures for cat play designed by Canadian company Cloud9 Cat Trees.
If you really want a cat to jump on your lap here, try sitting in the cat-pleasing rocking chair.
Wondering what else to do in the area? Find out why blondes have more fun in Quebec.
6-Miss J.La’s Fur Babies Cat Café, Winnipeg
At press time, Miss J.La’s Fur Babies is Canada’s newest cat cafe. Owner and founder Jennifer Laferriere hopes you’ll fall in love with one of her cats and take him or her home.
The cafe shares space with Laferriere’s daughter’s dance studio.
”Our cat room is a huge room, over 1,000 square feet with couches to relax and 14 cats at the moment,” says Laferriere. “All of them roam freely except two that we are socializing. They are scared but getting used to people. And they are both gorgeous tabby cats.”Miss J.La’s works with a local rescue group called Ksen’s Kittens. Until they’re adopted, Laferriere plans to spoil them in her café.
“I have always been a cat lover and I’ve always wanted to have a rescue.”
So far, the staff consists of Laferriere, her daughter and one volunteer. They adopted out two cats in their first two weeks of business, with a third pending.
The café serves hot and cold beverages, potato chips and chocolate bars. Laferriere plans to add desserts soon—some with a cat theme.
Compared to many cat cafes, the $10 donation for unlimited feline time is a steal.
Wondering if it’s worth making a detour to Winnipeg? Here are 10 classic things to do in the city.
7-Café Felin Ma Langue Aux Chats, Quebec City
Expect exotic breeds at this café, including the hairless sphynx and the slender, short-haired, huge-eared Rex.
Your cat love comes with free Wi-Fi and is best complemented by a hot chocolate or green tea tisane. No shoes allowed.
Looking for somewhere cool to stay in Quebec City? Try snuggling up in an ice bed in Quebec City’s Ice Hotel.
8-Popup Cat Café in Edmonton
Edmonton doesn’t have a permanent cat café yet. But in July, a pop-up cat café at a downtown art gallery raised more than $500 for a local animal rescue society.
Tickets sold out fast. Perhaps this will lead to a permanent cat cafe in Edmonton?
Teresa Bergen is a freelance writer who writes about health, travel and wellbeing.
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