While the idea of sharing a restaurant with 15 cats might not thrill everyone, for feline lovers the Cat Café, which opened in District VI in February, is a revelation. The cat café trend, which first took root in Japan, has made its way to the European continent and enjoys increasing popularity, say the café’s owners.
Ádám Tóth is a devoted cat owner and one of the proprietors of the Cat Café, which is something of a continuation of family tradition – his family runs a private zoo housing hippopotamuses and big cats.
“There’s been a cat café in Vienna for a while now,” he says. “My colleague Kriszta and I travelled there, took a look at it and decided to launch our own Hungarian version.”
Guests can snuggle up and play with 15 cats, should they be in the mood. They each have different personalities and are presented to guests on a “menu”, so that everyone knows what to expect.
Cats on the menu
“Most of our resident cats are friendly, trusting and, above all, curious, but if they want to be left in peace, then they should be,” says Ádám.
The café offers help to those with little experience of felines. First, the rules of behaviour are set out on each table. These include guests disinfecting their hands after arrival using the fluid provided “to prevent disease”, Ádám, says.
Sleeping cats should not be disturbed. They are the residents of the café, while visitors are just that, he explains. “Of course the cats can and should be stroked. Guests can play with them and cuddle up with them.”
Those who find that the cats keep their distance should not despair. “There’s always a cat carer there, so if somebody has been sitting there for hours hoping that one of our cats will join them, but has only been treated with aloofness, we will bring any of our cats over to them and try to break the ice.”
The café serves almost 20 coffee specialities and a wide range of teas. Snacks are also available. Anyone fearing cat hair in their food should be reassured, as Ádám recalls the difficulties ahead of the opening: “We had to negotiate with more than ten offices and authorities to meet all hygiene requirements. We’ve started a totally new thing here so the beginning wasn’t easy.”
While drinks are freshly brewed and prepared in the Cat Café itself, food is delivered ready for customers. This does not spoil the enjoyment since, as all guests surely agree, it’s really all about being together with the furry friends.
District VI, Révay utca 3
Open daily 10am-10pm
www.catcafebudapest.hu (Hungarian only)