Cat Café is a new coffee shop that recently opened its doors at 3435 Saint Denis, just off Sherbrooke.
Youssef Labib, the café promoter was looking to start a new idea after finishing business school in Paris, and found his opportunity when discovering the successful cat café concept in Asia and Europe. The world’s first cat café opened in Taiwan in 1998 and there are 40 cat cafés that exist in Tokyo.
“I was seeking an original and innovative idea to create a theme café in Montreal when I discovered the concept of [cat cafés which] were a hit in Asia and Europe,” Labib said.
Labib realized that many city dwellers in Montreal have a passion for cats, yet few have the space and time to care for them as pets. The café allows individuals to appreciate a macchiato and baked goods while relaxing and making the most of the cats’ company.
“I think it’s a good idea since it creates a space for potential cat owners to decide if they are ready before they actually commit to a cat,” Vivian Lin, U1 Management, said.
Staying at the café is calming and therapeutic, allowing students to forget about their midterms and assignments. However, it is not advised to come here for productive studying, for fear of being too distracted.
“A bunch of my friends went and they took a ton of selfies with cats,” Michelle Marshall, U1 Management said. “It seemed really fun.”
The café also offers fair trade and organic products, as well as a counter where they display and sell ‘world’ products, categorized by the country of origin.
This café also lets its customers read and buy from a selection of books, and even exchange them with ones from home. When entering the café, there is a clear sense of community amongst Montrealers trying to find an escape from the bustling city and spend a few hours in good company.
“I think [the Cat Café] is unique, smart, and just downright cute,” Aissa Brudreault , U3 Management, said.
Since this café is also the cats’ home, they must be treated with respect. The cats are adopted from animal protection associations like Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and are cared for by veterinarians. No external pets are accepted in the café, and a few guidelines must be followed in order to keep the peace.
Customers cannot feed the cats, nor can they pull the cats’ tail and whiskers. Furthermore, customers must control their impulses to pick up the cats, especially when they are sleeping. Cats should also not be disturbed by loud noises or camera flashes.
Even for those who are not cat lovers, the Cat Café still offers a new and unique way of relaxing. Spending time in this café is a great way to de-stress. The Cat Café cleverly creates a new space in the already exuberant city of Montreal. It is a cozy space of relaxation, coffee, and cats, which is an experience worth trying.