What's better than a coffee shop with a good selection of caffeine drinks? A cat café!! A place where people can spend an afternoon petting and playing with the kitties.
The first time I've heard of cat cafés was when I traveled to Japan back in 2009. My first thought was OMG they are eating cats in a cat cafè and I immediately hated the place. A few weeks later after I had left Japan, I found out that cat cafés are actually not places where cats are eaten. Boy, I was relieved. But it was too late, I was back in Europe, where people have never heard of cat cafés, neither they existed there.
Then I visited Seoul in South Korea a few weeks back and suddenly I saw them again. Everywhere. Cat cafés on every corner. This time I was ready to pay them a visit. I even created a little video for you guys, here is a preview of a cat café in Seoul...
WHAT IS A CAT CAFÉ AND WHY DO THEY EXIST?
Excellent question. People in South Korea (and also Japan) tend to live in very small apartments, plus having a pet is not very common in Asia and many apartment building simply don't allow cats in the house. So the solution is cat cafés! A cat café is a public space where people can come and spend a few hours with dozens of cute cats, petting them, playing with them, feeding them or just watch them sleeping.
Did you know that cats are sleeping about 16 - 20 hours a day?
Chances are high that many cats will ignore you and just sleep while you're there trying to get their attention. Random fun fact: I saw a woman left a negative review for a cat café on TripAdvisor, saying all the cats were asleep while she was there and she didn't get any attention from the cats. Hilarious. Bad cats... Bad!! ;)
The best way to get full attention from the cats is buying some food for them and... boom, you'll be surrounded by a big bunch of furry felines. Most cat cafés are selling cat food and making some extra money by doing so. Pay extra for extra attention. Clever.
Enough with the talking, here are some images...
HOW TO BEHAVE IN A CAT CAFÉ
Wait, there are rules? Of course, and you should follow them so nobody gets hurt. After entering a cat café you'll be charged an entrance fee and you'll be advised to take off your shoes and disinfect your hands with sanitizer. The staff will show you a board with rules which says in most cases something like this:
- Don't pick up the cats! (Too bad - that's what I like the most. OK.)
- This is a no brainer, but don't pull the cats on their tails. They do not like that very much.
- Do not slap or spank the cats (of course!)
- Turn off the camera flash.
- Do not disturb the cats when they're sleeping. (Really? But I paid an entrance fee, I deserve attention!! Just kidding. Let them sleep.)
Alright, after you agreed to all the rules, you can buy a drink and you get to play with the adorable kitties. Most places in Seoul charge an entrance fee around WON8,000 which is equal to USD8. Many places include one drink in the entrance fee.
If you aren't excited by now you're probably not a cat person. Wait, you don't like animals at all? Well, then just go to Starbucks. Or McDonalds. Or to hell...
Personally I think cats are adorable little creatures. Spending time with these kitties put an odd smile on my face and made me happy and relaxed. And itchy, because I'm allergic.
But who cares, my desire to pet this cute little felines is simply bigger than my annoying allergy, so I just suck it up and play with the cats until I collapse to the ground, shaking and gasping for air. Then usually it's time for me to go (OK, I'm exaggerating.)
To be honest, I left the place with a big smile on my face, covered in cat hair. Who cares, I was happy. Mission completed. Meow!
SOME PRACTICAL INFORMATION
There are tons of cat cafés in Seoul. However, we have chosen to visit Toms Cat Café (closed - see update below!) in Hongdae. The entrance fee of WON8,000 includes one drink. You can easily get there by public transportation, just get off at Hongik University, exit 9.
Address: 3F, 358-125, Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
UPDATE ( JANUARY 2016 )
Toms Cat Café has closed, unfortunately. My blogger friend Helen recommended Cat Attic Café in Gangnam. I did a bit of a research and I found out
that the Cat Attic Café have several branches in Seoul, with another one in Hongdae. I pinned the location below. Btw, I just saw the Cat Attic Café also changed the name to
Godabang Café now. I found a video about the cat cafe on Youtube. Do me a favor and give me an
update if you visit the area. Thank you!
LOOKING FOR MORE THINGS TO DO IN SEOUL?
I hear you, and I have good news for you! If you need more ideas about attractions and places to see in South Korea's capital, check out my blog post 10 Amazing Things to do in Seoul.
Happy travels! and have fun with the kitties!
If you like this article, please share. Meow!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sabrina Iovino is the founder of JustOneWayTicket.com. She's half German, half Italian and has traveled to more than 50 countries around the globe. She feels weird to write about herself in the third person, so she'll switch now. Phew...much better! Let's restart:
Hi, I'm Sab! This is my blog and I write about the things I love. Mostly.
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