PARIS, France - "Cafe des Chats" is a new gathering place to enjoy a latte and a croissant in the company of cats. This trendy cafe in the heart of the capital's chic Marais district is now the home for a dozen felines who were adopted from a shelter. The cozy establishment is aimed at Parisians unable to keep pets in cramped city apartments.
While some may not relish the thought of introducing fiber in the form of fur to their diet, experts claim the health benefits of "purr therapy" are real. "Purring produces vibrations which relieve arthritis and rheumatism, which lower your blood pressure and your heartbeat," agrees cafe manager Margaux Gandelon.
The opening weekend produced long lines of potential customers, 300 of which had to be turned away. They are booked from now until November, which indicates the cat-cafe trend is here to stay, and not just a phenomenon popular in Asian countries.
Gandelon says the cats' health and well being is always taken into consideration. Customers are prohibited from subjecting the cats to undue stress, such as waking a sleeping feline. She is prepared to take a hard line with any customers she feels are not playing by the rules. Gandelon admits she is more likely to be lenient with the resident cats who might misbehave. "Cats are cats," she said. And anyone who knows cat know that the felines will let customers know when they've had enough. There are plenty of perches and nooks to hide in to get away from the rush.
Having been abandoned or strays adopted from pet rescues, these cats are enjoying a life they might otherwise not have had. For instance, Habby, a sweet tabby with a form of dwarfism with a stubby tail and legs, spent two years waiting to be adopted. He now enjoys as much attention as he likes and has already settled into his cafe life.
Do you think the Cat Cafe concept would work here in the U.S.?