Cat cafés are the sort of thing that seems bonkers when you think about it but that make so much sense when you actually try it out. Despite popular belief that cat cafés are a Japanese invention, the first one apparently was in Taipei, Taiwan, back in 1998. It drew many visitors, including from Japan, who took the concept back home, opening their first, own Café Neko in Osaka in 2004. Now there are some 30-something in Tokyo alone and more than 150 all over the country.
Fortunately, other parts of the world are catching on the trend too. While we can still count all the cat cafés in Europe on a single hand, it won’t be like that much longer I think. The first, Café Neko, opened in Vienna, Austria, in 2012, Le café des chats in Paris, France, followed in 2013, as did one in Totnes, UK (which has, sadly, since closed). Il Neko just started serving cat lovers in Turin, Italy, and Koneko in Brighton, UK, is in the planning. And then there is Lady Dinah’s, or, rather Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium, in London, a success story long before it started welcoming human visitors this year in March.