I’ve heard about cat cafes in Japan. I always thought they might be interesting to visit. Then, while in Singapore, I was surprised to stumble upon one at the Scape Centre. It was located in a trendy shopping mall geared toward skateboarders, martial arts afficianados, tattoo-seekers, and young Asian teens looking for cheap, youthful clothing.
And then there were the cats.
There was a sign posted outside. Cuddles Cat Cafe was actually looking for more cuddlers. They needed volunteers to commit to a couple of months and they could make $6 or $7/hour based on how many hours a week they spent there. (Which doesn’t seem like volunteering. And didn’t match with how I’d thought about cat cafes. I thought the whole idea was that patrons would come in, have a cup of tea and play and cuddle with the cats. I had no idea it could be a paying job.)
I’m writing this in past tense because when I just did an internet search to find out a few more details, I was alarmed instead to find notice that the cat café has been closed. Apparently in the two weeks since I passed by the cat café, several cats have died.
The owner has apologized on facebook, citing feline disease, ringworm, and digestive tract problems, but the public is outraged. Most feel that the whole idea of cat cafes in general is detrimental to cats’ health. Certainly precautions could be taken to reduce exposure to dirt and germs, but I find the whole idea curious. I didn’t go into Cuddles while I was in Singapore because I felt that I needed to be in a more relaxed state of mind, ready to sit down with a cup of tea and the desire to relax and pet cats, which I think of as a soothing and somewhat time-consuming activity. But I was in too much of a hurry that night and didn’t want to sit down and stop to pet the kitties. I like the idea of a cat café, but didn’t realize how potentially harmful it might be to cats since I assumed only cat lovers would go inside. Now I don’t know what to think.
What’s your opinion?