We are a cat-loving family with a 12-year-old marshmallow-bodied Russian Blue cat, who our children literally smother in love every day. However, when I heard there was a cat cafe opening in Philadelphia, I was hesitant about whether or not I would want to eat somewhere that had cats creeping around and wondered how the Health Department would handle that as well. This past week though the Kawaii Kitty Cafe opened in Queen Village and every time we walked passed their large windows with kitties sunning themselves and patrons relaxing with oversized coffee cups, my interest was piqued.
Inside I was relieved to see that the cafe and kitty room are physically separated and although it wasn’t the main attraction, my chai tea was actually really delicious. The space was clean, and despite the seven cats in the small space, it was odorless. The pastel decor was soothing and the Ikea decor was comfortable both the cats and humans. The kids were ecstatic every time a kitty popped out from one of their hiding places. The greatest challenge was reminding the kids to be gentle and limit their squeals of joy, which delighted me much more than the cats.
The Kawaii Kitty Cafe is modeled after others that began in Tokyo, then spread internationally and nationally, with Philadelphia being the fourth city to follow this trend. For cat lovers, the cafe offers the peacefulness of any other coffee shop, but with the added benefit of snuggling cats. For parents, it is a place to watch your kids play with cats without committing to years of emptying a litter box. For those looking to rescue a cat, the Kawaii Kitty Cafe offers you the opportunity to try before you buy. All of the cats there are from the Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) and are adoptable. In fact, the staff informed me that they started with 12 cats and by the end of the first week, only 7 remained.
Since the cats are all shelter cats, there are some ground rules for the Kitty Cafe, including a warning that the cats may scratch or bite. Both my son and I left with relatively minor scratches, which we were able to wash with soap and water in their bathroom before leaving and again use the hand sanitizer conveniently located by the exit.
Not only am I happy that this cafe chose Queen Village as its home, but that they have good tea, taught my kids self-control and respect for animals, and support a great cause! I think it is safe to say we will be making another reservation at the Kawaii Kitty Cafe sometime soon. The kids loved that one of the cats, Lord Fluffy Bottom, looked just like our own Arthur and was equally grumpy when they disrupted his nap. Luckily they also enjoyed petting Mr. Ravioli, taunting Daniel Day-Mewis with the laser pen, and sneaking a few too many cat treats to Pawlie Walnuts. I was glad that Aunt Pearl was already adopted or Arthur may have had a new roommate.
Reservations are recommended at the Kawaii Kitty Cafe, so book it here.
For information about Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society: PAWS
For information on Cat-Scratch Disease: CDC Healthy Pets Healthy People
Pets and Children, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry