VIENNA--The “cat cafe,” a popular type of shop in Japan that allows customers to enjoy beverages while playing with cats, has opened in Vienna for the first time.
“Neko” (cat in Japanese) opened on May 3 in a medieval building that’s a two-minute walk from St. Stephen's Cathedral, a symbolic structure in Vienna. The Austrian capital boasts a 300-year-old cafe culture and more than 2,000 shops.
Five cats in the 50-seat Neko were lying on the floor or jumping onto customers’ laps.
Takako Ishimitsu, the 47-year-old owner of Neko, has lived Vienna for about two decades. She said she decided to open a cat cafe as a way to introduce Japanese culture to the central European city.
“I wanted to repay the favor of people in Austria who had helped me,” Ishimitsu said.
She recalled that city authorities were reluctant to approve her unprecedented application for a cat cafe. Following four years of negotiations, she finally received approval after she obtained a license of animal caregiver.
Ishimitsu said her cafe has friendly cats from among hundreds at a local humane society.
Five cats roam freely in “Cafe Neko,” ready to be stroked and cuddled — and when they are tired of all the attention, they can disappear into their own space or climb high above the tables, out of reach of the guests.
“Cafe Neko” opened Thursday. Owner Alexander Thuer tells the Austria Press Agency that the idea to combine coffee with cats comes from his Japanese wife, Takako Ishimitsu, who says such establishments are common in Asia — but rare in Europe
While it is customary in Japan, however, to pay in addition to the drinks by the hour for a stay in cat café, you pay only the drinks in the cafe Neko. In addition to Japanese tea and juices from Austria’s farmers are also home-made cakes and light snacks on the menu. On the other hand, are cuddly map Moritz, Luca, Haru, Momo, Sonia and Thomas. The six cats are from the Viennese animal shelter and are regarded as particularly friendly and playful.
The cafe Neko (1st, Blumenstockgasse 5) from Friday 4 Open May 10 to 20 day clock.