Our Visit To Cat Café

So we all know cats are great. Not to mention how great it is to be around them. They make us feel better about ourselves and the world, and also help us relax.

Unfortunately, not everyone who wants a cat entitled one. Even though they are stacking up in animal shelters and foster homes many things are there to prohibit us from the sacred animals.

It can be family. Not everyone is cat person, and that needs to be respected. We also live in a world of allergies and many of us are lacking a normally functioning immune system, too. Not to mention certain illnesses, where meeting a cat can be a deadly threat. Imagine if your husband does not like cats at all, or your children are allergic.

On the other hand, many of us can not afford to own a place, and renting with pets can be a tough job to complete. Most landlords don’t allow pets at all, or ask for an outrageous pet deposit.

For this same reason, cat cafés were first introduced in Japan, and went booming soon after.

As we all know the Japanese love cats (they even have a font made out of cats) and the ban on pets in rental units hit them hard. Only until thirty-something years old Norimasa Hanada had an idea of opening a cat café. Hanada’s Neko No Mise (Shop of Cats) was an immediate hit. You can read more about this here.

Since then, many cat cafés have been opened in Japan and throughout Europe. I personally love the idea, as it gives homes for unwanted kitties and also gives a quiet place for a coffee and some cat petting time for the people who otherwise could not be around their favourite animals.

No wonder, when one opened in Budapest I was amongst the first ones to visit.

Arriving to Cat Café Budapest, I was stunned by the fact how clean the place was. I mean, I know cats are clean, and I know health and safety regulations apply, but this place was clean. To double check that, I was actually crawling on the floor in my white trousers when making photos of the kitties. Spotless.

Due to the same health regulations all food has to be kept away from the cats, behind closed doors. This might look odd for the first time visiting, but it is something you can get used to easily.

There is table service for drinks, coffee and some cakes. You can also purchase some cat snacks, but beware – these cats really, really want those treats. 🙂

Waiters were nice, but the place was not stuffed on a Saturday evening, only a few tables were occupied. When I stepped in, all waiters were in the “food room” behind those closed doors, so for a minute or two I had no idea where to go with my booking. One of them shortly arrived and escorted me to my table and took my order.

Children (for the sake of the cats’ sanity) are only allowed in on Mondays, and as I overheard the waiters communicated that to the incoming guests (who missed to read the sign containing this info) in an overly polite manner. All in all I have nothing against the staff, they were nice and they were around enough.

Cats were lovely, too. Out of 16, there are only 5-6 you can see at the same time as they have 300 square metres on 3 floors to rule, and they also have a napping room, where humans can not disturb them.

They were bold and human-centric, some playful, some only there for the treat, but they were all quite sociable.

I could go on about this place forever, but an image speaks more than a 100 words, so please check out my gallery I shot on the premises.

anitabrayer's Story

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Help I Am Being Catnapped! – How To Go On A Camping Holiday With 3 Cats

So they say impossible is nothing. I believe in that.

When I told my boyfriend what my plan was for our holiday, he did not even freak out.. And that makes him the only person of this kind, at least amongst the people I know.

First things first. I had this plan of building an outdoor playground for the cats for months now. My idea came from an article I read about the regulations of having cats in certain countries. In many places they are to be kept indoors or in your garden – if you can guarantee they will not be able to escape. Tough job. Through this I found those so called catios which is a short form for cat patios. (Okay, mine did not come out as great as these, but still cool.)

 

To give you more insight, me and my cats live in a flat on the 6th floor in the capital city, so all they know about nature is that flies come in from time to time, and some sand on our shoes, too. I really wanted them to see more of the world, so last year they travelled with us to a wellness hotel at lake Balaton where we had some walks around the lake, experienced what it is like to travel together, how to eat fish and chips when you are sitting in a bag, playing with grass and meeting other humans, dogs and ferrets. Since then, we had a couple of day trips, but nothing special really.

This year I wanted step to the next level and spend our holiday at my Grandparents’ house in the countryside. We even bought a fast set pool for them, so we could enjoy a bit of water, too.

When I told them my plan of building a catio in their back garden, they took it a lot better than expected. We found a little space that is protected from the sun by huge trees, made a plan (which later proved to be not-so-useful), and bought all materials needed.

All in all, it took us 3 days (and about 2 broken nails and 70 little injuries) to build this cube shaped cat-patio, that is 2 metres wide and equally tall. It has a door and plenty of cat furniture. We made sure they are not able to escape and nothing can enter either. Even though it seemed completely safe, protected from sun, rain and other animals, I still felt like I won’t be able to sleep without them. As I respect my grandparents strict rules of “no animals in the house” I needed to come up with an idea for sleeping together.

I have never been camping, so buying a massive tent looked like the best option. So why not?

“Are you completely out of your mind? You are seriously going to camping with the cats to your Granny’s back garden!?”

Well, it may sound stupid, but yes.

So we did.

After only one night, the cats got used to the new situation quite well. They knew they were staying in the catio while we were in the pool, sunbathing, having a barbeque and some chit-chat with our friends. They liked to watch us and the fact they could actually have a good view of the whole backyard. We took them out for walks 2-3 times a day, the rest they spent sleeping, hunting for insects, any moving objects or each other. Oh, and they also enjoyed meeting with other cats who came around to check them out. Some of them sat at the catio during the day, some only came at nightfall. Xeni even had a little lover, some serious wooing was involved! 🙂

The cats slept the whole night through (this never ever ever happens at home) and even if they woke up they were careful not to wake us. They knew breakfast was served in the catio at 9 and they knew dinner time was at 10. At about midnight they came sitting at the door waiting to be transferred to the tent, and as we killed the lights they went to sleep straight away. They behaved a lot better than they do at home. Never tried to escape, and if they somehow managed to go around my back and leave the catio, they went straight to the tent for some “on pillow sleeping”.

 

All in all, we had a great time, they had a great time and seemed confident. I do know that not all cats are suitable for travelling with, but I am blessed with mine. They are also young, so they can get used to this quicker. If you start travelling with them from an early age, they get used to it quickly. Málna enjoys these adventures a lot, Xeni gets a bit frustrated and likes to spend all her time in the tent with pillows and plush animals, but even she got relaxed and made friends with the secret admirer of hers.

The most important thing is to have trust in them and this needs to be mutual. Your cat trusts you when he/she comes and sits in your lap when the thunderstorm comes, they need to know you are able to protect them, and that you took them on this trip because you love them and want to spend time with them. If they don’t feel neglected or left out and you can give them shelter for fear, they will never wander away from you. A trip like this needs a lot a of precautions, but if you know your cats and they know you, nothing can go wrong.

 

xoxo