His iridescent, yellow eyes locked on my panini, licking his lips, he gracefully stretched then leaped down from his sun-soaked window ledge and stalked closer to my table, prowling for his lunch. His graceful body weaved between worn chair legs, dodged adoring customers and ducked under tables as he traversed the expanse that connected his ledge to my meal. In one swift movement, he jumped up onto the wooden chair across from me, placing his paws on the edge of my table as he lifted his rust-colored head to better sniff the scent coming from my plate of ham and cheese on crunchy, white bread.
There was a momentary standoff as we each sized up the other. Would his hunter instinct and appetite dominate his brain and motivate him to attack my innocent panini? Or would his experience with discipline motivate him to resist?
His appetite won.
He reached his fluffy, white mitten across the table in an attempt to paw at my lunch. I quickly covered my panini as a waitress scooped him up under the pits of his two front legs. He dangled there for a moment like a ragdoll before she flipped him into a cradle position and said, “Oh Chlupáček! Are you being a naughty cat?” She playfully rubbed his head and then deposited him into the lap of a lunch-less customer at a nearby table, where he was greeted with cuddles, strokes and adoration.
Reach. Cover. Scoop. Cradle. Deposit. It felt like well-rehearsed choreography. Chlupáček must be consistently naughty. I like his tenacity.
This experience took place in the Kočiči Kavárna in Prague, Czech Republic. The name translates to Cats Café.
Before continuing, I feel like I should let you know that I love cats. Always have, always will. I can’t remember a time that I didn’t have at least one furry family member living with me. With that being said, here are my thoughts about the cats, atmosphere, cleanliness and food at Kočiči Kavárna in Prague.
Let’s begin with the main attraction…the cats! The Kočiči Kavárna is the fulltime home to ten cats. Three are Maine Coons. If you are a cat lover and have not seen and/or felt a Maine Coon, you are missing out. Their size alone is amazing! Couple that with their unique facial features and soft fur and it’s truly a memorable experience. Naughty Chlupáček is a rust-colored Maine Coon. He was one of my favorites because I have an affinity for tenacious, orange felines.
The remaining seven cats were a mixture of long and shorthair domestics of various colors and sizes. Many were sleeping in the cat beds nestled throughout the café and a few were lounging in the windows and chairs. The ones that were awake could easily be enticed to play with the provided cat toys of strings, sticks, feathers and poofs.
All the cats were clean, beautiful, and well-tempered. They welcomed affection and were quite playful. It is evident that they are cared for well.
The aroma of fresh coffee filled the air as I entered the café and a “hello” was directed my way from a young lady behind the food counter. Desserts of chocolate and pies and other colorful sweets decorated the display case. Several cats lounged lazily on cat beds and window sills. I wanted to pet them all. A mural of the house cats adorned the wall and a large circular table engulfed the front room. A single lady sat in a chair by the window, her coffee rested precariously on the ledge. She was entranced by the book she held in her left hand and slowly stroked a long-haired cat lounged in a nearby cat bed with her right. The lighting was warm and welcoming in the front room and the two employees chatted happily behind the counter.
Through a narrow passage was the back room, which was a bit more dark, calm and quiet. It was also where the majority of the seating was located. An enormous homemade cat tree dominated the room. It looked like an actual tree spreading its limbs, interrupted at intervals by wooden ledges for the cats to lounge. A boy giggled as a cat pawed at the stringed feather he dangled above the feline’s striped head. Cats lazily lounged on cushioned chairs and in cat beds and welcomed adoration even while napping.
There was a faint smell of urine toward the extreme end of the back room. I think the litter boxes were housed behind this walled-in area that looked like a house or shed inside of the room. We chose to sit at the front area of the back room at a narrow table with cushioned chairs and a bench where a gray Maine Coon was taking his afternoon nap.
Overall, the Kočiči Kavárna in Prague was clean, especially considering it served as the fulltime home to ten cats. I didn’t see any obvious signs of cat litter on the floor or even fur build up on cushions. As mentioned before, there was the slight scent of urine in the far back area of the back room. There was only one real aspect that bothered me. Several of the table tops that were intended to be utilized for dining featured cat beds currently in use. I have cats, but I don’t let them on the table, especially ones used for eating. I guess it makes it easier for people to pet the cats, but I found it odd.
When planning this excursion to Kočiči Kavárna, I never intended to eat at the café. I had imagined having a coffee and then moving on to another spot. However, by the time we arrived, my family and I were starving. So, we opted to order from the limited lunch menu. We all ordered tomato soup that came with a side of toast. My husband and I each opted for a panini as well. The food we had, was just okay, however, the cappuccino was delicious! Surprisingly, only the adorably naughty Chlupáček made an attempt at our lunch. I think if I go back to this café, I will only get coffee and possibly a dessert.
Awesome or Awful
So, back to the question. Cat café, awesome or awful? In my opinion, the experience was awesome! I love cats and my expectations were met. As expected, the cats were adorable, sweet, beautiful and playful. My daughter laughed and had fun playing with the fur babies. I enjoyed spending time in the cozy and comfortable atmosphere with them and the employees were kind and attentive to the needs of the humans as well as the felines. I didn’t expect the food to be amazing and I was not surprised by the faint scent coming from the litter box. The only aspects that were unexpected were the cat beds on the tables that people dine.
Cat cafés are now becoming more popular, but the first truly successful one opened in Osaka, Japan in 2004. It is named “Neko no Jikan (Cat’s Time).
Would you visit a cat café? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.