Heavy Petting in Seoul: Visiting a Cat Cafe


tom cat cafe seoul

Last updated: 26th April 2018.

 

Confession time: Unlike the entirety of the internet, I don’t like cats.

I’m allergic to them, I always seem to end up being scratched by them, and they never want to cuddle with me. I’m firmly Team Dog when it comes to animals.

So when my friend invited me to join her for a drink at Seoul’s cat cafe, I was less than excited. I was convinced we were about to spend an hour being ignored by sullen cats, and then I’d spend the rest of the day with swollen, itchy eyes.

It started off so well.

As we entered the cafe, the sound of silence was a welcome antidote to the chaotic streets outside and unlike the dog cafe, there was no overwhelming scent of urine, there were no loud crashes as dogs leapt from table to table, and there was no crowd of excitable animals gathering around me, fighting for attention.

toms cat cafe in seoul

I had half-expected the cafe to be filled with thousands of lonely housewives, gathering hundreds of cats in their laps while mumbling Adele lyrics under their breath with a deranged look on their faces. Fortunately, this wasn’t the case.

I couldn’t help but smile as I surveyed the scene in front of me. The room was full of dozing cats and the customers looked like they were on the verge of falling asleep too.

This was looking quite promising.

My friend and I chose a centrally located table, sat down with our overpriced milkshakes, and waited for something exciting to happen.

… Except it never did.

We sat there and watched the cats sleep, laze around, play with their toys…. And completely ignore us.

Cats at South Korea cat cafe

It was kind of boring, and I was reluctant to approach any of the cats in this cafe.

Each cat wore a different colour collar – red symbolised not to touch, orange warned you to be cautious when petting, and green indicated that it was ok to play with them.

So why did 90% of the cats have a red ribbon and the remainder have orange ones?

Deciding that we didn’t want to be mauled by violent cats and end up with cat scratch fever, we chose to leave them alone and not attempt to capture one.

Cat at Tomscat cat cafe in Seoul

Not only were the cats apparently extremely violent, but they also liked to hang out in a sauna. 

Because that’s exactly what the cat cafe felt like.

After finally adjusting to the chilly Seoul air, coming inside to what felt like a tropical greenhouse was bizarre, and within minutes we had created mini lakes of sweat and were wearing the least amount of clothing that is considered socially acceptable.

Cats at a cat cafe

The cat cafe couldn’t have been any more different than the dog cafe, and was exactly what I was expecting. 

Both experiences had their pros and cons but overall were still very enjoyable and provided lots of entertainment. Given the choice between the two of them, I would have to choose the cat cafe.

Despite the lack of interaction we had with the cats, it was still a fun place to visit. It was a much more relaxed environment, it didn’t smell and you weren’t attacked every five minutes by crazed animals. When the conversation dries up, there are still bizarre things going on around you to watch and talk about.

If you live in Seoul, it’s the perfect place to meet up with friends, catch up and chill out for a few hours – especially if you’re a cat lover too.

Would you like to go to a cat cafe?

 

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35 Comments

  1. Gina
    January 5, 2012
    Reply

    purrrrrrfect!

    • January 6, 2012
      Reply

      Hahahaha, I was waiting for that!

  2. Eurotrip Tips
    January 5, 2012
    Reply

    OMG. The crazy cat lady that I am would be ecstatic to go there! Whenever I travel I make these high-pitched sounds whenever I see a kitty around, so you can imagine what it would be like in a café filled with cats. I might consider Seoul solely for that reason!

    • January 6, 2012
      Reply

      Hahahahaha! You would have LOVED it, there were loads of those crazy cat ladies roaming around ;)

  3. Sky
    January 5, 2012
    Reply

    Whoa…I had no idea that such a place even existed…I like cats but I can’t say I would want to eat or drink in a place filled with them!

    • January 6, 2012
      Reply

      I think they only had drinks there but still, it was definitely interesting :)

  4. George
    January 5, 2012
    Reply

    I heard about this before how the cats are very antisocial and frankly bored of being pet but this must be a vast improvement from the dog place. I can’t stand how needy dogs are for attention (and of course the puddles of wee). Hope it helped with your dog and cat phobias xx

    • January 6, 2012
      Reply

      It was a hundred times better than the dog cafe, no smells and no wee everywhere – hooray! :)

  5. Drew Jacob
    January 5, 2012
    Reply

    I dunno… I hate to give any fellow blogger a hard time, especially for a humorous post like this. But it sounds like your main complaint is that it was boring. But the reason it was boring was because you were afraid to go up and interact with the cats. If you wouldn’t touch them or play with them, how exactly could they entertain you?

    And the thing about rabies… Well, I know phobias aren’t always rational, but a cat actually has to *have* rabies to infect you. Chances are the cats in a commercial cat cafe have had their shots, and they live a sheltered life. You’re probably at higher risk of disease from holding hands with someone :)

    • January 6, 2012
      Reply

      “Each cat wore a different colour collar – red symbolised not to touch, orange warned you to be cautious when petting, and green indicated that it was ok to play with them.

      So why did 90% of the cats have a red ribbon and the remainder have orange ones?!”

      That’s why ;)

  6. Marsha
    January 6, 2012
    Reply

    I get hives just thinking about this! I’m severely allergic to cats, plus the way the friendly ones snake around your legs with their bodies and tails just creeps me out! Gawd, Lauren! Where do you find these places?

    • January 15, 2012
      Reply

      Hahahahaha, I always google bizarre places to visit when I get somewhere!

  7. John
    January 6, 2012
    Reply

    I think I’d have to check one of these places out if I were in Seoul…just to see what it’s about. Would you go back if you knew more of the cats were friendly, green collar types?

    • January 15, 2012
      Reply

      That’s exactly why I went – I couldn’t not go! I may have done, but probably not, because they still would have scared me :)

  8. Alison
    January 6, 2012
    Reply

    I was amazed that a dog cafe existed, so of course there had to be a cat cafe as well :-)I love cats but would have avoided petting them as well, given the warning colours you said they were wearing.

    • January 15, 2012
      Reply

      I wonder if there are any other animal petting cafes?!

  9. Chris
    January 7, 2012
    Reply

    It’s not fair that you female bloggers (you, Alexandra, and Lauren have done it to me know) can get away with such flagrant use of sexual innuendo to draw reads :-p

    Nobody wants to read about me getting into some heavy petting or having an amazing orgasm :-p

    I actually never went into a pet cafe while I was in Korea. Shame on me.

    • January 15, 2012
      Reply

      Hahahahaha, not true! I SAY it was a cat cafe! :)

      You should have gone, they’re fun!

  10. Claire @ Two4Travel
    January 8, 2012
    Reply

    …Really?? First a dog cafe, now a cat one? Haha, what an interesting experience!

    • January 15, 2012
      Reply

      It was definitely that :)

  11. Sam
    January 9, 2012
    Reply

    Dog & cat cafes, wow, never heard of them before. You may be the only person I know with a dog & cat phobia, how are you with snakes?

    • January 15, 2012
      Reply

      Bizarrely enough, snakes don’t really frighten me!

  12. January 16, 2012
    Reply

    Wow, this is the kind of place my girlfriend would arrive at and never leave.

  13. super
    January 16, 2012
    Reply

    hollow prejudices never die huh? you were expecting al kinds of cliches that don’t exist. ever heard of a cat meme?, no idea what icanhascheezburger.com is?, never heard of a certain cat loving boy from hell, or the favorite pets of brilliant nerds worldwide? No. Soo young and yet stuck in 1950’s California Suburbia: “only lonely crazy wives like cats”.

    • January 16, 2012
      Reply

      Oh hey, ever heard of a joke? Clearly not. Perhaps my British sense of humour is far too superior for you ;)

  14. January 16, 2012
    Reply

    Why in the world would they have cats that you couldn’t pet? And why have so many? I thought petting them was the whole point! These cafes confuse me…

  15. January 19, 2012
    Reply

    I want to go, I want to go!!! I was happy to read you liked the cats cafe best :<)
    Meow

  16. cheryl
    January 20, 2012
    Reply

    I love that you went to both types of cafes! That’s awesome … I’d have fun at both too. :)

  17. cheryl
    January 20, 2012
    Reply

    PS: Your blog post title also rocks BTW … I only imagine the search queries you’ll get to your site now. =)

  18. James - Ouroyster.com
    January 22, 2012
    Reply

    I think the dog cafe looked more fun. Pretty funny about the colour warning system for the cats though!

  19. Laura
    January 22, 2012
    Reply

    As a crazy cat lady myself I would have found this place delightful! As opposed to a dog cafe – yuck! Sorry the cats weren’t more interesting or nice. I wouldn’t have been able to keep from trying to pet them!

  20. Raymond @ Man On The Lam
    January 24, 2012
    Reply

    Chaotic or not, give me the dog cafe any day! :)

  21. February 22, 2012
    Reply

    I love your British sense of humour!! I don’t understand why people even bother commenting just to be rude.

    Anyway, I would love to go a place full of cats however if I can’t stroke them then what’s the point? I would rather chase stray cats in Singapore or Philippines! :D Besides, I already have a cat who thinks and acts like a Princess Diva. That’s more than enough, even for a cat crazy lady like me!

  22. The World of Deej
    March 14, 2012
    Reply

    What a great, yet random idea. There’s never been a cat that didn’t love me..Seriously my wife calls me the Cat Whisperer, so this would be right up my alley:)

  23. Mary @ Green Global Travel
    April 6, 2012
    Reply

    The cat cafe should offer allergy pills in Garfield Pez dispensers. I’m glad to learn that you were not mauled by the red ribbon kitties.

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