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.
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.
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.
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.
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?