By Audrey Tan
If you’ve never been to (or even heard of) a cat cafe, this one’s for you! Besides being cute and cuddly, cats can provide many benefits to our mental health. Have a particularly trying day at the office? Consuming too much negative news? Or just having one of those days?
Cat cafes allow you to take a moment to relax and enjoy the unconditional love of a feline friend. Here are some reasons why I think the world needs more cat cafes:
Get Some Cat-Loving
The concept of cat cafes originates in Taiwan but have since been adopted by many other countries. They flourish in countries like Japan and Hong Kong, where owning a pet is difficult due to small living spaces and long workdays. Thus, the cafes offer a solution allowing those who love pets to relax, have a coffee, eat, play, and cuddle with a bunch of furry friends who are equally as enthusiastic about the attention.
Having a pet means you get constant companionship, unconditional love and affection. People who spend time with animals report feeling healthier and happier. In a survey of pet owners, 74% stated that their pets positively affected their mental health.
A trip to a cat cafe can instantly lift your spirits if you’re feeling down, lonely, or depressed by stimulating a bunch of your senses. Simply watching cats do cute things is enough to make you feel happy. Petting or stroking an animal can improve your mood.
Touch raises the levels of the hormone oxytocin, which lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which in turn reduces the blood pressure and heart rate, inducing a sense of calmness. Even the sound of a cat’s purr has a calming and therapeutic effect. Not to mention, if you’re a fan of coffee, cafes will undoubtedly have that rich, earthy aroma lingering in the air.
Visiting a cat cafe gets you out of the house, putting you in a social environment where you can interact with the cats, the staff and other customers. Social connection is also another powerful antidote for depression. As a bonus, it’s a great place to meet new people with whom you already share an interest – your love for cats!
A Better Life For Strays
Cat cafes are a type of public foster home for strays. Most of their business models are based on the idea that they can help shelter cats get adopted by moving them out of the shelter and into a temporary space where they can acclimatise to humans and meet people who may want to adopt them.
They have the potential to save thousands of feline lives by giving them a cosy temporary home with plenty of food, water, treats, and humans to play with while also potentially speeding up their adoption process. Cat cafes can also free up space in rescue homes, enabling them to take in more cats from the streets to give them better lives.
Customers who care about the welfare of shelter cats should refrain from visiting cat cafes that advertise pure-bred companions, as this can only further increase the population of strays rather than help reduce it in the long run. The presence of healthy, elderly cats is also a sign of a humane business, as this can improve the chances of helping them find a home.
Cats Are Well Cared For
Angry and unhappy cats can do more harm than good, and they certainly don’t attract customers. As a result, cat cafes will always work hard to ensure their cats are healthy and happy by understanding them and providing them with everything they need. This includes ensuring they’re always healthy, with all the necessary vaccines, and that their litter boxes and overall spaces are always kept clean.
A Safe Space
Creating a safe and comfortable environment is another necessity in maintaining satisfied cats. Naturally, cats require alone time, so there needs to be a provision of hiding spaces for cats to escape to when they need a break from strangers. You can tell that an establishment truly cares for its feline residents if they have a private area for them to feel safe, as well as clear rules about interacting with them without causing stress.
Despite our ever-changing surroundings, the allure of cat cafes will remain. When done ethically, they have the potential to improve the quality of life of rescue cats, which previously may have been living in cages or even harsher conditions. For us humans, visiting these cafes can serve as a mood booster, providing a chance to reduce stress levels and an opportunity for socialising with friends while enjoying delicious food and beverages. If you ever feel lonely or down, visit a cat cafe for an instant mood booster, and you will leave feline fine. (Sorry!)