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SIMPLE OBSERVATIONS

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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Facing a Cat-astrophe (#17)



     I just read a story about what’s called a “Cat Café.” The article said, four of them have already opened in the United States, and dozens more are planned. The first one opened in Taiwan in 1998, and they quickly gained popularity in Japan, with Tokyo having thirty-nine of them. They have also spread to Australia, England and France. At the Le Café Des Chats in Paris, reservations must be made in advance, and there’s a two-month waiting list. It’s rumored a cat café was going to open in Beijing, China, but it fell through when they couldn’t find any cats.
     The Cat Café is basically a coffee and pastry shop with a separate area containing cats. Customers pay an hourly fee to relax with food and drinks, while either watching or playing with our wonderful feline friends. From what I understand; the cats basically do whatever they want. They eat, sleep for hours, lounge around on soft cushions, groom themselves constantly, and ignore you if you talk to them. They also lay in the warmest spots, hack up prodigious amounts of hair balls, foul the litter boxes, and have people fulfill their every desire. I was thinking to myself,
“I guess I don’t have to visit a Cat Café. I can experience all that, just by walking in my front door, and observing my own cats!”

     The more I think about it, I’m realizing Cat Cafés are a great idea. They’re kind of like when you visit relatives for the Holidays or go to your children’s houses to babysit grandchildren. You get to enjoy their company for a while, and then you get to leave.
     The feline themed cafes seem to be popular in urban settings, where many apartments don’t allow pets. Many view the Cafes as a place to find relaxing companionship, in what may otherwise be a stressful and lonesome existence. Interaction with cats has been shown to lower high blood pressure, stress, and anxiety. You can even bring your laptops with you, take advantage of free Wi-Fi, and watch as a cat sits comfortably on your keyboard.
     Most Cat Cafes have specific rules that are prominently posted and must be adhered to. They include: no feeding of the cats, no flash photography, no loud noises, no disturbing of sleeping cats, no mistreatment of cats by pulling on whiskers or fur, no children under eight, and no picking up cats unless a staff member tells you it’s okay. Wow, those rules just took all the fun out of interacting with cats.
     The more I think about Cat Cafes, it seems many things could go wrong. I’ve been a cat lover my entire life, and I can say this; some cats are nuts! They are also unpredictable, strange, finicky, and at times out of control. My cat, Harper will suddenly, and with no warning, sprint through the house at twice the speed of a Cheetah. He’ll leap up curtains, hurdle sofas and beds, and knock things off tables and countertops. Five minutes later, as I stand among a sea of destruction, he’s behind the couch, beginning a twenty-two hour hibernation.
     What if twenty cats did this at the same time? What if you’re allergic to cats, but didn’t know it until you sat down in a corner, and forty cats swarm all over you? I can only image if ten or so cats decide to rub their butts in your face at the same time. Here’s something to think about. What if a deranged person comes in with an electric can opener, plugs it in, turns it on, and then runs out the door? I know what happens at my house when the little devils hear that sound, and I only have two cats!

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