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Stressed Out? Coffee—With a Side of Cats—is the Answer

By PetcoLori on Oct. 18, 2017

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For most people, traveling is an exciting adventure. But, if you’re like me, it can also be pretty stressful.

Luckily, if you’re a pet lover, there’s a wonderful solution: A visit to a cat café. Whether you need to relieve work stress, shrug off a long travel day or simply relax, a coffee stop at your local cat café will leave you feline fine.

The concept of the cat café began in Taipei, Taiwan, with the opening of the world’s first cat café, “Cat Flower Garden," in 1998. The idea quickly took hold in Japan, with the opening of “Neko no Jikan” in Osaka in 2004 and “Neko no mise” in Tokyo in 2005. By 2010, more than 79 cat cafes were scattered across Japan, 58 of them in Tokyo alone.

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That’s not to say you have to visit Japan to enjoy a cat café. There are dozens across Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, the U.K. and Canada. And, of course, you’ll find them throughout the United States, too.

For me, a recent trip to Montreal and Quebec City had challenged my French-speaking skills. While crossing the street from the Quebec City train station, I saw a sign in a window that immediately perked me up. Peering inside, I could tell: quelques petits chats ("some little cats" for my English-speaking friends) would instantly transform my travel distress into travel de-stress.

The Café Felin Ma Langue Aux Chats, located on 307 Rue St-Paul in Quebec City, is located outside the old city on a picturesque walkway. Owner Lucille Ganne opened the café exactly one year ago, after visiting four cafés in nearby Montreal. Café Felin is home to Lucille's six lovely chats, all of whom give her cozy café distinct purrsonality. (Editor's note: Some cafes also double as adoption centers—populated with rescue cats looking for their furever homes.)

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Should you visit a cat cafe, be mindful that there are a formal set of rules, most of which are in place for the health and welfare of the cats, like removing your shoes and washing your hands. But, once settled in, you can sit back and relax while Lucille makes you a lovely café latte and watch the cat shenanigans begin.

Today, Mittens and Slippers, brother and sister, are the most outgoing. Just up from a nap, they were quickly bouncing across the café to greet their guests. Their two Devon Rex friends leapt up to the top of their cat trees to watch the fun from above. And a beautiful golden Abyssinian preferred to oversee the coffee-making—ensuring, I’m sure, that it was exactly purr-fect.

The fact that I was quickly feeling a great deal better after spending time with Lucille's cats has not gone unnoticed by the scientific community. Ongoing research conducted by the Human Animal Bond Research Initiative Foundation (HABRI) finds growing evidence that the symptoms of a variety of medical conditions, depression included, can be alleviated with pet therapy. Interaction with pets also has been shown to decrease loneliness and isolation and increase self-confidence. And, not surprisingly (at least to me) HABRI's research also has been shown that spending time with pets helps people have more positive social interactions by helping them feel better about themselves.

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Further, in a 2008 study led by neurology professor Adnan Qureshi at the Zeenat Qureshi Stroke Research Center, having a cat nearby can significantly improve your coronary health, as well. The study also found that the relative risk of death from a heart attack was 40 percent higher for those who had never had a cat.

For me, after about an hour of having Mittens curled up nearby and Slippers playing at my feet, I’d pretty much forgotten the stress of trying to translate the French train announcements, or worrying that I was going to miss my train stop.

Finishing my latte, I moved on to the city, with a little more confidence in my step. I also left knowing that just a block away from my hotel, Mittens, Slippers and their friends are waiting…just in case I need another latte.

Looking for a quick way to wash away the stress of your day? Find your local cat café or, shop for supplies that make it easier to travel with your cat.

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About the Author
  • Lori Wildrick is a lifestyle writer who focuses on pets, family life and financial topics. She shares her home with three teenagers, one dog and four cats. One of her favorite hobbies is trying to identify all of the wild birds that visit her yard thanks to a nearby bird sanctuary.
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