First cats, then goats, now owls?
We’ve heard of more and more cat cafés opening up in parts of the world — most recently Meow Parlour in New York City, where customers can pet rescued shelter cats for an hourly fee — but the original credit goes to Japan, where cat cafés first sprung up.
In Asia, many resident buildings don’t allow pets, so cafés with live-in animals are very common and are often meant to be a sort of pet therapy. Spending time with animals is not only relaxing, but can also have emotional and physical health benefits, including stress and anxiety relief and better heart health. At these cafés, a customer will usually pay an hourly fee for a snack or drink and a cuddle session with the animals that live there.
It seems that domestic animals are old news, though, at least in Japan. With the opening of Sakuragaoka Café in Tokyo, the owners adopted a pair of goats in order to add a “wow factor” that they said cats and dogs don’t have. These goats aren’t living on a farm — they live, play, and eat in the café, and customers can sign up to take them for a walk or just drop in and hang out.
And then there were owls, the latest trend in Tokyo’s cafés. At coffee shops like Tori no Iru Café and Owl Shop, dozens of owls are perched at every corner, even on customer’s heads, arms, and shoulders. Strict rules apply, though: no flash photography, sudden movements, or petting the owls anywhere but on their heads and backs.
So, the U.S. is a little behind on the trends, but maybe if we’re lucky, we’ll see owl cafés popping up here soon. In the meantime, here are a few more animal cafés that exist now, from the domestic to the exotic.
All Dogs Allowed
All dogs are allowed at doggie-friendly cafés — no leash required. At Bau House in Seoul, Korea, things get a bit more intense: dogs of all ages and breeds play, lounge on chairs and couches, and scarf down homemade dog treats made at the café. Along with treats and playtime, Montreal’s Le Doggy Café offers obedience classes and cooking workshops for devoted dog owners.
Side of Carrots and Bunnies
Carrots, grass, and bunny-themed desserts are what you’ll find at Cafe Raabi and Ra.a.g.f. (Rabbit and Grow Fat), two cafés in Tokyo that are home to several bunnies who hop from table to table, sitting on laps and chomping on greens and other rabbit treats.
Haley Willard is The Daily Meal's assistant editor. Follow her on Twitter @haleywillrd.