Animals, Lighter, News

Toronto Cafe Offers More Than Coffee (UPDATED)

Photo by Adrianna McQuaid

By Adrianna McQuaid

Note: Please see the important update (Aug. 24, 2020) at the end of this article.

Coco, Latte and Leo are hanging out at a cafe in Toronto. But they’re not humans–they’re cats. Meow Cat Cafe is one of four locations in the Canadian city where cat lovers can indulge in two of their favourite things: drinking coffee and playing with cats.

“Petting the cats is very healing. It calms people,” said Erica Yun, the owner of the cafe.

While Yun and her daughter, Helen, serve up coffee, customers get their feline fix.

Unlike other cafes, Meow Cat Cafe has a few rules. For instance, customers can only stay for an hour. Also, the safety gates have to stay closed and everyone has to take their shoes off.

There are six cats at the café, each a different breed. The cats, including Zeze, Chanel and Elsa, are the  personal pets of the owners.

Customers connect with each other over their common interest—a love of cats.

“I am getting such a kick out of them,” said one customer. She said she likes going to the café because it gives her the joy of pet ownership, without the challenges or the commitment.

Meow Cat Cafe also sells pet accessories such as cat jackets, food bowls and pillows. For humans, there’s handmade jewelry, and Korean pop culture memorabilia. Cat cafes are popular in Korea and throughout all of Asia, said Yun.

UPDATE: The Meow Cat Cafe has closed, following a dispute about allowing a wheelchair user in the cafe, according to BlogTO. Please read the BlogTO article here. Thank you to the sharp-eyed TKN reader who alerted us to this development!

Related Links
TKN first reported on cat cafes in 2014 in this article.

By Jonathan Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Many different cafe themes have become popular in recent years. Some very popular types have become international, including: knitting, board games and pets. If you could open a cafe that had a specific theme, what would it be? What challenges would your cafe face? Why might it be successful?

Reading Prompt: Point of View
How do you think the writer feels about cats? Use evidence from the text to support your answer.
What would the article have looked like if it was written by someone who is obsessed with cats (ailuromania) or someone who afraid of them (Ailurophobia)? Rewrite the intro to today’s article from both perspectives.

Identify the point of view presented in a text and suggest some possible alternative perspectives (OME, Reading: 1.9).

Identify the point of view presented in texts, ask questions to identify missing or possible alternative points of view, and suggest some possible alternative perspectives (OME, Reading: 1.9).

Identify the point of view presented in texts, including increasingly complex or difficult texts; give evidence of any biases they may contain; and suggest other possible perspectives (OME, Reading: 1.9).

Language Feature: Greek
Many English words come from different places. Today we’ll look closer at the two words with Greek origin listed in the Reading Prompt, “ailuromania” and “ailurophobia.”

Given the definitions above, write your definitions to these three words:

  1. ailuro ____________________________________________________
  2. mania ____________________________________________________
  3. phobia ____________________________________________________