Well quite an interesting concept, and to me as a foreigner it was extremely intriguing to sip on a cup of tea while dangling a toy in front of a cat or dog in a bustling shopping area. So I investigated two separate cat Café’s and one dog Café.
I feel the purpose of these places is to meet the desires of those who live in apartment, which is 90% of all Seoul residents, who are not allowed to have pets of their own. Often the interaction of a cute furry friend is a welcome relief. I saw a documentary on these Café’s before I went to Korea so I was purposely seeking them out.
Upon entering you are given slippers to change into as you come in and hand sanitiser which is the cafe’s aim to reduce disease being introduced. You pay a small admission fee that includes any hot or cold beverage of your choice. In one cafe the cats with the runny eyes or sneezing habits were being treated with eye drops and medicine, which is great, but it was right next to the expresso machine..
It can be a battle to get the cats attention, so you can purchase additional treats from 1,000won to 3,500won, in Australian dollars that is similar to our $1-$3.50 price. These treats are dried fish or biscuits and by holding them in your hands you will feel like the cat whisper as every cat will abandon its post and come and beg for food.
An observation the cats are more suited to an indoor setting then dogs, and many cats did looked pleasantly happy to interact with humans.
I’m sorry about the quality of some of the pictures, it was often a spontaneous decision to walk in and I didn’t always carry my camera with me, so I used my iPhone.
All three of these places were located in a short distance from one another in the main shopping district of Myeongdong. For the dog cafe there’s always a person in a dog costume on the main street with sign pointing to the location.
For the cat cafe’s we just stumbled across them when walking through the shops, there’s signs out the front but always remember to look up! There’s always shops and restaurants above your head and that is the case with the two cat cafe’s as well :)
Cat Cafe no. 1
The first cafe would put coloured scarfs around the cats necks so you could identify which were sick, you could and couldn’t pick up or were too young to be handled.
Cat Cafe no.2
Directions to Cat Cafe 2 – Called “Cats Playground”
Dog Cafe.. well.. I couldn’t stay here long.. It was like a hospital room in appearance but it had a very strong smell. The urine smell was so off putting I could not bring myself to drink my cool drink. The was many dogs locked in cages on the walls with warnings to not pat as they bite, and even as I went around the room different dogs would snarl at you or run away because they were over being chased for pats. The dynamics between the animals was very intriguing, 3 little maltese like dogs all mounted each other in a very explicit nature and I think they were all male.
There were dogs in there that were much too big and intelligent to be kept in a room such as a boarder collie, and each of them seemed to have some form of social disorder. It was chaotic as the dogs were so board they would start attacking each other and I just felt to leave after 10 minutes. Maybe this is a scathing review and I went on a bad day, but I still didn’t like the conditions they were in. If I had the knowledge that the big dogs were walked at night I think my mind would be more at ease. This is not to say all dog cafe’s are the same either.
So in all, I understand that animals are amazing at relaxing you and few residents in Seoul are allowed pets of their own. However, I was concerned about the over crowding, the hygiene of our own drinks, sickness of the animals and how exhausted they seemed from rarely getting a break from pats!