By Alma J. Buelva
IT might as well be the Year of the Cat given the overwhelming excitement around new cat cafes in the country.
Those that have opened shops already are enjoying first-mover advantage but, as the saying goes, pioneers are people with arrows on their backs. As Cat Cafe Philippines in Cebu and Miao Cat Cafe in Quezon City soon found out, with great reviews come a few stinging rebukes that teach them hard lessons and aggravate their growth pains.
With two other similar establishments, Cat Cafe Manila and Velvet Friends Cat Cafe, about to open soon, being a cat lover in this country has never been so trendy.
Here's a quick update on how cats are turning Manila's coffee scene upside down:
MIAO CAT CAFE
Barely two months old and Miao Cat Cafe has already put a modest building at No. 7 Congressional Ave. in Quezon City near Mindanao Avenue on the map as droves of cat lovers jam into its cafe seven days a week.
The sisters who own the place seem up to their necks trying to accommodate reservations while making sure their cats – the stars of the show – are always okay.
With patrons coming all the way from the provinces, the lack of parking, an adequate sign and ample shop space have become a concern. The owners promise to do something about the last two, but parking will remain tricky, unfortunately.
Nevertheless, Miao Cat Cafe's resident cats have proven they have a lot of pull, enough to bring in celebrity Anne Curtis who paid a visit! With almost 10,000 Likes on Facebook and a TV exposure in the bag, Miao Cat Cafe can only expect the influx of more customers who are more interested with cats than coffee.
CAT CAFE PHILIPPINES
Officially the first cat cafe in the country, Cat Cafe Philippines in Guadalupe, Cebu City runs a booming business thanks to its clowder of Persian and American Shorthair cats.
It opened Jan. 18 this year and has since expanded with the opening of its extension called The Cat Lounge very recently. Cat Cafe Philippines also announced last month that it would now operate seven days a week.
Based on most social media comments, cat lovers in the south appreciate the novelty coffee place with some rave reviews for the cats and the food. There were unhappy customers along the way, but the general vibe has been positive.
VELVET FRIENDS CAT CAFE
After a long search for its ideal home, Velvet Friends Cat Cafe is now in its final leg of development and will occupy a 106-square meter unit at Bluebay Walk Metropark in Macapagal Avenue, Pasay City.
The interior is being designed professionally and will follow a French Chic motif. The much-anticipated cat cafe which will feature a wide variety of cat breeds has also settled on its official slogan: Where Friends Gather. Aside from its handsome cats, the shop will feature cat-themed products.
CAT CAFE MANILA
This April, Cat Cafe Manila will finally open its doors in 189 Maginhawa Street, Teacher's Village, Quezon City.
It will feature rescue cats from animal welfare group CARA Philippines. The Cat Cafe team recently had an informative session with CARA personnel about the cats they would be bringing in. In the meantime, Cat Cafe Manila has released its new and official logo inspired by a cat named Fifi who was rescued by one of its team members.
Coffee, tea and energy drinks are bad for cats. Intake of caffeine can cause cats to suffer from restlessness, rapid breathing, heart palpitations and muscle tremors. In addition, dairy products such as those added to coffee or tea are equally bad for cats as they are lactose intolerant. When ingested by cats, dairy products can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
Next time you find yourself in a cat cafe, make sure none of your caffeine-laced drinks ever touch cats' tiny lips and paws!