NEWS & FEATURES
Have you heard the woofest mews?
Have you heard the woofest mews?
By ALMA J. BUELVA
THE management of Velvet Friends Cat Cafe has announced that they will soon evolve into a full pet café, with not just cats but dogs and rabbits, too.
If all goes well, Velvet Friends Pet Cafe will be the first of its kind in the country.
“It will be a place of sheer delight to pet lovers as there will be cats of different breeds and lovable dogs such as Papillons, Japanese Chins, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Keeshond and a lot more to make the place even merrier,” said Chito Aclon of Velvet Friends Cat Cafe.
In addition, the upcoming pet cafe will also feature bunnies. Aclon plans to introduce Netherland Dwarves and Holland Lops, among others, imported from Singapore and Ukraine.
With his new partner, Aclon eyes the opening of Velvet Friends Pet Cafe very soon, still at Blue Bay Walk in Pasay City but on the ground floor.
Aclon told MetroPets that Velvet Friends Pet Cafe will occupy a bigger place with one section for cats and another for lap dogs. They also plan to feature an indoor garden.
Velvet Friends Cat Cafe officially opened in June 2015. It featured top-of-the-line cat breeds such as Kurilian Bobtail, Maine Coon, Siberian, Cornish Rex, among many others. They also featured and fostered Puspins.
The upcoming Velvet Friends Pet Cafe will allow the company to differentiate itself from other cat cafés by hosting other types of pets. It will give dog lovers in the city a second place to visit and enjoy the company of dogs in a café setting.
Barkin' Blends Dog Cafe near Katipunan Ave. in Quezon City operates the country's first and only dog cafe to date.
“I'm always a dog lover, it never changes. To have both (cats and dogs) plus bunnies would be paradise for me,” said Aclon.
THE Animal Health and Welfare Division of the Bureau of Animal Industry is encouraging present and future operators of cat cafes to secure the necessary BAI permit to operate.
In an interview with MetroPets, Armelo Mauro of the Animal Health and Welfare Division said only two cat cafes – Velvet Friends Cat Cafe in Pasay City and Miao Cat Cafe on Congressional Avenue in Quezon City – have been issued permits after meeting all the requirements set for an animal facility.
Mauro said they are now processing the permits of Cat Cafe Manila and Uchi No Neko Cat Cafe. There are eight cat cafes in the country today, with seven located in Metro Manila and only one in Cebu.
Aside from cat cafes, the BAI also requires dog cafes, catteries and kennels to undergo BAI inspection prior to the issuance of a permit. Mauro said they have also issued permits to Barkin' Blends Dog Cafe and Bonnevie Cattery.
To get a BAI permit, an animal facility must comply with the country's animal welfare regulations, must submit proper business papers, must show location plan and specifications to prove that it is conducive to animals and must appoint a licensed veterinarian (contracted or on call) who would regularly check on the animals' health, among others.
Mauro said they also particularly want to ensure that the cats are not getting exhausted due to constant exposure to cafe visitors.
“They must provide for the animals' needs and make sure the cats are not stressed especially by being constantly carried by different people,” he added.
Mauro said they are not strict with current cat cafe operators that have opened shops without permits, but they strongly encourage them to register with the Animal Health and Welfare Division and be inspected and evaluated to see if they meet the government's standard.
If after one year an animal facility fails to comply, Mauro said they could be stricter the next time the operator needs to ship animals.
The BAI charges cat cafes P300 for registration, renewable annually. He said they plan to revisit Velvet Friends Cat Cafe because it wasn't completely constructed the first time they visited.
“We will be more strict during renewal of permits,” Mauro warned. “We want cat cafes to make sure that they meet all our recommendations during our first inspection or we won't renew their registration.”
For cat cafes and other animal facility outside Metro Manila, Mauro said the BAI has regional offices and focal persons to conduct the inspection.
The eight cat cafes in the country are:
* Cat Cafe Philippines in Cebu City
* Cat Cafe Manila in Maginhawa, Quezon City
* Miao Cat Cafe in Congressional Ave., Quezon City
* Gilmore Cat Cafe in Gilmore, Quezon City
* Velvet Friends Cat Cafe in Pasay City
* Le Cat Cafe in Paranaque City
* Bengal Cat Cafe in Cubao, Quezon City
* Uchi No Neko in Katipunan, Quezon City
* Mookkie, the smart pet feeder with AI technology