NEWS & FEATURES
Have you heard the woofest mews?
Have you heard the woofest mews?
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
By ALMA J. BUELVA
THE cats have moved in to Katipunan! Uchi No Neko (The Cat House) has officially opened the doors to its cafe and 9-suite cat hotel on a generous 200-square-meter space right in the middle of the busy school and restaurant row.
The seventh cat cafe in Metro Manila, Uchi No Neko tries to top the usual amenities and offerings one would expect from a cat cafe by having a full-service kitchen, floor-to-ceiling cat suites, a cattery, a separate events and ala carte area, and a shifting schedule for its cats.
For P300, one can commune with cats, mostly rescued puspins, for two hours. The cover charge comes with a full cat-themed bento meal, drink and desert.
Uchi No Neko's cats came from the business partners or individual rescuers and organizations like the Philippine Animal Rescue Team (PART). As resident cafe cats, they get to enjoy about 100 meters of catwalk above the cafe and play area. The cats can romp around the artificial turf or in the screened outdoor garden where they can watch cars and people pass by.
Unless still very young, the cats have been either neutered or spayed and are vaccinated against common health threats. Some have one of their ears clipped as an indication that they have been fixed.
As members of the Uchi No Neko family, the cats enjoy their own quiet, air-conditioned cattery away from the public's eye. They “work” in batches of 14 or more for at least two hours at the cafe before the staff dutifully take them back to the cattery and then reintroduce another batch of cats to play with customers.
Visitors to Uchi No Neko should get a kick out of the cat-inspired bento meals, pastries and coffees. The kitty onigiri, spam musubi and beef teriyaki are just some of the choices available daily. To make the cat-themed dining complete, Uchi No Neko has customized cat-shape tables and chairs.
The interiors, walls, décor and everyday objects all have something “catly” to tie them all up into a haven for cat lovers.
Uchi No Neko's architectural design and execution were done by Ms. Ali Dalisay. But the creative brain behind this new enterprise is Cha Lacsamana who designed the furniture and also hand painted some of the intricate murals with her friends. It is perhaps the artist in her that inspired her to offer Uchi No Neko's upper floor as a gallery for cat artwork from different artists. She currently hosts the limited works of Geneva David, the young lady who paints cats by the dots to help her raise her own clowder of puspins.
Next to the events and ala carte area is the 9-suite air-conditioned cat hotel which charges P450 a night per cat. Guests must provide food and litter for their own cats. People can check-in at least 3 cats in one suite. Uchi No Neko's staff will look after the guest cats 24 hours.
The view from the street doesn't give much justice to the beautiful interior and exciting experience that Uchi No Neko hold. One must step inside to see that this is a thoughtful cat cafe with elevated standards for the good of the cats and guests alike. If you are a cat lover, Uchi No Neko should be your next pitstop.
* One stormy afternoon at Taiwan's Houtong Cat Village