Catwoman would have been happy.
Filipinos have a… touchy relationship with cats. Yes, there are lots who love them, that’s for sure. But – for someone like me, for instance, who grew up in the province – we have numerous stories to tell about cats; and these stories are not necessarily nice, e.g. that an aswang (a monstrous character in Filipino folklore) can turn into a cat (usually black in color); that if a cat jumps over a coffin containing a corpse, that corpse will re reanimated; and that if you bathe a cat, a storm will surely come.
But considering that many studies have cited numerous health benefits derived from petting and interacting with companion animals (e.g. cats), I’d say our relationship with cats is… skewed.
And – Hey, considering that there’s even a musical named after them! – cats are, as the cliché goes, here to stay for sure; and are even just continuing to be beloved.
It’s no surprise that, to provide cat-lovers (or even the cat-curious), avenues to be with cats, cat cafés have been popping up everywhere – starting in 1998 when the first such theme café was opened in Taiwan.
And then the cat… craze reached the shores of Cebu this January, when the city’s first cat café was opened.
And so welcome to Cebu City’s – not-too-creatively named – Cat Café.
Apparently, the café had only five cats (of Persian and American Shorthair breeds) when it started operating, with the cats, as one of the “cat ladies” working in the venue said, “extras” of the pets of the cat-loving owners. The five cats were “enough”, considering that the original café (not the “main” café), wasn’t that big a place, and could only hold up to 14 people.
By March, when the “extension” to the café was opened beside the main café (this extension can accommodate up to 10 people), the number of cats grew to 15 – nine of them male, and six females. Nowadays, the main café has two cats, with the number of the pets there kept to a minimum because “that’s where food is prepared”. The rest of the cats are in the extension café.
Then get to know Chong, Cotton, Bubblegum, Shogun, Samurai, Smoke, Hunter, Macmode, Pumpkin, Thunder, Lola, Ninja, Kush, Cheech, and Boogie.
Most mainly just lounge/lazily lie there, acting like the stereotypical “snobs” cats are deemed to be, occasionally giving the people/us non-felines tired looks. But then, some do stuffs – e.g. eating, scratching, drinking… and even fucking (though I was surprised that they did so sans the usually accompanying noise heard when pusakal/street cats engage in sexual acts).
There’s nothing to worry about the cats, we were told. They’ve been vacc’d; they’ve been toilet-trained; they don’t steal the customers’ food. All good and well.
By the way, since this is a café, how’s the food?
I’d say not bad – even if the choices are limited. The salads are, for the lack of words, pretty common – e.g. Tuna Salad (P180), Vegetable Salad (P110), and Taco Salad (P185). There are only two hot drinks – i.e. cappuccino (P50), and mochaccino (P50). There are only two frappes – i.e. cappuccino frappe (P95), and strawberry frappe (P110), and the latter isn’t always available after selling out. The desserts are surprisingly delectable – e.g. mango cheesecake (P85), banana split (P130), cupcakes (P50).
Suffice it to say, though, that while the food isn’t at all bad, that’s not necessarily why you’d come here.
After all, not everyone can put up with the… stench that numerous cats emit when they are gathered in one place. Not everyone can put up with the furballs (or even just the floating hair) that pets tend to release. And for that matter, not everyone can even appreciate the softness/fluffiness of cats (e.g. I know someone who is literally scared to feel a cat, claiming that a cat’s softness scares her). So, obviously, this isn’t a place that everyone can appreciate.
But for those who just love cats, or at least are cat-curious… well, this one is a must-visit, indeed.
Cat Café is located beside Villa Fatima Subdivision, V. Rama Street corner Bacaio Street, Guadalupe, Cebu City.