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Sunday, May 11, 2014

On 9:28 AM by Cindy Zenata in , , , ,    No comments

It’s known that holding or stroking a cat reduces blood pressure and improves one’s general state of mind. Not only in Japan, for Korea residents, the level of everyday stress faced by the average worker, coupled with the fact that most apartments forbid pets, has created a niche industry: a set of cafés where, with a fee, one can bask in the blissful company of felines. The idea originates elsewhere but has been embraced and developed in a completely unexpected way. Some of you might still wonder what the fuss is all about, others will wonder what the heck is a cat café anyway, right? Well, a cat café is basically a café where you can have a drink with a cat on your lap, something almost impossible to find in Indonesia. As an obsessed cat lover, only hearing about cat cafe’s popping up all over the world made me hard not to feel left out!
 
At ‘Cats Living’ Hongdae, one of the many Korea cat café's  you can spend a cozy afternoon in the company of cats, right in heart of the city. One year ago, I was wandering around Hongdae to spent my ‘me’ time because I chose not to join my friend trip to Nami Island due to an unexplainable tiredness after walking non-stop with 4 hours of sleep in a week, I think. Luckily, I found ‘Cats Living’  café which was at the 2nd floor of a building next to the famous `Hello Kitty Café’, and as soon as the elevator’s doors opened, I entered into the first gated area, separated from the rest of the room to prevent escapes. First, I put my belongings into the locker and I was greeted by a friendly girl who told me about the price, list of drinks, and instructions.
 
 The rules were fun to read and pretty clear even though not written in English.  Don’t bother the sleeping cats. Don’t feed them random stuff. Don’t bully them in any way. Don't take picture with a flash. Then, I am  instructed to wash my hands and use hand sanitizer before entering the café.
Once step inside, you’re supposed to take your shoes off and wear these colorful rubber slippers!
The fee is 8000 won with free drink and it comes with unlimited time to play with the cats. 
I ordered green-tea latte anyway! Kinda perfect choice as the one and only companion in the middle of cold-freeze weather, right? :’)
            As for the actual environment, it’s a pretty much all white room, it was quite clean, and the furniture was minimal and mostly wicker, both of which appear to be very good decisions (wicker is totally scratch friendly and eliminates the need for large scratching posts, as it is built in. There were lots of platforms and shelves for the cats to walk around on, and such. A few sofas, chairs, and tables also were scattered throughout the café, which emanated a relaxing, feminine atmosphere completed with soft music.
            The cats, naturally, were cute and, dare I say, rather adorable cats. In all, the “cat staff” consists of 20 cats. However, you would never have guessed by how good it smelt (credit goes to the employee that sprayed the equivalent of febreeze on every fabric surface). The total number didn’t become apparent until later as more and more revealed themselves from underneath chairs, on top of shelves and behind corners of the small room. The cats were generally quite nice, and there was a big variety of breeds, although I would say this cafe seemed to prefer longhaired cats (in general) so there was a lot of poof. They were fluffy, exotic, and seemed well taken care of.
Picture by Cindy Zenata
Picture by Cindy Zenata
Picture by Cindy Zenata
Picture by Cindy Zenata
Picture by Cindy Zenata
Picture by Cindy Zenata
Picture by Cindy Zenata
A bunch of fluffy cats were sleeping on top of each other. So cute! -Picture by Cindy Zenata
Picture by Cindy Zenata
Cutie cat over there could easily choosing your lap as a sleep-spot :')
Picture by Cindy Zenata
I’m not sure if it was because I visited in the morning, but most of the cats were sleeping. It was fun, though, watching the cats sleep peacefully together and it spreads all over the room. However, there are still some cats that wander around, play with each other, or even came closer to the people, looked like they asked to be played.

Picture by Cindy Zenata
Picture by Cindy Zenata
Picture by Cindy Zenata
Look at those picture above! Even cats are fall head over heels for me! :p
If you’re interested in seeing more before going, this video that I created by myself on 'YouTube' shows the inside of Cats Living. Be prepared for a tons of adorable cats!

The best moments came not only from my own interaction with the cats but also from the enjoyable atmosphere. I had the most amazing time and It would be wonderful if I could pay a visit for the second time!
CATS LIVING
‪2F 358-111 Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
(Located out of Hongdae [Hongik University] Subway Exit 9, tucked behind a Hello Kitty Café)

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