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Cafe des Chats, North America's first cat cafe, opens in Montreal

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For cat lovers, being able to hang with your feline friends while enjoying the comforts of your favorite coffee shop might seem like the ultimate combo. Though it’s not the first of its kind worldwide, that particular dream is now a reality in North America.

The aptly-named Cafe des Chats opened to the public in Montreal this past Saturday, and offers exactly what you’d think of when you hear the phrase “cat cafe.” In addition to the typical coffeehouse experience, you’ll also encounter eight resident cats, all of whom were adopted from the SPCA and live in the back of the shop.

"I think it's just a nice environment. You sit down, you have a coffee, and you play with the cats," customer Michelle Lau said, according to The Canadian Press notes on Aug. 31. Lau traveled from Toronto to attend the opening.

Nadine Spencer, a co-owner of the cafe, said she and her partner opened the business since there are “a lot of places that don't accept cats these days.” Spencer also added that a cat cafe might appeal to local students and is “great therapy.” Similar cafes are reportedly in the works for Vancouver and Toronto, as well as a second one in Montreal.

As noted earlier, Cafe des Chats isn’t the first cat cafe ever opened. In fact, they’re already quite popular throughout the world, particularly Asia. The first-ever cat cafe opened in Taiwan in 1998 and after attracting throngs of visitors from Japan, a similar cafe opened in Osaka. There are now nearly 40 cat cafes in Tokyo alone.

World travelers who also happen to be cat people can also find cat cafes in France, Australia, Dubai, Germany, Spain, Austria, and Korea, among several other countries. As for the United States, there are no official cat cafes as of yet but multiple cities are reportedly closing in on opening their own. San Francisco is planning to open two, for instance, and others are currently being planned in cities like Seattle, Portland, and San Diego.

New York City recently got in on the cat cafe craze, if only temporarily. The pop-up cafe sponsored by Purina temporarily set up shop in April with the goal of creating awareness about cat health and the benefits of cat adoption. Though it was only around for four days, the interest was certainly there; lines to get in wrapped around the block and on one day, some waited for more than two hours to drink some coffee and play with some cats.

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