In Spain, La Gatoteca, located on Argumosa street in Madrid, is a pioneer not only because it is the first in this country, but also because it is the first to offer the adoption of those little felines that are already of mature age.
But this space is not only dedicated to the mere knowledge of the cat. La Gatoteca is a world to establish relationships with and meet their needs. As the owner of this place, Alex Aznar, told EFEverde.
In Spain, Aznar said, “the idea arises taking the example of Japan, of what they call neko-café. However, what defines La Gatoteca is the great social weight it has acquired in its work with homeless cats, and the dedication to educational, therapeutic and recreational activities around them ”.
"It went from being a hospitality establishment with cats -said Alex- to being a‘ cat club ’where you can have coffee accompanied by a controlled colony of adult cats looking for a home."
The first cat cafe was created in 1998 in Taiwan, where the Japanese went to enjoy these spaces and their animals. Encouraged by the idea, the first cat library was opened in the Japanese country in 2004 and a trend that spread rapidly was established, reaching 200 establishments of this type in that country.
ADOPT A PET IN THE EASTERN WORLD
According to Alex, the fact that this idea had this repercussion in Japan is due to several factors, among which is “the difficulty among Japanese people to relate, in addition to the impossibility of having pets in the apartments, not only due to the lack of of space in the houses but also by the strict rules that prohibit the possession of pets out of respect for coexistence with neighbors ”.
Alex told us that in these eastern countries there are many variants, most with cats of different breeds, but also true franchises with separate salons for dogs, cats and rabbits, and activities such as bowling or fishing.
The difference is that most of them have a stable colony to visit, but there is no possibility of adoption.
However, there is a small percentage of neko-cafes, which Alex considers to be about 10 out of more than 200, that do carry out social and non-profit work, such as the Cat Café Wish in Hokkaido (http: // catcafe-wish .jimdo.com /) which has been giving its cats up for adoption since 2008 and even works with positives for contagious diseases.
Alex argued that although in Spain "we do not have the same problem of household size, however, here it is the precarious employment and economic situation of many families, which become even more important problems."
This situation prevents us from committing ourselves and taking care of an animal, due not only to its maintenance costs, which are not very high, but perhaps to the high veterinary expenses that we have to face when a companion animal becomes ill.
On the other hand, Alex lamented that almost "more serious is the great ignorance and lack of respect for animal life in general."
HOTELS WITH CATS, A GROWING EXPANSION
Taiwan, South Korea and Japan were the first to establish these establishments with a basic concept of hospitality with cats. The next to join the trend were Europeans, with cafes in Vienna, Munich, Paris "Le café des chats de Paris" (http://www.lecafedeschats.fr/); Totnes (Great Britain), Berlin, London, Hungary, Turin and Tampere (Finland), where the Purnauskis is found (http://purnauskis.fi/).
Russia also has a cat cafe in St. Petersburg, the cafeteria of the city's Cat Museum.
The owner of La Gatoteca added that “these cafes already have all their cats rescued, but we and the Finns were the first to give them up for adoption and rotate cats each time they are adopted, and with the peculiarity of being all adults, which means that they are more difficult to adopt ”.
In Asia and Oceania, although they already have a series of cat-cafes, such as the Cat Café Melbourne in the city of the same name, which rescues their cats, they do not offer their adoption.
"There is also a presence in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, or the United Arab Emirates, - Alex added - all of them with the old model of hospitality with cats."
“Lastly,” said Alex, “it has been the Americans who have been encouraged to open cafeteria establishments with cats. The first cat-cafes have recently been opened on the American continent. ‘Le café des chats de Montreal’ (http://www.cafedeschats.ca/) was the first, with the European style of homeless cats but without adoptions.
Only in the United States and Canada there are more than 10 projects underway to open cat cafes, all of them also projected with the same concept as La Gatoteca, that is, linked to non-profit associations and trying to find a home for their cats, in addition to carry out assisted therapies and educational activities ”.
It was in Oakland where the first American café 'Cat Town Café' (http://www.cattowncafe.com/) was created “which opened its doors a few days ago, with the Gatoteca model and which only in her first weekend of life she found a home for 6 of her first 8 cats, ”Alex enthused.
"Our entire team is very happy that the concept of neko-café has been transformed into a center of enjoyment and help for cats."
Alex Aznar concluded that “La Gatoteca is trying to do just that, to cover the specific needs of our country, trying to give home to less adoptable cats such as adults, as well as to help the cats in their homes are well cared for and, above all, everything, raise awareness about responsible ownership and respect for animal life ”.