Meow Cat Cafe
Meow Cat Cafe is as far afield from its downtown predecessor, TOT the Cat Cafe , in concept as it is geographically. Located in quaint Mount Pleasant and a short walk from Davisville Station, this adorable kitty cafe run by a mother-daughter team is clean, quiet, bright, and traditionally Korean in its operation style.
TOT came under fire over suspicions regarding the treatment of the felines in their custody. Here at Meow Cat Cafe, all the cats belong to daughter Erica, six to be exact. Mom Helen also helps run the shop and do the round-the-clock work involved in taking care of all those cute little furballs.
They say coffee is just as important as cats here, and I'm always happy to have some iced caffeine on hand, but it's hard to stay focused on the beans and brew. The friendly cats are everywhere as soon as you walk in, not confined to a single area. Here, it's like a safari: you're the one who has to be careful in their environment.
The premise is relatively familiar: there's no entrance fee, but you have to buy a coffee to play with the cats. My iced latte doesn't break $5, at only $4.40 for a large.
The beans are Colombian and the milk and sugar are very sweet, but it's a small price to pay for a cat lover to have a calico instantly curl around your leg.
Baby gates at the front door and washroom entrance keep cats in the cafe, but there's no special procedure before you open them.
What is required, however, is that you buy a coffee right away before playing with any of the cats and sign in on a sheet before doing so. At the top of this page are important rules, and signing in ensures customers will take a look at them.
Rules are also posted at cash and in the back playroom area. They're accompanied by helpful hand-drawn cartoons by Erica (also a computer science student, artist and designer) that are both cute and illustrative, especially for kids. She's also drawn up a little guide to what cats are telling you with their tails.
Erica's never had any special animal training, just a lifelong love of cats and a penchant for watching YouTube videos about their behaviour.
Unlike other cafes, the cats here are not up for adoption, they belong to her. You can drop off your own cat for a sort of babysitting/playdate session at the cafe, but they won't allow you to leave your pet for more than a few hours.
They also have specialty Korean pet supplies and cute knick-knacks K Pop fans will squee over.
Photos by Jesse Milns