Kit Tea's Cat-opoly | San Francisco's 1st & Only Cat Café
The first cat cafe opened in Taiwan back in 1998. From there, the idea traveled to Japan, where it’s really taken off (and where I first heard about them), and finally to us here in the US. There are now 10 cat cafes in the states, the latest one opening up right here in San Francisco.
We stumbled on Kit Tea by chance. Heading home from a delicious dinner at Monsieur Benjamin in Hayes Valley, we walked past a large well lit window with benches and cats inside. Kit Tea’s blue tea pot/cat face silhouette logo stared back at us. The place still looked open, so we headed in to see what this place was and if we could get in some cat time before calling it a night. Unfortunately, it was 15 minutes until closing, but on our uber ride home I made a reservation for the next day. For $25 on weekends, you can spend an hour with the 10-15 adoptable cats and drink up to 6 cups of tea.
We arrived 15 minutes before our reservation as instructed and watched the group before us finish up their time with the cats while selecting our first cup of tea. My husband and his friend started with green tea, I went straight for the hibiscus.
We sanitized our hands and headed in. The “cat wrangler” welcomed us and laid down the ground rules: no waking sleeping cats, use a toy when you play with the cats, and respect the cat’s body language. If you pick up a cat and it starts squirming, leaning away or meowing, it’s time to put it down. Square cards with pictures of different tail positions and their meanings placed throughout the 20 x 10 space help the guests understand what the cats’ are saying.
The majority of the cats there during our time were closer to kittens (what a treat!) and loved hanging out with people. One kitty quickly curled into a guest’s lap and ended up sleeping there the whole hour. Besides the three that were sleeping in a corner when we arrived, and the one who slept on the visitor’s lap, there were about 8 other cats who were ready to play and pounce. Things got really exciting when someone brought out Cat-Opoly. More like Cat-Magnet. Those kitten’s loved that box.
Every 10 minutes or so our Cat Wrangler would ask if we’d like another tea, we’d place our order and then pick it up just outside the door. With all the tea drinking, I needed to take a break to go to the restroom and was pleasantly surprised that Kit Tea not only borrowed the cat cafe concept Japan, but also installed a Japanese toilet, complete with all the bells and whistles.
As of this week, Kit Tea has successfully placed 59 cats since they opened in June. Hooray for pet adoption! After spending an hour with the adorable kitties, it’s easy to see how.
To plan your hour of cuteness right meow, visit www.kitteasf.com
To view more pictures from our visit, see gallery below.
Biblio: Feline Fun in Japan’s Cat Cafes by Lindsey Galloway for BBC Travel, April 2012