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Following the spread of “cat cafés” to the UK from Japan, veterinary organisations have raised concerns over feline welfare. Visitors to the increasingly popular cat cafés pay an hourly rate to spend time with the cats on the premises.
The cafes are thought to have become popular as rental agreements and busy lives make it difficult for people to keep animals at home.
The concept was first popularised in Japan, before spreading across Europe. Proposals for a new cat café business in London were recently reported in the media, prompting calls from the veterinary sector to ensure feline welfare is the top priority.
Whilst recognising the appeal for animal lovers, Dr Andrew Sparkes, veterinary director at International Cat Care, shared concerns over welfare, and states the importance of ensuring feline needs are observed first and foremost. He said: “Cat owners will recognise that their cats often have short interactions before wandering off to do something else – cats in cafés must have the same opportunity to get away from people and other cats.”