Did you know that the first cat cafe was opened all the way back in 1998? It was in Taiwan’s capital, Taipei, and was called Cat Flower Garden. Eventually it became so popular that cat cafes opened in Japan, Singapore, all across Europe, and now — San Francisco!
If you’ve ever wanted to get an in-depth look at what goes on in a cat cafe, check out my review here >>
One reason cat cafes are so popular in cities is because of housing. In San Francisco, and many large cities worldwide, apartments are too small or do not allow pets. A cat cafe lets people freely play with cats without worrying about their landlord or stressed out pets– and many of the cats are available for adoption!
Since cat cafes are usually associated with Asia, it was a huge surprise when a cat cafe opened in San Francisco. Now there are two: KitTea in San Francisco, and Cat Town Cafe in Oakland. I was super excited to check out KitTea, since we unfortunately can’t have pets in our apartment. In fact, in San Francisco around 60% of housing units aren’t pet-friendly — so you can imagine the popularity of KitTea. They tend to sell out reservations pretty quickly, but more on that later…
I really loved my visit to this awesome cat cafe, and now you can check it out too if you’re passing through San Francisco!
Since this is San Francisco, don’t expect it to be cheap: a 1-hour visit to KitTea will cost $20 per person on weekdays, and $25/person on weekends. You can take advantage of the half-hour deal on weekdays, which gives you 30 minutes to play with cats for $14 (instead of $20).
KitTea also runs “happy hour” deals on Wednesdays and Thursdays between 3-6pm, where it’ll cost only $15/hour or $7.50/half hour. However, I wouldn’t recommend this deal for someone who really wants to play with cats– they’re usually pretty tired after a few hours (they’re cats, after all ) and you might not get to play as much as you’d expect. If my pricing explanation sounds confusing, you can check out the full details here and book!
On the wall are the very basic rules for your time in the cat lounge: Don’t bother a sleeping cat, don’t bring your own treats (KitTea allows you to buy some if you’d like), and no flash photography.
When you first walk into KitTea, there are three rooms: the lobby, the cafe, and the actual “kitty playroom.” If you booked an hour, I suggest arriving about 10 to 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment time because you get bottomless tea!
View of the cafe — there are 3 small tables and a long barstool-style table that looks into the cat room
Use this time to go to the cafe, pick out your tea, and get acquainted with the place. When it’s time to enter, the hostess will request you to take off your shoes and purses/bags (there’s a little storage area for that), and to put on hand sanitizer. After that you go through a door and voila! Kitty heaven!
Here’s the inside of the cat playroom: It’s cozy and fits about 5 to 8 people comfortably. The entire back wall is a bench/couch, and there are little tables to put your tea or things.
When you just walk in, I recommend sitting down and checking out the cats first. Get yourself acquainted, and then go and play with the cats. I think if you’re calm and relaxed, the cats will be more open to approaching you and playing :)
Did you know all of the cats at KitTea are adoptable? If you fall in love with a cat, you can fill out a form and adopt him or her! The orange cat on the left is Sharkey, and the two cats on the right are Cambria (gray) and Stanford (black).
In fact, when I looked at the Adopted section, two cats we played with were already adopted (I know, I’m one of those people who blog about it super late )
Tip: If you want to get a cat’s attention, grab a toy! There’s a little hook near the door that has toys like a laser pointer, feather on a string, and a couple of others. If you really want to get a cat’s attention, go for the laser– they go crazy for it :)
Here’s Sharkey again– what a cutie
Anyway, that’s about it for my visit! Here are some tips to get the most from your KitTea experience:
- Come early in the morning if you want to play with cats. KitTea is open from noon (12pm) on weekdays and 10am on weekends. We were the first ones there when it opened– noon on a Wednesday–and towards the end the cats began to stop playing and take a nap. On the Yelp page some people noted this as well, so pay attention to timing!
- Don’t wear perfume or black clothes for obvious reasons — you don’t want cat hair to stick everywhere ;)
- Talk with the cat room attendant. The attendant is there to take your food/drink orders and make sure everything is in order. Ours was from Japan and had a ton of cool facts about the cat cafes there (did you know there are also owl, bunny, and dog cafes?) and about the cats at KitTea.
- For best results, use the laser toy to get cats’ attention.
- And finally, pay attention to the cats! Each has their own personality and style of interaction. Some might want to jump and play across the entire room, while others want to cuddle next to you and be petted. Find the one best suited to your style and go for it :)
To book a visit, check out KitTea’s official website here.
Good advice in any situation. ;)
Thanks for reading!