What's cool for cats
Fur-tastic! Bangkok dogs also suddenly find themselves with their own restaurants
If your landlord regards all pets as pests and cuddly cats no better than creepy cockroaches, but you really, really want to cuddle a cat, you ought to spend your spare time at the Purr Cat Cafe Club.
It’s one of several animal-friendly bistros that have opened in Bangkok where you can talk baby talk to one of the resident cats and dogs or, if you do have one of your own, treat it to a snack and a good long meow or bark.
With names like the Cataholic Cafe and the Coffee & Puppy, these places are as irresistible as Puss ’n Boots’ pleading eyes.
Popular actress Nla “Petch” Aurthaveekul and her friend Korbua “Yean” Songprasert opened the Purr Cat in a charming, spacious house on Sukhumvit Soi 53 a few months ago and are having no problem filling it with young families, students and other folks from the neighbourhood. The human staff serves light meals while puffy kittens offer their own special “services”.
You want a cuddle?
Outside there’s a shady, English-style garden, inside vintage wooden furniture and paintings that lend the cafe a novelistic dream-mansion atmosphere.
“We love kittens!” Petch declares, though we could already see that.
“I started out with a boutique selling cat clothing and collars that Yean and I made. When she graduated from university we decided to open the Purr Cat Cafe as a hip hangout for cat lovers.”
The cats obviously love hanging out there too. There’s a salon where a professional team administers the whole furry royalty treatment. There’s a shop stocking all the latest gear that Petch and Yean have designed.
And the cafe itself is immaculate. Customers have to switch their shoes for slippers and wash their hands before entering so the resident kitties are safe from outdoor germs.
People who bring along their own cat are assigned a private room to make sure no turf wars break out with the “local” gang. It’s got oak tables and chairs enough for a crowd of 15 humans and a carpeted playground with a wooden bridge for the felines to put on a show. It’s a great place to take pictures.
The main “living room” has 20 lovely cats loitering about on the floor and sofas or running up and down a wooden slide. The cute and friendly mob includes a Persian, a Chinchilla, a Maine Coon and shorthairs of the American, British and Exotic varieties.
At some point you realise that all that cat fun made you forget to eat. Time to order a coffee and some French pastries made in-house by a Le Cordon Bleu chef. The prices range from Bt65 to Bt150.
A couple of warm brownies with green-tea ice cream cost Bt120, as do the delectable scones shaped like cats and lavished with blueberry jam and whipped cream. A smooth milk pudding with sliced strawberries and syrup is Bt95 and a mug of hot chocolate Bt100.
“We also serve dishes for cats made with premium ingredients like salmon, codfish and liver,” Petch says, “and we’ll be opening a cat hotel soon too.” Well, of course they will – travelling cats need a place to stay.
The much smaller but chronically cute Cataholic Cafe, inspired by Japan’s furry Zakka cat bistros, is at Ozono, the pet-friendly mall on Sukhumvit Soi 39. Former air attendant Patcharanun “Beam” Pokinpatcha opened the place last November.
Cosy cushions surround small wooden tables to seat 24 and a dozen frisky Scottish Fold, Chinchilla and Napoleon kitties handle the entertainment.
“I love cats, but my parents wouldn’t allow me to have one at home,” says Beam, 23. “But I eventually broke the rule and hid a cat in my room! When my mum found it, I decided to open a cat cafe where everyone could play with kittens.
“Our page on Facebook has thousands of followers, and the cafe has become like a community where you just play or share your knowledge about cats. I’m very happy with how it’s turned out!”
Customers tuck into pastries and quick meals, such as crepe cake with Thai tea sauce for Bt129 and sausage-cream sauce spaghetti for Bt159. Iced matcha milk is Bt85 and sweet soda Bt70.
Beam will also soon be selling handmade accessories – for humans only – like mobile-phone cases, scarves and scrapbooks.
The dog fanciers are meanwhile meeting at the Coffee & Puppy on Chaengwatthana Road. It’s an idea that Thanasut Vudthhivichai and Nantana Sukitjai discovered on a trip to South Korea and decided to bring to Bangkok.
“We both raised dogs when we were young, but we were always disappointed when a restaurant would turn us away because we had our dogs with us,” Thanasut says. “In Korea they have many dog cafes, and we were inspired to build a community here, a place to relax with your beloved dog and also learn from veterinarians.”
The couple serves nosh for both dogs (healthy Jerhigh ready-to-eat meals with fresh vegetables and fruit) and people (Italian, whose aroma evidently doesn’t offend canine noses).
Nantana prepares doggie dinners that even their owners might fancy – Chicken Crumble, Burger Loaf and Cheese Banana in a sweet pork-chicken gravy. The prices as well – Bt40 to Bt80 – could convert you from Italian food, but then again, the Black Pepper Pork Chop Steak is delicious at Bt115, and the Fish Fillet Lemon Steak with lemon and salt is a tangy treat for Bt115.
“We have a Day Care service too,” Nantana says, “and we host dog parties on special occasions like Valentine’s Day and Songkran. And I’ll be offering a cooking class to show dog owners how to make meals for their pets.”
<< The Purr Cat Cafe Club is on Sukhumvit Soi 53 and open Tuesday to Thursday from 11 to 8 and Friday to Sunday from 11 to 9. Call (02) 108 3604 or visit “PurrCatCafeClub” on Facebook.
<< The Cataholic Cafe is on the second floor of Ozono on Sukumvit Soi 39 and open Tuesday to Sunday from 11.30 to 9. Call (084) 664 4936 or check out “cataholic-cafe” on Facebook.
<< The Coffee & Puppy is on Chaengwatthana Road near the government complex and open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 to 8. Call (02) 982 6519 or see “coffeepuppy” on Facebook.