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Meet The Founder Of Brussels' First Cat Cafe
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Meet The Founder Of Brussels' First Cat Cafe

Picture of Stephanie Benoit
Updated: 29 November 2016
Originating in Asia, the concept of the cat cafe has finally found a foothold in Brussels with Monika Jurczykowska’s Le Chat Touille. As well as giving city dwellers the opportunity to spend some time in the company of a cat, Monika also aims to educate her customers and provide them with the chance to adopt any of the cats in the cafe.

TCT: What is the concept behind Le Chat Touille?

This is a Korean concept very popular in the Far East since the 1990s, but in Korea or Japan this is for people who don’t have animals at home. I adapted the concept to the Belgian reality, here almost everybody has got a cat, so my cafe serves more the needs of the cats. The aim is to show them to people and find homes for them. It’s also a great place for people who travel a lot and cannot adopt a cat for this reason.

TCT: What inspired you to open this cafe?

I worked in a shelter for 4 years and this is how I thought it would be good for the cats if there was another channel for adoptions.

TCT: Why did you think Brussels was a good place to open Le Chat Touille?

Because having a cat in Belgium is like drinking beer and eating French fries. It’s a must. People can adopt one of mine. And for the group of ‘travelling professionals’ it’s a place to relax with a cat on their lap.

TCT: In what ways do you educate customers about cats and more broadly, animals in general?

Just giving an example, talking about responsible adoptions, not as a gift or because they are cute. I tell people that the cat will become old and ill and this is sooner than we think. Many people ask for sweet kittens, not realizing that this is not a new gadget and that having a cat costs time, work and money. We made them dependent on us, so we are now obliged to take responsibility. I also explain cat behaviors and needs to people who are about to adopt their first cat.

<b>TCT: What is the concept behind <i>Le Chat Touille</i>? </b>MJ: This is a Korean concept very popular in the Far East since the ’90, but in Korea or Japan this is for people who don’t have animals at home. I adapted the concept to the Belgian reality, here almost everybody has got a cat, so my cafe serves more the needs of the cats, the aim is to show them to people and find homes for them. It’s also a great place for people who travel a lot and cannot adopt a cat for this reason.<b>TCT: What inspired you to open this café?</b>MJ: I worked in a shelter for 4 years and this is how I thought it would be good for the cats if there was another channel for adoptions. <b>TCT: Why did you think Brussels was a good place to open <i>Le Chat Touille</i>?</b>MJ: Because having a cat in Belgium is like drinking beer and eating French fries. It’s a must. People can adopt one of mine. And for the group of “travelling professionals” it’s a place to relax with a cat on their lap. <b>TCT: In what ways do you educate customers about cats and more broadly, animals in general?</b>MJ: Just giving an example, talking about responsible adoptions, not as a gift or because they are cute. I tell people that the cat will become old and ill and this is sooner than we think. Many people ask for sweet kittens, not realising that this is not a new gadget and that having a cat costs time, work and money. We made them dependent on us, so we are now obliged to take responsibility. I also explain cat behaviours and needs to people who are about to adopt their first cat. <b>TCT: Tell us more about your menu. What makes it special?</b>MJ: Ingredients issued from responsible farming, local products, but also fancy craft drinks, like the “cat beer” or fruit wine. Everything is home-made. <b>TCT: If you weren’t running the café, what would you be doing?</b>MJ: Some other project about animals. <b>TCT: What has been the most memorable moment in your career so far?</b>MJ: Hard to say. People often thank me for what I do and this is a great feeling. They also compliment the meals and say they love the place. This may sound egoistic, but the best thing is to know that my work is needed and appreciated. <b>TCT: What is the funniest/silliest thing one of the cats has done in the café?</b>MJ: They ate all the wooden cat-shaped lamps. One of them stole food from a customer’s bag and ran away with it. Impossible to get it back. <b>TCT: What is your favorite cat breed?</b>MJ: I love the look of British shorthair, but never had one.<b>TCT: What are your future plans for <i>Le Chat Touille</i>?</b>MJ: Move to a bigger place with more space to play. </p>

TCT: Tell us more about your menu. What makes it special?

Ingredients issued from responsible farming, local products, but also fancy craft drinks, like ‘the cat’ beer or fruit wine. Everything is home made.

TCT: If you weren’t running the cafe, what would you be doing?

Some other project about animals.

TCT: What has been the most memorable moment in your career so far?

Hard to say. People often thank me for what I do and this is great feeling. They also compliment the meals and say they love the place. This may sound egoistic, but the best thing is to know that my work is needed and appreciated.

TCT: What is the funniest/silliest thing one of the cats has done in the cafe?

They ate all the the wooden cat-shaped lamps. One of them stole food from a customer’s bag and ran away with it. Impossible to get it back.

TCT: What is your favorite cat breed?

I love the look of British shorthair, but I’ve never had one.

TCT: What are your future plans for Le Chat Touille?

Move to a bigger place with more space to play.