Since beginning in Taiwan in the late 1990s, the concept of the cat café, in which patrons can admire, play with and take photos of cats while they enjoy a coffee and a sandwich, has really taken off. However, it was when the Japanese caught on to the trend that cat cafés really grabbed international attention, spreading to countries around the world as everyone decided they wanted in on the action. Mexico was of course no different, and May 2015 saw a husband and wife team open the country’s first cat café in La Roma. The second cat café (Bastet Café), in Baja California, was opened just a few months later in August 2015.
At La Gatería the décor is minimal – think bare wood, tactile cat climbing walls and scratching posts – because, let’s face it, everyone knows the cats are the main attraction. And attraction they are; whether pleasing the crowd by padding their way across the suspended rope bridge, playing it coy and snuggling up next to you or tiring themselves out playing with the numerous toys that are dotted around the café itself, there’s never a dull moment. In fact, all the cats at La Gatería are up for adoption, meaning you might end up going home with more than some great photos.
If you were concerned about the safety of the cats, you really needn’t be. Upon arrival, every visitor must first pass through the adjoining cat boutique, before washing their hands with antibacterial gel and being let in by a staff member who ensures that none of the cats has the chance to make a bid for freedom. What’s more, when you sit down at the table, you’re given a list of guidelines to follow while you’re there; don’t pull the cat’s tail or try to pick them up without supervision from a member of staff are among some of the rules every La Gatería visitor must follow.
You can also grab a light snack while you’re there too, in the form of a sandwich, salad or slice of enticing cheesecake, washed down with a coffee or juice. Although waiting times to enter when this café first opened were as long as two hours, the furore has calmed down and you’ll now be able to grab yourself a table no problem. In short, it’s a great place to spend an afternoon surrounded by some four-legged, furry friends and good company.