By Emma King
When I first heard about a cat café opening up in Toronto, I was beyond excited. Coffee? Yes. Cats? Even better. Both of those things, together? I must be dreaming.
TOT the Cat Café opened in November 2015 and is run by Kenneth Chai and Scott Tan. It is located at 298 College Street.
Chai found inspiration to open the café from his own cat, Olen, who died.
The owners requested for the interview to be done over email. They sign their email as Olen, in memory of Chai’s cat.
“We came to a conclusion that if this was going to be our concept, why don’t we do it in a good way, such as helping rescued cats find a new home,” said the owners via email.
I went into the café with high expectations. Cat cafés are becoming popular – Quebec already has four of them.
The café has a warm and cozy atmosphere to it. For health and safety reasons, the cats are sectioned off behind a glass wall.
My friend Alexia and I ordered hot chocolates. While the drinks may be a little pricy, it makes up for the fact that there’s no entrance fee to go into the cat area. You can also purchase cat treats before going to see the cats.
There are a few rules to follow while in the enclosed cat space including no flash photography and you have to wear the slippers that are provided.
To my utter disappointment, you aren’t allowed to pick up the cats. There is also a “enter at your own risk” rule, since the cats can turn into unpredictable assholes.
Upon entering the cat area, I was in heaven. There are three cats currently housed at TOT the Cat Café: Bud, Tabitha, and Neko. They are all available for adoption.
“TOT the Cat Café will be considered a vacation home for them until they get adopted,” the owners wrote.
The café is also a great place to go if you’re looking to de-stress. All of the cats were friendly, playful and cute.
Unfortunately there is a 15 minute time limit if the café is busy.
“Coffee = de-stress, cat = relax: especially during final exams,” said the owners over email. “Cats’ purring has [a] healing effect and a proven reduction of cortisol level[s].”
TOT The Cat Café is planning on introducing a meal special for students in the near future.
For the first of its kind in Toronto, Chai and Tan did a good job of combining one’s love for coffee and one’s love for animals. It’s pretty much purrfect.