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article imageFirst cat cafe in United States opens in Northern California

By Nathan Salant     Nov 13, 2014 in Odd News
Oakland - Think Americans are a little pet obsessed? Think the "Hello Kitty" craze was over the top, even before we all found out "Hello Kitty" was not a cat at all? Well, hang on -- you ain't seen nothin' yet!
From Northern California comes word that the first cat cafe in the United States has opened — and business is booming — in the San Francisco Bay Area city of Oakland.
What is a cat cafe, you might ask? No, cats are not on the Cat Town Cafe menu, which does include ample portions of locally roasted Bicycle Coffee and feline-themed cookies.
For a $10 donation to the Oakland Animal Shelter, cat lovers can spend up to an hour in the cafe's Cat Zone, hanging with the kitty homies and, maybe forming some permanent bonds.
All cats at Cat Town Cafe are available for adoption through a partnership with the shelter, according to the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper, and the relationship appears to be paying off.
Ann Dunn of the nonprofit group Cat Town Oakland, which helps support the shelter, told the newspaper that 14 cats were adopted in the first 12 days the cafe was open at 2869 Broadway.
"As much as this is a super fun experience, it's really a mission-driven project to get the cats out of the shelter and into great homes," Dunn said.
The cafe was inspired by the cat craze that has seized Japan, where many people in the country's crowded cities live in tiny apartments that do not accommodate pets.
But in Japan, the cafes are seen as outlets for lonely and anxious workers, not so much as a vehicle for pet adoption.
Whatever the underlying motivation, the cat cafe idea is catching on.
New cat cafes have opened in London, Vienna and Paris, the newspaper said, and as many as a half-dozen U.S. cafes are expected to open next year.
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