Is a cat’s time really that valuable?

A cat cafe is opening in Minneapolis — the grand opening of Cafe Meow is tomorrow. It sounds like a fine idea, especially that they’ll be housing cats from a local shelter and will be encouraging adoptions. So, sure, if you like cats, you can get a bit of cuddling while drinking your morning coffee.


It’s $10/hour to hang out with a cat. I’m sorry, I go home at night and try to get some work done, and our cat will flop down in my lap and demand that I pet her, and that I don’t move because she wants to take a nap, and if I do try to type while accommodating her, she will pop up and decide to stroll about the keyboard. She should be paying me.

If this cat ever sends me a bill, it’s gonna get ugly.


  1. chigau (違う) says

    Maybe you should consider opening a cat café in Morris.
    In one of your spare bedrooms.

  2. cartomancer says

    Fortunately most cats have not heard of capitalism, and generally take their payment in indentured servitude. This is the arrangement you seem to have been entered into.

    I would say more on the subject, but my two-foot long ginger overlady demands treats and cuddling, and I don’t want to be put in the stocks again.

  3. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    If this cat ever sends me a bill, it’s gonna get ugly.

    Something tells me as long as food appears (canned or dry), along with some petting when desired, the bill won’t be served.

  4. komarov says

    Sorry, cartomancer, but if anything the price tag proves you’re wrong about cats and capitalism. The “proprietor” is most likely just a pawn, a cat’s paw if you will, in the next stage of these evil creatures’ plan to take over. I recommend that the the standard containment plan (as derived from Aliens) be enacted immediately:
    1) Rig up a flamethrower, go in and rescue any survivors.
    2) Nuke the infestation from orbit.

  5. says

    You’re being sarcastic right? It’s a bit too subtle. Can’t actually tell if this is sarcasm or you really don’t get it. It’s a charitable situation for the animals, I doubt the proprietors are making a killing off your $10/hour plus $3.50 for a drink. A cafe usually has a very slim profit margin, so the $10 is probably the only viable way to have a cafe that cares for these foster animals while trying to get them adopted.

  6. says


    I believe they started in like Tokyo, where many apartments are too small for cats, so people pay to “rent” time with them. I certainly would in that situation. As it is, one cat is staring demandingly at me as I type this, even though it’s about an hour and a half until mealtime, while another is staring at a cupboard like there might be a mouse inside. It’s very relaxing.

  7. gijoel says

    I was cynical about it too, when a friend took me to one during a bout of depression. Then I got there and went, “oh my Glob, kitties.’ If they hadn’t of been watching me so closely I would have taken them all home.

  8. asclepias says

    Microraptor, I volunteer at the shelter here! I spend most of my time helping out in the vet clinic (where I cuddle many kitties), but when I’m not doing that I prefer to walk dogs. The clinic has its hazards–today we had a great dane in there who was recovering from pneumonia and liked to lean on any human available.

  9. magistramarla says

    My kitties have definitely helped to keep me somewhat sane as I have recovered from two very painful back surgeries in the past three years.

  10. A. Noyd says

    As Jonathan Duran says, the price is often set to cover the care of the cats while getting them adopted out. There are different models of cat cafe, but a lot of them are rescues that cover costs by renting time with the cats. It also keeps the kitties out of the cages that standard rescues use. Having volunteered at a standard rescue in the USA, I much prefer the cafes. The cats just seem so much happier and get great socialization.

    My apartment doesn’t allow pets, so I go to a cafe here in Japan about once a week. It is definitely a rescue first and foremost, but they do some amazing promotion to drum up business for the cafe. They teamed up with a railway to host a “cat train” and, on another occasion, had some local TV celebrities visit and do a spot for their show. And that all leads to more adoptions, too.

    Actually, even though I pay to spend time at the cafe, they often give me discounts or let me skip the waiting list because I work to socialize some of their less approachable cats. I also help other customers learn how to handle cats and distribute the more docile kittens to people who aren’t sure how to start interacting with the cats.

    There are less admirable models of cat cafe, though. Sometimes cat collectors open a cafe to enable their collecting. The cats are usually better off for their owner’s extra income, but it’s still not a healthy situation, especially if the owner refuses to get the cats fixed.

    Other cafes keep a stable of permanent cats—usually various types of exotic purebred—and are set up to make money rather than just support the cats. I really dislike that model because it encourages breeding for profit by glamorizing purebreds.


    SC (#7)

    I believe they started in like Tokyo, where many apartments are too small for cats, so people pay to “rent” time with them.

    They got started in Taiwan, actually, but really took off in Japan. It’s not just the size of Japanese apartments but how so few allow pets.

  11. ledasmom says

    For a bit, our local art museum had an exhibit of cats in art and also an exhibit of cats as art – that is, a huge cat play-cage with adoptable kitties. You could go in the cage and pat them, but not move them. There was one giant orange cat that we saw hanging out in a giant cardboard tube and then later on the floor, but we never saw him move in between those two places. He did not appear to be a high-energy cat. If we didn’t already have a low-energy giant orange cat, we would have been very tempted.

  12. blf says

    For a suitable fee, the mildly deranged penguin offers a similar service. The main difference is instead of you going to the cat café, the cats come to you. She sends them by trebuchet, so accurate landing coordinates are helpful (but not essential, doesn’t everyone like kitties plopping onto their heads?).

    If you ask for the Really Big Trebuchet, then for an additional charge, she’ll send the café as well as the cats. I don’t recommend this extra service unless you find cleaning-up smashed pottery and property relaxing.

  13. A. Noyd says

    In the last few days, a cat showed up around the convenience store by my house. According to a neighbor, her owner was hospitalized, and she’s been left to her own devices for a while now. I tried seeing if I could catch her but she was too wary, only going so far as to accept food from my hands. I was really worried she’d be hit by a car since the store’s parking lot is very busy and is right on a major road.

    So I turned to the cat cafe I mentioned above, and they lent me a cat trap. Which they had because that’s the sort of thing a rescue-style cafe will buy with that $10/hour (or its local equivalent).

    Now the pretty little thing is recuperating in the storage vestibule under my bed. (Yes, despite my apartment prohibiting pets.) She’s got a semi-recent surgical scar on her flank, so I’m going to see if any of the local vets know her and can contact her owner or the owner’s family.

  14. says

    For a bit, our local art museum had an exhibit of cats in art and also an exhibit of cats as art – that is, a huge cat play-cage with adoptable kitties.

    I’m always amazed at how much cat allergies are considered a “your personal problem, just suck it up” issue.
    Nothing against a cat café, I’d just avoid it, but making public spaces inaccessible to people because of their health issues is not ok.
    I actually like cats. I would probably have loved to see the exhibition and take the kids along because such things are very valuable in getting kids to appreciate art.

  15. says

    In Australia most pet cats are microchipped so no matter where on the continent they’re found they can usually be united with their owners.

  16. Steve Caldwell says

    In communities where it is hard to find housing where one can have pets, there might be a market for a pet cafe where one can play with a cat or a dog. I could see that being a market in a college town (no pets in the dorms).

    Last year when we visited our son in South Korea, we went to a cat cafe and a dog cafe in Seoul.

    The cost for a coffee or tea was around the equivalent of $5.00 USD. Here is the link for the dog cafe that we visited on Google Maps:

    And here is the cat cafe that we visited: