I first attempted to make an overall Cyprus video, but our “tourist” clips just didn’t blend well with all the cat videos. So this is a video mostly featuring the seven cats we watched in Dhoros. Gotta love cat videos, though! I will probably make another short video showing some of our activities out, though. Enjoy!
I am sad to report that the cat cafe in Hanoi- Ailu Cat Cafe, also known as Ailu Cathouse Club, is the worst cat cafe we have been to so far (mostly due to the state and treatment of the cats there).
We made our way here at the end of a long day of walking around Hanoi doing various other activities (including the Temple of Literature and the Vietnamese Women’s Museum). Hanoi is really a lovely city to walk around, especially during the time we visited (February/March).
There are stairs leading up to the cafe in front of what I think might have been a restaurant. We made our way up and did the standard take off our shoes and pay the entrance fee. This cat cafe had the cheapest fee of any cat cafe so far at 35,000VND/person (at least in March 2016, it’s possible it will be raised). This comes out to about $3.15 for both of us.
The whole thing was rather strange because the person running the place at the time did not even offer us a menu or ask if we would like to order something to drink/eat. Usually cat cafes (at least at the ones we visited in Asia) like to try to sell their food as it’s a way they make money. The guy actually looked a little unhappy that we came at all. Not in an annoyed way, but maybe more in the ‘they are going to see how badly this cafe is run’ sort of way. I’m not sure.
There were quite a few kittens but we did not get to spend time with any of them because a group of young girls (also the only other people at the cafe) was hogging them all.
We made our way to the back and settled in some bean bags. Here are some of the troubling things I found:
1. Some of the cats seemed ill.
2. Several of the cats needed to be groomed and/or cleaned (such as cleaning around their eyes, brushing their fur, etc.)
3. I think at least a couple of the cats were not fixed! One of them seemed to be in heat.
4. Some of the cats had mental issues (possibly as a result of their treatment.) Some were very strange about things like eye contact (believe me, it was strange- I have spent time with plenty of cats and not encountered something quite like this) and others were extremely moody.
5. The owners/workers abused the cats. One time I saw a cat crawling up a toy having fun and the man working there kept putting it down for no reason. It seemed very mean. I also saw him hit a cat that was fighting.
6. On that note: the fighting. Now, you might think a little rough play is inevitable when you put that many cats together, but we did not notice any at any of the other cat cafes (or it was very light). We saw several cats fighting during the hour we were there. If you have seen the television show My Cat from Hell, which we actually did see on the tv in Vietnamese in Hanoi, you may know that there are certain things you can do to create an environment which will help with this kind of thing.
7. Cats in cages. We saw two cats in the back in cages. I don’t know why they were there but one of them kept crying. I understand that at some cat cafes they may move a problem cat/fighting cat to another room, but they need to have access to food, water, and a littler box at all times!
8. At one point I saw a cat on the balcony walking on the ledge! That is a little scary!
It is not really a surprise from Vietnam as the country isn’t known for caring about animals (quite the opposite), but we had had a good experience at ICHI Cat Cafe down in Ho Chi Minh so we thought it might be okay.
Now, despite their instability, most of the cats were very sweet and it was nice to hang out with them. One white fluffy one crawled up to Kyle at one point, kneaded him, purred, and finally settled and went to sleep in his lap. We felt really bad when we left and the cat had to leave his lap.
All of the cats who would accept attention really seemed happy to receive pets.
There were also two cats that were very sweet to watch because they were always rubbing each other, giving each other baths, etc.
I can’t exactly recommend the place but at the same time I worry that they would give them even less care or something if they don’t get enough visitors so if you happen to be in the area, that is your call. I really hope they work to improve things.
So far, we have found a cat cafe in every large city we have gone to so far and Saigon was no exception. The cafe here was called “ICHI” Cat Cafe (no, I don’t know the origins of the name) and it did not disappoint.
It operates similarly to the others. First, you walk in, take off your shoes and put on their slippers and wash your hands. They show you the rules which are similar to other cafes (like don’t pick up the cats and don’t use flash on the cats).
There is a “cuddle charge” of 40,000dong (~$1.80). The drinks options (you are not required to buy one) include various coffees, yogurt shakes, sodas, smoothies, teas, and more. They also have some dessert options.
There were tons of sweet kitties!
I love seeing cats get snuggly with each other.
“There’s no other kitty here. Just me.”
All of the cats pretty healthy which was good to see.
We ordered one drink to share (a strawberry smoothie) and it was great.They also gave us water which was nice.
A nice water fountain was available for the cats.
I am not sure what the feeding schedule is like but one cat seemed like it wished it was time for food.
I was also able to find some litter boxes (just off to the side/sort of in the corner), which for some reason I find comforting. I wouldn’t have probably noticed them if I weren’t looking.
Like at other cafes, we enjoyed going around and observing and petting various cats and also just sitting with them. This cafe felt more open to our mobility within the cafe and was not overly crowded with people.
Such a cutie.
There were a few other people there including a girl who was there sketching the cats. I had to tell a child to stop bothering a cat, though. She was blowing in its face and doing other things to bother it.
There were lots of cute decorations like cat pillows. There was even a bookshelf full of books (mostly about kitties).
There was also a period of time where most of the cats decided to take naps.
I guess one just wasn’t enough! Kyle’s friend, Duncan came to/was stationed at Yongsan Garrison (base) up in Seoul towards the end of our stay and we decided a cat cafe might be a good activity to do with him. Plus I was ready to pet some kitties again!
On our way to meet him Kyle grabbed a snack at a transfer. We are not exactly sure what it was (which is why I wouldn’t try it) but we think it was tteokbokki covered in dough, carrots, maybe some shrimp stuff, and fried.
We met (I met for the first time) Duncan at the closest metro station, talked for a little while, and made our way to the cat cafe in Hongdae.
Once inside we were told there would be about a fifteen or twenty minute wait. I guess it is a popular cafe. We went outside and talked a little more and saw some neat gum with art on it outside of a coffee shop nearby.
When we were finally called (luckily Duncan already had a Korean phone), we went inside, put our shoes in a locker, and put on some of their shoes and went inside. This time the ordering form was electronic. We simply followed the prompts on a screen and then were seated. Each person was still required to get a drink. This place cost a little more than the Pyeongtaek Cat Cafe.
We sat down, and fairly soon after had some kitties approaching us. A few showed us a little more attention than others.
I had a very sweet and sleepy Persian in my lap for quite some time.
Another cat was quite interested in laying in my coat. At one point I had one in my lap, Kyle had one in his, and there was one sitting between us/on my coat. Pretty great!
There were lots of places for the kitties to go and they seemed to take greater advantage of the various beds and cat towers here, likely because there were more cats.
We saw a couple people who bought food and they were overwhelmed with cats. It is actually a little bit of a concern of mine because I felt many of these kitties seemed pretty thin. At the Pyeongtaek cat cafe, I felt most of the cats seemed healthy. When I was there, there was food out and accessible (but you could also buy it for the cats). This was not true at this cafe. I did not really notice water here either (though I think Kyle said he saw a dish).
Overall, though, it was another good experience hanging out with some kitties!