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COCONUTS HOT SPOT — Cat Café Manila, Metro Manila’s first cat café, quietly meowpened on April 11. It’s at the far end of the second floor of a nameless building that stands in Sikatuna Village, Quezon City.
When Coconuts Manila visited last Friday, 10 beautiful cats were either sleeping in their baskets, hidden in corners, or inside the cathouses hanging on the wall. “We have 12 in all but two are at the vet for check-ups,” shares Anna Calvo, one of the owners.
The best time to visit is lunch time or dinner or even after dinner, when the cats are most playful. “We train them according to our meal times, and a lot of them are nocturnal so after dinner, buhay na buhay sila,” Anna continues.
The idea struck her after a Japan trip last year. “I went to a cat café in Osaka and I thought, wala pang ganito sa Manila, so why not?” She designed the café similar to other cat cafés in the world, with one wall outfitted with wooden panels where cathouses and hammock-looking contrapment hang.
The “play area.” Notice there’s a ball of fur on the left side of the wheel? That’s Trigger the cat.
Adjacent to this is the play area for cats, where there’s a giant wooden wheel and a few ladders. Two low tables are beside a bright purple cushion where visitors can sit while socializing with the furballs. The entire café is lit by the sun streaming from the window panel, which is already full of doodles.
This is Ling-Ling. She likes to hang around the window.
This is how Cat Café Manila works: There is a PHP200 door charge, half of which is consumable. The other half goes to the care and maintenance of the cats. The café can hold up to 15 people at a time, and each visitor can stay for just an hour.
She has several advocacies that she’d like to put forward with Cat Café Manila. One is to educate people that cats have different personalities. “One of our cats, Trigger, likes to keep to himself. Feeling namin, traumatized when he was younger.” Some of the cats’ names should clue in the visitor of their personalities: Sasha the cat is named thus because she’s fierce. An all-white feline was named “Mama Cat” because she displays motherly instincts toward the other cats.
Mama Cat. She likes to watch over the other cats and lets all of them eat first before she does.
The café has hit its maximum cat population of 12, all of which are from their partner organization CARA (Compassion and Responsibility for Animals). They are all pusakal — local lingo for street cats — but let’s stop calling them that, because it’s politically incorrect, we were told. “Puspin” is the better term, which means Pusang Pinoy. They have all been spayed and neutered, which is yet another one of Anna’s advocacies.
“To solve the problem of cat overpopulation, we spay and neuter cats, to remove their ability to reproduce.” Spraying and neutering cats, she says, makes them gain weight and more affectionate, increases their life span and makes them generally healthier.
Which explains why the cats at Cat Café Manila are all so fat, sweet, and easy to pet, making the one-hour time cap such an inconvenience. Here, you’ll forget to taste the many baked goodies and coffee drinks on offer, because you just want to play with these felines.
Cat Cafe Manila, 2/F 189 Maginhawa cor Makadios Sts, Sikatuna Village, Quezon City. Tues-Sun 12pm-10pm. CatCafeManila.com
Ling-Ling, who is a calico or a tri-colored cat
Mama Cat looks like a real boss lady
What beautiful posture Monching has. Doesn’t he look so prim and proper?
Oreo, named thus because of his color
Sasha usually takes her time on these hammock-like contraptions
Trigger. He likes to keep to himself.
Chaka the cat
Cat photos: Petograpiya (Gia Lara) via Cat Café Manila
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