What it is: What used to be a hair salon at one of Singapore’s thriving nightlife attractions is the city’s first cat cafe run by couple Samuel Leong and Sue Lynn Tan. The two had had to go through several rounds of rejection from the authorities (namely AVA, NEA and URA), which resulted in them taking almost a year to see their dream come to fruition.
What’s hot: The fact that cat lovers won’t need to travel all the way to Japan and Seoul to ‘dine with’ their furry friends is already a major plus. And while most cat cafes are known for housing special, good-looking breeds only, Neko no Niwa is in the business of promoting the adoption and responsible ownership of strays, so you’ll see lots of those in the cosy new space. And that’s not an easy feat, too. It took several months to integrate the 13 cats, at their home and their initial foster care. When they moved into the cafe, there was another round of integration. And it shows, too. The strays were lovely — beautifully-groomed and relatively approachable.Their drinks (think coffee and tea) and desserts are reasonably-priced at $2 — 5.50 — they don’t sell savouries so you don’t end up in a cat fight (heh) over the cod. Great location, too, and with the WiFi and board games, it can get pretty homey.
What’s not: There’s not much to dislike about Neko no Niwa, except the limited space means only 25 can sit in it at any one time. Best to book in advance — walk-ins are likely to have to wait a couple of hours for the next available slot because patrons can stay as long as they want if they pay the subsequent hour charges.
Verdict: Very hot! They were completely booked up when they opened on Christmas Day.
The Neko no Niwa cat cafe is located at 2/F 54A Boat Quay, 6536-5319, www.catcafe.com.sg. Open Mon — Fri 11am — 10pm, Sat and PH 10am — 10pm, Sun 2 — 9pm. $12 for first hour, $5 for every subsequent hour.