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California Cat Town Cafe offers patrons food and cat adoptions

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Cat Town & Adoption Center opened in Oakland, Calif., four months ago, taking an unusual tactic in getting people to interact with homeless cats. There, customers can mingle with cats during their break, then adopt the cats if they want, said the New York Times. So far it has arranged 52 cat adoptions.This Cat Town & Adoption Center claims to be the first permanent cat cafe in the United States, reported the New York Times. Customers line up for local drinks and pastries, and can also make a feline friend in another part of the café, where the cats roam without cages.Ellie DeMartini, a freshman majoring in psychology from California said, “This is a cool idea,” and it will help people find a cat to adopt.Ann Dunn, a co-founder of the Cat Town Cafe in Oakland, decided, “If we said, ‘Come meet cats and adopt them,’ probably people wouldn’t come. But coffee and pastries seemed like a low-pressure lure.”According to the New York Times and students on campus, this kind of café is common in Japan, as are owl cafes and penguin bars. Midori Igarashi, a sophomore majoring in TESOL from Japan, said, “That is true. In Japan, we do have a lot of cat cafés. People want to pay some money and play with cats over there because in Japan almost all the apartment buildings do not allow pets.”Sunny Jin, a freshman majoring in music from Korea said, “We also have those cat coffee shops but not totally similar with those in United States. Most of the cat shops in Korea just offer a place for customers to play with cats. Whether people can adopt them or not depends on the shop owners.”Heath Department rules in United States do not allow animals to be kept in the same place where food is served, which is a challenge for the business. However, the demand is high. In New York City, The Meow Parlour filled 1,000 appointments in 20 hours, according to the New York Times. While customers might think of a cat café as an indoor play-space for cat-loving adults, the U.S business owners’ intentions are serious. The president of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of New York, Matt Bershadker, said that about 1.4 millon cats (and 1.2 million dogs) are euthanized each year, and those numbers were even larger 10 years ago. “Any innovative effort to encourage adoption is extremely important,” he said.Rich Avanzino, the chief executive of a rescue group that helped fund The Cat Town Café, said, “That is why Cat Town Cafe is such great idea — it takes them out of an ugly environment and puts them in an appealing situation where they can connect with lots of people who may adopt them.” Igarashi said most cities in Japan have an adoption center for homeless dogs, but not for cats. “Those homeless cats? The most common places they will go are the cat cafes,” he said.However, the status seems different in Korea. Jin said there are hardly any shelters for homeless pets. “Normally people treat cats and dogs as other animals like chicken and pigs. They don’t treat them as a part of the family, so they don’t care once they lose their pets,” she said.The Cat Town has a liberal return policy. With few exceptions, people who adopted cats but found they were not a good fit at the foster homes could return them. It charges a $50 adoption fee for one cat and $75 for two, and nothing at all for cats with medical issues.Since the Oakland Cat Town opened, others have been opened in Denver, Colo,. and Naples, Fla.Uploaded March 10, 2015
Writer: Siyang Chen