So when I first heard about the opening of a cat cafe in New York City, I was like a 12-year-old girl at a One Direction concert. (I was like myself at a One Direction concert.) I soon found out actually experiencing the cat cafe is more like being a normal person at a Phish concert: it never ends and everyone enjoying it possesses the worst taste in everything. I feel it is safe to say that it may be the least amount of fun I have ever had in my life. And I say this as someone who once attended a silent rave while listening to a dead iPod.
For those of you unaware -- because your WiFi connection cut out three years ago or you don't have friends -- the cat cafe first originated in Taipei fifteen years ago. That means it took fifteen years to build a Hub of Disappointment in New York City that has zero relation to the MTA. If you're unsure of what a cat cafe is, I'm not going to elaborate further, because it is the most self-explanatory phrase in the world. Cat Cafe. It's cats + cafe. That's it. It's supposed to be the happiest place on Earth, unless you are deathly allergic to cats, in which case it still manages to be the happiest place on Earth if you're a piece of shit that people want dead.
New York City's cat cafe (called the 'Meow Parlour' because we are now in England) currently has a wait list that extends well into March. You would think it housed something rare and extraordinary, like the entirety of the 27 club (and the half-ghosts of all its future members) resurrected in an underground lair that leads to Atlantis.
Maybe that's an exaggeration, but I figured that, at the very least, there would be cats and coffee present. Those were my standards.
Because what's the first thing you think when you hear the word 'cafe'? Coffee? Is it coffee? Maybe the word you think of is 'coffee.' Because 'cafe' literally translates to 'coffee' in at least seven million different languages. I don't need Rosetta Stone to tell me that statement is true. So I was kind of expecting I'd be able to choke down a latte while in the presence of cats. I don't think that's too much to ask. In case you do not know where this is heading: there was no coffee. Health violations.
Disclaimer: The day I rushed to the cat cafe, I was mildly hungover, unshowered, and there was a gaping wound in my knee, crusted with blood from being dragged across a sewer grate the day before. I wasn't exactly in the most understanding mood for meeting with the world's most unfeeling creatures.
The vast majority of New Yorkers are witches, so the cat cafe saw quite a few cancelations from people afraid of melting in the rain. So I hobbled down to SoHo in an attempt to take someone's newly surrendered spot. I mistakenly walked toward whatever river is down there by mistake, because I am the world's most broken compass. Everyone is surprised when I tell them I am a native New Yorker; no one is surprised when I am late.
Before entering the cat cafe, my friends and I were required to sign a waiver. I did not read the waiver because it was so long. Maybe there was something in it prohibiting blog posts about how boring it was. I'll find out when I get a cease and desist.
Imagine a room. Imagine cats. Imagine slumber. Now, be bored. That's it. That's the cat cafe. I've ruined the illusion. I've saved you nine dollars.
All of the cats were asleep. None of them responded to love. It was like observing the aforementioned silent rave while sober. People were having fun and I still don't understand why.
And here's the thing: those cats don't owe me shit. They don't owe me niceness or comfort or love or acknowledgement. They're rescues for fuck's sake. I am an asshole for writing this post. This is one of those things that's kind of not about me in any capacity. But my god, those cats were so fucking dull. Interacting with them was like trying to feed a glass of milk to a cardboard cutout of Zac Efron.
I'm aware that cats sleep for an average of 16 hours a day because I have had so many of them. I have a cat right now. He's diabetic and scared of everything and I like him. When I was unemployed in 2013, I essentially was a cat: I slept when I wasn't eating and I gained so much weight and apathy. The weight came off but I no longer care about anything. So I know cats are not dogs, and yet I was still vastly underwhelmed.
There was one three-legged cat which is cool if you like broken things. She was my favorite, because she shifted in her seat at one point.
To be fair, I do think the cafe is doing wonderful things for those cats, truly cares about keeping them healthy and happy and wants to adopt them out to loving homes. That does not change the fact that I would rather struggle through The Bible written entirely in Eteocretan than ever visit again.
The moral of the story is that I wound up paying nine dollars to be silently rejected by sleeping cats for an hour. This is something that happens to me on a daily basis, but by men and for free. Don't make my mistake. Ride the subway less than four times, instead.