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 is never-ending and anyone obviously deriving joy from it is likely on a multitude of drugs. I feel it is safe to say that my visit to the cat cafe may be the least amount of fun I have ever had in my entire life. And I say this as someone who once attended a silent rave while listening to a dead iPod.
For those of you unaware of its beginnings, 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 are unsure of what a cat cafe is, sound it out. It is the most self-explanatory phrase in the world.
Cat Cafe is cats + cafe. It is 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 are a piece of shit who 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.
Perhaps that is an exaggeration, but I figured that, at the very least, there would be cats and coffee present. Those were my minimal expectations.
Because what is 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 to download Rosetta Stone to believe in the veracity of that statement. So I was expecting I would be able to choke down a latte in the presence of cats. In case you do not know where this is heading: There was no coffee due to 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 was not in the most understanding mood for meeting with the world's most unfeeling creatures.
There was a torrential downpour that Sunday. 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. Before entering the cat cafe, my friends and I were required to sign a waiver. I did not read the waiver because it was very long. Maybe there was something in it prohibiting blog posts about how much it sucked. I will find out when I get a cease and desist.
Imagine a room. Imagine cats sleeping. Now, be bored. That is it. That is the cat cafe, I have ruined the illusion, I have saved you nine dollars.
All of the cats were asleep. It was like observing the aforementioned silent rave while sober. Yet people were having fun even without any form of stimulus and I still do not understand why.
And here's the thing: those cats don't owe me anything. They do not owe me 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 is not about me. But my god, those cats were so absurdly dull. Interacting with them was like trying to feed a glass of milk to a cardboard cutout of Zac Efron.
I am aware that cats sleep for an average of 16 hours a day because I have had so many cats in my lifetime. 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.
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 it 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. Do not make my mistake. Ride the subway less than four times, instead.