Our guest post about a cat cafe in Slovenia is by Dr. Mojca Koželj, a dentist who lives in Ljubljana, Slovenia. It’s not a country I’m that familiar with but from their tourist website, it’s stunning.
What I love about blogging and cat lovers is how united we are despite language, cultural or geographic differences. What began as an inquiry from Mojca about a cat behavior, developed into an online friendship. Those who belong to the “kitty tribe” can connect with the click of a mouse. It’s no surprise that cat cafe culture exploded into a global phenomena, and thanks to Google maps, there are interactive maps with links to over 100 cat cafes, bars and hotels with cats. This is a screenshot but check out the cat cafe links
While Googling info about cat cafes, I found a Canadian travel blogger, Colleen Friesen and her blog post about Slovenia and visit to Cat Caffe Llubljana. I needed an exterior shot and she kindly granted me permission. She may write about the new cat cafe in Vancouver, and so it goes. Cats are the new connectors and what’s not to love about that? Can world peace be next? Perhaps, one cat cafe at a time.
CAT CAFFE IN LJUBLJANA
There‘s a small street right out of an old part off the city center of Ljubljana if you are scrolling up the main river. And in that street there‘s a nice little bar just like hundreds of bars by the river Ljubljanica in the old part. But it is special. Because it’s not just a bar. It’s home to six cats who live there.
The story starts in the year 2014. A couple, Robert and Tina, wanted to start a new business in Ljubljana. Robert is the orthotic technician and Tina is still a university student. There are no jobs for orthotic technicians. So they wondered what the business would be? They had a vague idea that they wanted to own a bar in the center. Then a friend of theirs tells them about the Vienna Cat Caffe. So they went to see the Neko Cat Caffe in Vienna and the decision was made. They will start first cat caffe in Ljubljana.
What were the first steps to open a cat caffe?
Robert : First we found a place. We found a little bar in the center which just closed down. Then we went to the Administration of Republic of Slovenia for food, veterinary and conservation of plants. They had no previous experience with cat bars so we asked them if they can issue a positive opinion to agree with the bar opening. We got that and than we went to Administration for a health inspection to get a positive opinion and to make sure the standards were met. Actually there was no exact law on this as there were no such bars before. Finally we got all the papers we needed.
So did you have the cats before or you had to choose new ones?
Robert: Well we loved cats as we had them as children but we didn‘t have any at the time. So we started to look for the cats. We heard of a breeder for Golden Maine Coons and we went to visit him. It’s the breed they had in Vienna cat cafe and we also wanted that breed. We instantly fell in love with two cats, Meri and Nina. So we took them. Meri is our biggest cat with a very long fur, so some people are a little reserved a toward her at first. But she is very nice and calm and doesn‘t bite or scratch. She‘s not a big fan of cuddling and she likes to growl but that‘s just her way of making conversation. She‘s very attached to the rest of her cat friends.
Tina: Nina was born in September 2014 just three months after Meri. Nina is our most playful cat who likes to tease everybody. She‘s very curious and never bored and has a best friend, the black cat Jonas, with whom she plays with all the time. She also likes hiding and resting in carton boxes.
Do you also serve food in the bar?
Tina: We sell cupcakes and sweets. That‘s why we have a bar behind glass. We saw that in Vienna Cat Caffe. So the food and the drinks are separated from cats and the rest of the place, and there‘s a window door between the bar and the sitting area. But in the sitting area cats are allowed everywhere. So they might join you with coffee or cake on the table. But hey it’s their home so if guests have a problem with that they might choose a bar without cats.
So how did you get the other four cats?
Tina: Well after having Meri and Nina we went to the exhibition of cats in Celje (an hour drive out of Ljubljana). We chose two cats there, Chilli and Diva. Chilli is Devon Rex, she prefers people over cats. She‘s very playful and might surprise you jumping on your back or shoulders. She‘s very intelligent and likes to steal food. It’s typical for the breed that they love to eat, cuddle and be petted. And that‘s how Chilli is.
Indeed Chilli was crawling under and on the table, jumping on my shoulders and back all the time through the interview.
Robert: Diva was born as Chilli in March 2014. She‘s a Birman and she‘s a real blue–eyed diva. She lives for playing, especially with toys on a string. She‘s all over the place, she especially likes hanging things and the hammocks.
Tina: After having four cats already, we decided we wanted a cat from the shelter. We went to Gmajnice, the cat and dog shelter near Ljubljana and I picked Jonas, the male black cat. I always dreamed of having a black cat. Jonas is an alpha male, he growls when things are not his way. But he‘s kind, charming, loves any kind of food, loves to play and his sweetheart is Nina.
Robert: Actually at first we were thinking of having a bar with cats people can adopt so we would help the homeless cats get a home. But then we found out we would need to register the bar as a shelter, had to get more documentation and meet more standards. So we just went for the cat bar without the possibility of adopting the cats. Also our cats are all veterinary checked and if a cat would fall ill we would place it in our home.
So the last cat is a male cat as well?
Robert: Yes, after getting Jonas we were considering another male cat. We also got him from the shelter Gmajnice. His name is Marko, he‘s the youngest, born this year. He needed 10 days only to adapt to his new home and the other cats to acccept him. But now they are a lovely little bunch, all of them. Marko likes to sleep near Chilli and Jonas is like an older brother to him.
What sort of guest does the bar attract the most?
Tina: Mostly women, couples or families with children. The average age of our clients is 16 to 25 for women, but also elderly people with their grandchildren like to pass by. The guests like to play with the cats, take pictures of them or just observe the cats playing and sleeping. We have some clients who return all the time and people also check our posts on social networks.
Any funny thing happen with guests?
Tina: Yes, Chilli likes to lick everything that is white and hairy. A customer had a white hairy spectacle case and Chilli went on licking it. That was hilarious.
Any behavioral issues your facing with the cats?
Robert: Actually no. When we brought Marko there were a few days of rivalry but soon they adopted the newcomer. And they are also used to not going behind the bar when the door opens because we teach them that from the beginning.
In the time of the interview in the morning, they were full with high school girls taking photographs of the cats and some foreigners travelling through and checking out the cat caffe. Tina and Robert are very content with the decision they made about opening a cat bar and for now they would stay with six cats. They may add another in the distant future.
Author: Mojca Kozelj, a cat lover from Ljubljana with a family of three cats