There’s some controversy in the vegan community about cat cafes and I get it. It’s the whole idea of animals being used as a form of entertainment like zoos and circuses. Animals are not ours to be gawked at for trivial pleasures and shouldn’t be thought of like an object to profit from. That concept is totally reasonable but it’s important to take into consideration the cat cafe in question before jumping to conclusions.
Unfortunately, many cat cafes have an entry fee and customers are usually charged by the hour to play, pet and cuddle with the cats. The food is a secondary factor in this form of entertainment. The cat cafes also sparked a crueler trend of owl and hedgehog cafes across places like Japan where they take animals from their natural environment, starve them then profit from customers who pay for ‘treats’ to give to the animals.Luckily, there are some cat cafes that don’t follow these cruel trends. Take Romeow Cat Bistrot in Rome for example. Rome is a city that is overflowing with stray cats. While I was there I visited the Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary and learned all about the work they do to help the stray cats in the area. The Romeow Cat Bistrot actually adopts cats from this sanctuary and gives them a permanent home. The cafe homes cats who have a mild nature and are good with crowds, as the cafe does tend to get busy at peak times.The cafe only serves vegan food which makes it an animal lovers paradise. No cognitive disassociation here when you cuddle with the cats and chomp on their equally intelligent cousins. I ordered soba noodles with veggies and shared my sister’s side of spicy chips with vegan garlic mayo.If you’re worried about the hygiene standards, you don’t have to be concerned. The kitchen is closed off for the cats, but they can walk freely into the bathroom (where their litter box is) through a hole in the wall. The main eating area is full of cat trees, boxes and shelfs attached to the walls and toys for them to play with. It truly is a cat’s idea of heaven and you can tell they enjoy living there. It definitely beats the harsh streets of Rome at least.