Before I visit somewhere new, I always look up the essentials: where can I go for tea, and where can I go to snuggle animals?
Luckily in San Francisco I found a place that would accommodate both my tea and cat obsessions: KitTea, the city’s very first cat cafe! Luckily, my friend is just as obsessed with both of these things, so we promptly made a one-hour booking a few days before we turned up.
First things first: one hour will never be long enough! Especially when you’ve been deprived of cats for weeks, like we had by this point. The building itself is separated into three compartments: a mini shop and reception area, a cafe, and the cat area. And from the moment we stepped foot in the door we had our faces glued up against the window separating the compartments. Just staring at the cats. And contemplating which one we were going to try smuggle into our bags first (I joke, I joke…sort of).
While the cafe aims to ‘enrich’ interaction between humans and cats in a relaxing environment, there is also a very good reason for it: each and every cat you see is available for adoption. Since they opened in June 2015, they’ve had 74 cats adopted! Sadly, they don’t allow cats to be sent over to England. I asked. And begged. Several times.
The Cat Cafe Experience
I’ve been to a few cat cafes in London now, and the experience is always the same: let the cats come to you and don’t pick them up
and don’t steal them. Of course, rules are an essential part of running a cat cafe, but sometimes they can make you feel a little…on-edge and restricted.
The good news is that, at KitTea, there was none of that. Sure, you had to be respectful to the cats’ wishes, but you were allowed to pick them up, give them cuddles and even sprawl out on the floor to play with them. The way staff see it, you’re doing a valuable job helping to socialise the kitties and getting them used to humans – which is essential for them if they’re going to be adopted in the future. So yeah, it was 100% essential for me to scoop up little Milo (aged 4 months) at every chance I got for snuggles and a little squish. To be fair, he loved it. He kept coming back for more. Just look at him!:
The food and drink options were a little limited, but perfect for a small snack. In fairness, I don’t know of anyone who goes to a cat cafe for the food. It’s really all about the cats, right?! That being said, you’ve got to order a tea or two, if only for the incredible milk jugs! On the way out, a stop to look around all the merchandise is essential! There’s everything from postcards to kitchen equipment and jewellery. Because I couldn’t actually take a cat home with me (sobs), I treated myself to a necklace with a silhouette of a cat’s face. I adore it so much I can’t bring myself to wear it in case I break it!
- KitTea is located at 96 Gough St
- It’s open every day except Tuesdays
- A one-hour session costs $20 per person
- You can also sign up for special events including cat yoga, movie nights and crafting sessions!