Cafe full of cats opens in Vienna
Austria's first cat cafe, where customers can have drinks while playing with cats, opens in Vienna.
The Cafe Neko ("Neko" meaning "cat" in Japanese) opened earlier this month in Vienna city centre.
Customers can stroke and interact with the cafe's five feline hosts, named Sonja, Thomas, Moritz, Luca and Momo, who all came from an animal shelter and now freely roam about the cafe and take naps.
The cafe was opened by Vienna resident Takako Ishimitsu, a 47-year-old woman originally from Nagoya, Japan, who moved to Vienna some 20 years ago. She had to spend three years negotiating with city officials over hygiene issues for the cafe to be allowed to open.
Ishimitsu said she decided to open a cat cafe in order to introduce some aspects of Japanese culture to Vienna.
"Showing unknown Japanese concepts is good for Austria. I had various ideas, and the cat cafe project was the least difficult to realize. And at the same time, I can do something good for the Vienna animal shelter which I have been supporting for years," cafe owner Takako Ishimitsu said.
She added that the 50-seat cafe was an instant hit with locals and tourists alike.
"Surprisingly, more than 99 per cent the reactions are positive. One of our goals is to provide some happiness to people who cannot have cats on their own, because of their jobs or family members suffering from allergies," Ishimitsu said.