[Read my earlier post about Neko no Niwa’s address, pricing, etc HERE] This post is a continuation of the earlier one, with more pictures of Singapore’s FIRST cat cafe, and a mini-interview with the Co-Founder of Neko no Niwa, Ms Tan Sue Lynn a.k.a Ms Smitten with Cats. In my next post, you’ll find out how to make cats instantly like you and play with you – I had to learn from my cat lover friend! 😀
First up, PEEK-TURES! 😀
“Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.”
― Robert A. Heinlein
“The only escape from the miseries of life are music and cats…”
― Albert Schweitzer
“If animals could speak, the dog would be a blundering outspoken fellow; but the cat would have the rare grace of never saying a word too much.”
― Mark Twain
* I’m quite sure the cat is winking at me – Grace Tan *
“What greater gift than the love of a cat.”
― Charles Dickens
When this cat looks at me like that, I feel like I either have to make a confession, or run:
The cutest Prosperity Cat I’ve ever seen:
~ Mini-Interview With Sue (the cat cafe Founder) ~
Qn: Are you running this cat cafe full-time?
“Yes, I love cat cafes. I quit my full-time job to start this cat cafe”
Qn: This cafe must be very popular with cat lovers. Do tourists visit too?
“There are two camps of people – one group wants to engage the cats, while the other group is content to just watch the cats sleep and be in the company of cat energy. Singaporeans, in general, want to get their money’s worth and want to engage the cats, take photos, etc. Foreigners intending to visit Singapore usually contact us online and try to work a cat cafe visit into their schedule.”
Qn: Can people buy treats for the cats here?
“We discourage that because it motivates the cats wrongly. What happens when another customer turns up empty-handed? Also, many people come through our doors each day. If 100 people turn up with 100 different treats, it messes up the cats’ diet.”
Qn: Is there a restriction on the number of people playing with the cats at any one time?
“Yes. There’s a cap of 25 people.”
Qn: The idea of cat cafes isn’t new. Why did it take so long for one to finally be set up in Singapore?
“Yes, the first cat cafe was set up in 1998 in Taiwan. There are strict regulations here. I am governed by these three: NEA, AVA and URA. It took a year of convincing the authorities before I could set up this cafe.”
Qn: A year is a long time. Most people would have gotten frustrated and given up. Why did you persist?
“I felt it wasn’t logical that first world countries have cat cafes, but Singapore doesn’t. Cats are so clean. They do their business in designated places, unlike (some) dogs. There should be a cat cafe in Singapore!”
Qn: How many cats do you own?
“There are 13 in this cafe. And I have 3 more at home.”
Qn: Is it possible for Singapore to have a second cat cafe?
“Yes, but not set up by me. I am already responsible for the lives of 16 cats. I can’t possibly be responsible for 50, even if I hire more workers, it’ll still be my responsibility.”
Qn: The cats here are rescues?
“Yes, some were abandoned in places like canals and drains. Some were given away when their owners decided to leave Singapore. We take these cats in, and show that when given a second chance, these cats can blossom.”
Qn: So that is why some of the cats look rather small and thin?
“Some of these cats are way past their developmental years so they can’t grow any bigger. It’s like children who didn’t receive proper nutrition when they are growing up. Some of the cats were taken care of so they are much bigger.”
Qn: Were you surprised by the response? This cat cafe is fully booked almost every single day!
“I was very surprised by the overwhelming demand. There’s just so much pent-up demand right now. We started our Facebook page in mid-November and now we have close to 10K followers already. It remains to be seen whether it’s just hype – ask me again in 6 months’ time.”
Sue also told me that unlike F&B businesses, this cat cafe has no lack of people wanting to work here (She employs only part-timers). When my sister announced that she would be happy to PAY the cat cafe to let her work there, I began to understand why Sue will probably never have a lack-of-staff issue.
Once again, I think the cat cafe has a reasonable cover charge of S$12 for the first hour. There’s 24-hour air-conditioning, staff costs, utilities, and bills to pay when it comes to taking care of THIRTEEN cats. There’s also an air purifier in the cafe, so asthma sufferers can still enjoy cat company in Neko no Niwa, where the cats are kept clean as well.
The Purrfect Place To Unwind: Cat Cafe Neko no Niwa
54A Boat Quay
*Tip: The Best Time To Visit If You Want Pictures With The Cats*
As cats are nocturnal, they will usually be asleep in the afternoon, and cat cafe rules are such that you must not wake a sleeping cat. So pop by early, at 11am or 11.30am, when the cats are still awake.
You can head there in the afternoon as well – the cats will be awake intermittently to play with you.
*Stay tuned for my next post on how to make cats instantly like you and want to play with you. 😀