When my godson Terence came home for a holiday in Manila in late June, one of the places he wanted to visit was The Cat Cafe in Maginhawa Street. I have not been to this place before and deemed it unlikely for me to visit on my own or with my family for a variety of reasons. One, my boys are allergic to cat hair; it is a trigger for their asthma attacks. Two, even as I profess a liking for Hello Kitty and related feline merchandise, I have never had a cat as a pet. Three, the only cat I have ever had a relationship with was the cat I dissected for Zoology class in pre-Med. Not exactly confidence-inspiring, right?
Nonetheless, buoyed by my godson’s enthusiasm and enabled by R, his other godmother, I soon found myself in front of this small cafe in the second floor of an unnamed commercial building in Maginhawa Street, Sikatuna Village, Quezon City. I met up with Terence, R, our old friend L and her daughter Isabel at the venue shortly before the appointed time.
There was a short queue as we approached the narrow corridor leading to the cafe. While walk-ins are accepted based on availability of seats, the cafe prefers reservations which can be made at their website, CatCafeManila.com. The place is open from 12 noon to ten in the evening all week and can accommodate as many as 24 people at one time. A door charge of P200 per person allows the visitor an hour’s worth of Cat Cafe time, but half of the charge is consumable. For a small, unassuming cafe, they have remarkably good choices in their menu. Moreover, food and drinks are reasonably priced for the quality and value of their servings.
After disinfecting hands, changing from shoes to slippers, and reading the house rules, we were shown in the place and our tickets stamped and dated. I lingered about the small display of cute cat merchandise by the counter and pastry display. Then, we sat on a thin, padded purple blanket around small wooden tables on the floor, although a couple of bar stools were available by the window.
The cats were amazingly friendly and wandered about the place freely. Cat Cafe Manila is a cat paradise for rescued PusPins (Pusang Pinoy), with swings, hammocks, and scratch posts for these cats to play with. If you wondered about any fishy(!) cat smell, I was just as surprised to find that there was none. The place was spic-and-span and smelled even cleaner.
We took the time to catch up on each other’s lives. While the younger folks played with the cats, the older ladies sipped our orders of coffees. I had not had lunch then, but in the nonstop chatter, I forgot to get something heavier on the stomach than a cold coffee. (I had an iced blended frappe called Nutty Meowcadamia, PhP140, and it was delicious!)
What was most surprising about my time at Cat Cafe was my unexpected one-on-one experience with an extraordinary cat. Soon after we came in, a large white cat sat with us. The other cats were frisky, hyperactive, and bounded from one corner to another, but this one stayed with us, me in particular, the entire time. And what do you know! It turned out the elegant feline who ambled languidly towards me was named Mama Cat!
As I said in the early part of my post, I’ve never had much to do with cats before. I’d never have guessed I’d go gaga over a cat other than Hello Kitty. This one stole my heart, no doubt about it. I patted and petted her to my heart’s desire, the feel of her silky fur comforting to me. I scratched her forehead lightly as she dozed off to the sound of our voices.
Before we knew it, our hour was over. I did a thorough sweep of my clothes with a lint/hair remover the cafe had at the foyer. (Mama Cat was a shedder, and I was covered with white cat hair.) I took one last look at Mama Cat and waved to her goodbye. I promised to visit her again, sooner rather than later.
If you are in the area, please drop by and spend an hour with these precious cats. Not only does your money help take care of the needs of these rescued cats, they also really enjoy human company. I got to admit that what they say is true: time spent with cats is never wasted. This Kittymama vouches for it! Meow!