JOHOR BARU: The cat café trend that is all the rage in Asian countries such as South Korea and Taiwan has hit Johor Baru.
Cat lovers can pet, stroke, snap selfies and even dine with the felines at Johor’s first cat cafe.
There are more than 10 cats of various species with names like Oreo, Hazel, Simba, Nala, Snowy and E.T.
Co-owner Adrian Tan of Cats Café Johor Baru said there were other cat cafes in Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Sabah but this was definitely a first for Johor Baru.
The pets roam freely, walking on a “cat highway” installed near the ceiling within the café where diners are allowed to stay as long as they want to play with them.
He said the idea was to create a space for people to enjoy good food in the company of the cats.
Tan’s inspiration for opening such a café with his sister Erika, 28, and cousin Ivan, 30, came after he noticed that there was something missing in the array of “hip” and industrial-themed cafes mushrooming in Johor Baru.
He said he went to Bangkok to study the behind-the-scene operations of cat cafes there and learn about ways to care for the cats.
They began preparing for the café about two years ago, including adopting the felines from shelters and pet owners, nurturing and caring for them for a year before the café began operating.
“We wanted to get to know the cats and for them to be familiar with us to ensure that they are well behaved in the presence of strangers,” he said at the café located in Jalan Abdul Samad here.
Tan gave up his job as a lecturer at an arts college in Singapore to start the business.
He was initially more of a dog person but had to stay away from them due to his skin allergies, and has learned to love cats.