EXCLUSIVE: PETALING JAYA: As pet cafes gain popularity in Malaysia, their legitimacy has been questioned and activists are concerned about the welfare of the animals “working” in the cafes.
Cafes where customers not only can grab a cup of coffee but also interact with domesticated pets are an emerging trend in cities.
Ace Fong, 52, the owner of a dog cafe, said owners have to take their own risks in bringing pets into the cafe.
“There is no specialised licence for an animal cafe,” he said.
“However, I’m still into this field because of my passion for dogs. My previous job may have brought great profits, but it did not allow me much time to be with my dogs.
“So I thought, why not start a business where I can earn money while allowing myself and other pet owners to hang out with our pets,” said Fong, a former emcee at an event company.
Aside from the activists, the owners and staff of these cafes also regard the welfare of the animals as their top concern.
An employee of Clawset Cafe in Petaling Jaya said they would take the dogs for routine checkups to ensure that they are in good health.
“We will not leave the dogs unguarded even after business hours.
“We take turns to stay overnight with them in the cafe,” said the employee, who asked to be known as Bee.
She added that the outlet has its own pet saloon to groom the dogs and maintain their hygiene.
An employee, 30, who works at Cubs and Cups cafe, said the cleanliness of the surroundings is equally important.
“We sanitise everything in the cafe twice a day, before and after operating hours,” he said.
A regular customer lauded the environment and services of the cafe.
“There is an air purifier installed for the comfort of the customers. It filters out unpleasant odours,” said the 62-year-old retired businesswoman, who noted that the cafe also provided water dispensers so the dogs can stay hydrated.
Eliza Lee, the owner of a Husky who was visiting the cafe for the first time, said she was satisfied with the ambience.
Those interviewed agreed that the animals’ long-term welfare depends on the effort put in by the pet owners.