At a Rio cafe, cats and coffee combine for a cause

Coffee and tea are served with whiskers and a purr at the Gato Café in downtown Rio de Janeiro.

Customers may have lattes powdered with cat outlines and served with paw-shaped cookies in the pink-walled decor, while cats sunbathe in an adjacent room.

Cat cafés originally gained popularity in Asia, with the first one opening in Taiwan in 1998. Gato Café, which opened in July and offers feline entertainment, also serves as an adoption centre for abandoned cats rescued by the Bigodes do Bunker charity (Bunker Whiskers).

According to the Brazilian Pet Institute, there were approximately 78 million pet cats and dogs in Brazil in 2019. During the coronavirus epidemic, many animals were abandoned or left to fend for themselves as owners died and families were thrown into turmoil.

“In Brazil, there are over 10 million cats without a home, and I believe that the pandemic’s financial troubles have regrettably exacerbated this number,” said Giovanna Molinaro, who was inspired to open the café following a trip to Japan in 2018.

“There are other cat cafés throughout the world,” she continued, “but here we are focusing on adoption and the well-being of our cats.” find out more

As she caressed a tabby with white spots, Clarissa Haiut said, “I’m having the time of my life.”

“With all of these kitties, I’m in heaven. They have my heart! It’s as though I’m living in a kitten-filled dream.”

Read more •

Suggested Reading