Debate: Are cat cafés a good idea?

Sometimes we'd all like a cuddle from a kitten or cat, even if we don't have one ourselves. In cultures where having a pet is costly or impractical, cat cafés offer the chance to cosy up with a cat while enjoying a cup of coffee.

There are currently nearly 40 cat cafés in Japan and earlier this year Europe’s first cat café opened up in Austria.

The idea originated in Taiwan in 1998, but it's in Japan where the concept is really popular. Now more customers than ever are paying a fee to spend some time with the resident café cats.

This may sound like a lovely experience for visitors who enjoy a cuddle with their coffee, but what does this attention mean for the feline residents?

‘You need to consider an animal’s mental health too,’ says vet Sean Wensley.

‘It is well recognised that multi-cat households can be a cause of chronic stress in cats and a cat café is an enforced cat colony,’ he adds.

What do you think? Would you like to see cats become part of the furniture in a café near you? Or does this all just sound a bit unnatural? Let us know by commenting below.