Pet cafe craze in Yan­gon

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Living -

IT may be rain­ing cats and dogs in Myanmar but in Yan­gon, two cof­fee shops are of­fer­ing an­i­mal lovers a chance to es­cape the mon­soon as the global pet cafe craze sweeps into the rapidly chang­ing city.

In­side Yan­gon’s Cat­puchino Cafe, dozens of fe­lines lounge around the room, some peek­ing out of bas­kets while oth­ers sit perched on fluffy stools or lie purring in the arms of ador­ing visi­tors.

On one cush­ion, a hair­less sph­ynx wear­ing a pink jumper sits re­gally sur­vey­ing the scene through half-closed eyes.

“I used to have cats at home when I was young,” said 23year-old cus­tomer Arr Pouk as he teased four mog­gies with a feather on a stick. “I love them.”

The trend, al­ready pop­u­lar in Asian cap­i­tals like Tokyo and Bangkok, is the lat­est in­ter­na­tional fad to sail into Myanmar since the end of junta rule in 2011 her­alded a new era of free­dom.

In the com­mer­cial hub Yan­gon, hip cafes and eater­ies have be­gun to mushroom across town to cater to an ex­pand­ing mid­dle class and grow­ing pop­u­la­tion of ex­pats.

But while stray cats and dogs are a fa­mil­iar sight on the city's streets, few in­hab­i­tants have the space, time or money to squeeze pets into their al­ready cramped homes.

Pearl, the founder of the cat cafe who only goes by one name, opened the new fe­line-themed cof­fee shop a few weeks ago to give visi­tors a place to de-stress from the pres­sures of their busy ur­ban lives.

In to­tal she has 27 an­i­mals of 10 dif­fer­ent breeds, in­clud­ing the short-legged Munchkin Cat, the fluffy Maine Coon and a gi­ant tabby Amer­i­can Shorthair.

“When I used to get stressed at school or work, I would play with cats for 15 or 30 min­utes and then the stress would be gone,” she said.

“Get­ting love from cats is hard, so when you get love from cats it’s worth more.”

On the other side of the city, an­other shop is tak­ing a dif­fer­ent ap­proach, with Cor­gis, blue-eyed Huskies and their gi­ant cousin, the Alaskan Mala­mute, lav­ish­ing cus­tomers with free love and licks.

The 27-year-old owner, Htet Myat Aung, said he was in­spired by a sim­i­lar cafe in Bangkok. “I opened this dog cafe for peo­ple in Yan­gon who can't raise pup­pies them­selves but who love th­ese pets,” he said. – AFP Re­laxnews

In Yan­gon, the pet cafe trend is cat-ching on. — AFP

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