A breath­ing space for cat and cof­fee lovers

Where idle­ness comes to play with choco mal­lows, lava cakes, and fe­line purr


In James Her­riot’s Cat Sto­ries, fe­lines were called “con­nois­seurs of com­fort.” With the pop­u­lar­ity of the furry crea­tures not only in the home but on the world­wide web, and with cafés ded­i­cated to them pop­ping up all over the globe, Her­riot’s claim proves dif­fi­cult to re­fute.

Pop­u­lar­ized by Ja­pan in re­cent years, the first cat café opened in Taipei in 1998, be­com­ing an ex­clu­sively Tai­wan tourist at­trac­tion un­til its Asian neigh­bors adopted the trend in the 2000s. The con­cept has fi­nally reached Philip­pine shores last Fe­bru­ary with the open­ing of Miao Cat Café, the first of its kind in Manila.

The café serves as a quiet, in­ti­mate refuge amid the bus­tle of cars and com­muters along Con­gres­sional Av­enue. No large, ob­vi­ous signs mark the en­trance, mak­ing it easy to miss. But if one re­mem­bers how cafés are per­pet­u­ally linked with sweets, the land­mark be­comes eas­ier to iden­tify.

Miao Cat Café is a cozy nook, with the peace only pleas­antly dis­turbed by the flurry of cats scram­bling for treats dur­ing feed­ing time. The café houses more than 20 of sis­ters and own­ers Sam Ramos and Loida Ben­son’s beloved cats. Guests are treated to two hours of play time with the pets and a meal and bev­er­age of their choice. The as­sort­ment of cats may be more than the food se­lec­tion on the menu, but for cat lovers, to sim­ply be sur­rounded by play­ful Munchkins, placid Per­sian cats, im­ported Bri­tish short­hairs or na­tive but no less cute pus­pins ( pu­sang Pi­noy) would duly sat­isfy.

But as its name sug­gests, Miao Cat Café is still es­sen­tially a café, of­fer­ing the clas­sic mochas, lat­tés, and mac­chi­atos, along with a few new con­coc­tions like Oreo cap­puc­cino and Kisses Caramel. Whether you’re there to rest or play, Miao Cat Café, with its homey in­te­ri­ors self-styled by Ben­son, pro­vides a sweet respite. And true to what Her­riot claims, when it comes to com­fort, just leave it to the cats. Ramos shares, “It’s a dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence. It’s very homey. It’s a place for peo­ple to de-stress.” And when they see the dif­fer­ent per­son­al­i­ties of the cats, even those with fear of the fe­line crea­tures will leave as cheer­ful con­verts.

A slice of straw­berry cheese­cake is best en­joyed with a fe­line com­pan­ion (left).

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