On my solo strolls through Daejeon city I have seen a few signs saying “Cat Cafe” on buildings. I didn’t think much more of it than the possibility of a really cool cat themed cafe with cat faced cuppucinos. I couldn’t have underestimated it more! When Korea says “cat cafe” they go for it paws and all.
This weekend, on a solo Seoul (the HUGE capital city of South Korea) searching mission, I saw another one of these “cat cafe” signs. I walked up the stairs and only saw bottles of empty wine stacked along the walls of a closed cafe. Behind that door I imagined feather boas, soothing jazz and artsy Korean youth exchanging poetry. I was determined to come back and explore this “Korean Chat Noir”.
The next morning, as I was overindulging in the free filter coffee at the cozy guesthouse, I excitedly told the manager about my cool discovery and asked him if people often go for drinks there. He burst out in laughter. “No, Dinie, it’s real cats!” “What do you mean real cats?” I asked, curious about where he’s going with this metaphor. “No,” he explained, “it’s real,furry cats! There is a dog one just around the corner and I’ve heard of a raccoon one as well!” “WHAT?!?!?! WHERE!?!?!”. I was sold.
So, I went on a mission and discovered one of the coolest things about Korea – animal cafes!! I was surprised and amazed by a whole new world of people chilling with their tea while animals are roaming free around them. That day I had tea with sheep and even raccoons! The sheep were whiter than Donald Trump in winter and the raccoons looked like giant rats with cat tails, but so cute!! One of the raccoons stole a lady’s lipstick. She freaked out and left the cafe. I stayed and tried to get a selfie with the raccoon.
Later that evening, when I got home and ravished the leftover free coffee and wrote in my journal until I couldn’t hear a sound in the guesthouse anymore, I strolled over to the Cat Cafe on the third floor and had sweet Chamomile tea with a furry friend. It was wonderful.