In the lead up to our Six-Asian-Cities-In-Six-Weeks whirlwind cat cafe tour, I was especially looking forward to Singapore.
Known for its glittering skyline, steamy climate and melting pot of citizenry, this wealthy city/country offers so much to see and do that I was worried that Singapore’s cat cafes would have difficulty measuring up.
Luckily, my worries were mis-placed as Singapore’s cat cafes are not just top notch- they are staffed by caring rescue-focused cat lovers. Yes, while most of Asia’s cat cafes have pedigreed cats in residence, most of the felines in Singapore’s cat cafes have been rescued off the streets.
The Neighbor’s Cat visited three Singapore cat cafes in April, 2018.
Neko no Niwa was our first stop. After a (very scenic & enjoyable) six hour bus ride from Kuala Lumpur, we dropped off our packs and hopped on the metro (purple line) for the Clarke Quay stop. From there, it was a short walk to Neko no Niwa.
Singapore’s first cat cafe is located on popular pedestrian street Boat Quay with gorgeous views of the Singapore riverfront- even if you weren’t into cats, this is definitely an area you want to visit. Filled with lively bars and restaurants, it attracts everyone from locals to expats to tourists.
We entered the cat cafe around 7 pm and were promptly greeted by the friendly staff, who were absolute stars for our entire visit- not just hospitable, but engaging and kind. At Neko no Niwa, it’s not just the cats that light up the room.
Speaking of cats, I was delighted to learn that all 13 residents are rescues. Several were social and curious, but others were a bit more introverted. The staff were quick to point out which cats were ready to play and which needed some space, a testament to how well they know their charges and strive to put their needs first.
It wasn’t very crowded the night we visited, so were really able to relax and enjoy the cats and our coffee drinks with the twinkling Singapore night sky as our backdrop. The lounge atmosphere is pleasant- spare and uncluttered with lots of light wood and the occasional pops of color in the murals and fruit pillows. Everything was exceptionally clean and fresh.
The entrance fee of S$12 (US$8.80) is a bargain considering the real estate and overall experience.
Don’t miss it!
Adopt, Don’t Shop!
This has become my battle cry over the past year as I’ve seen first hand how cat cafes that feature rescues serve an important role by partnering with shelters and socializing cats while they find their forever homes.
While this has become the standard in North America, it’s not typical in other parts of the world, which is why I salute places like The Cat Cafe in Singapore.
Open since 2014, this spacious cafe features 15 cats, all rescues. The owner had his own rescue cat Butter, now 8 years old and then adopted a menagerie of cute kitties to reside in his cat cafe, including Cookie, the alpha male, Pudding, a Calico with a bobbed tail, Tuxedo, aptly named for his long black and white long fur and Elly, a sleek and gorgeous tabby.
The location, next to the Bugis metro, is in such a busy shopping area, I almost missed it. Look up to help identify the upstairs location. Once inside, I was impressed by the fresh, light and airy atmosphere, as well as the cleanliness. Soft piano music added to the calming ambience.
I ordered a coffee drink, included with the S$15 ($11 USD) admission and headed for a low table with floor seating. It didn’t take long before FSI (Feline Scene Investigation) began in earnest with Elly and Tuxedo curiously sniffing me while Pudding engaged in a bit of play time.
The staff were friendly and answered all of my questions about the cafe and the cats. In addition to their stories, I enjoyed the wall portraits with kitty bios outlining their special personalities. These fabulous felines are a testament to the power of rescue and adoption.
Between visiting with the staff, playing with the cats and sipping my delicious coffee, the time went by very quickly. Overall, The Cat Cafe is a top-notch experience and one I highly recommend when in Singapore.
I’m outgoing and consider myself pretty easy to talk to, but there are times when even this extrovert feels a little shy.
Traveling around the world visiting cat cafes, I’ve become accustomed to pushing through uncomfortable language and cultural barriers. However, when I’m at a cafe with gregarious story tellers, it really takes the pressure off me to steer the conversation and I genuinely appreciate it.
Such was the case at Meomi Cat Cafe.
The staff are sweet and friendly, but the owner has the kind of personality that was tailor made for running a cat cafe- affable, engaging and with a passion for all things feline related.
I took the Downtown (Blue) MRT line to Bugis station, which is a few short blocks away from the cafe. When I arrived, the cafe was fairly busy, a bit surprising for a weekday afternoon. I paid my S$13 fee (includes a drink) in the cafe/lobby area while the host gave me the lowdown on the cafe.
Open since 2014, there are seven cats in residence, a variety of pedigreed kitties ranging from a ragamuffin (Frowny), an American Curl (Curley), a Maine Coon (Coo) and my favorite, a Munchkin named Mario.
Inside the cat lounge area, I surveyed the scene. The space is small, yet cozy with low seating for maximum cat interaction, however the day I visited was on the lively side which sent the cats to mounted perches high above the patrons. Over the next 30 minutes, as guests began to leave, the cats slowly descended until they were curiously sniffing me while I snapped photos.
The owner came out from back and began introducing the various cats. His good-natured story telling ranged from felines to the latest gossip in Singapore which kept me entertained until my hour was up.
With such friendly folks and beautiful cats, a visit to Meomi is a fun way to get your kitty fix and a memorable personal experience in Singapore.
The Neighbor’s Cat is the alter ego of Paula LaBine, an itinerant cat lover who writes about cat cafes, cat travel and rescue/adoption/TNR. She is visiting every cat café in the world, 199 in 29 countries so far! Find her at theneighborscat.com or on Facebook/Twitter @catcafeviews.