Cup of coffee - want a cat with that?

London - It’s a cafe with a difference. Your imperious hosts don’t lift a finger, but wander around as if they own the place. And the odd hair in your coffee is to be expected.

For Europe’s first ‘cat cafe’ opened in Austria in May. Customers sip their tea and lattes while resident moggies Sonja, Thomas, Moritz, Luca and Momo settle on their laps or purr underneath their chairs.

Customers watch cat 'Moritz' sitting on a chair in Vienna's first cat cafe. Credit: REUTERS

Takako Ishimitsu, the cafe’s 47-year-old owner is originally from Japan where such cafes are not uncommon.

There, pets are often forbidden in apartments, so people seek out designated pet cafes for animal companionship instead. For the price of a cappuccino, they can watch the cats and play with them to their hearts’ content.

There are at least 39 of these cafes in Tokyo alone, some specialising in particular types of cat, such as black cats or fat ones.

Takako says that she wanted to bring this unusual aspect of Japanese culture to Europe to provide comfort to people who longed for a pet cat, but couldn’t keep one for reasons of space or economy. Each of her cats was rescued from a local animal shelter.

Takako spent three years negotiating with city officials over hygiene issues before being granted permission to open Cafe Neko (neko means cat in Japanese.)

But it’s not only hygiene obsessives who will be unhappy with the cat cafe’s arrival in Vienna - signs on the windows make clear it has a strict ‘no dogs’ policy. - Daily Mail