Cat Cafe Bliss

I’d heard before of the Cat Cafe idea being popular in Tokyo, Japan. Space restraints of apartments  and anti-pet leases kept people from enjoying kitties. Also Japan loves cute things. Hence the idea of paying money to sit in a cafe loaded with cute fuzzy beasts.

I was surprised when a google search turned up a few different cat cafes in Shanghai.

I set out on a mission to the nearest one from my house.

Fortunately it’s located at #1 Taiyuan Lu , right in the heart of the former French Concession, and a short bike ride from my house.

Pulling up on bikes there is no immediate indication that there is a cafe here. Only upon a little closer inspection does one see the a small little buzzer, with a small piece of paper with little cat pictures and some Japanese words  surrounding it, around the buzzer.

It’s a like a secret little club for cat lovers. Or the lair of a crazy old cat woman.

“Can I come in and stroke your kitty?”

Ring the buzzer and then a minute later a Japanese lady opens the door , peaks out, says “Konichiwa!” , and hands you some slippers to wear. Whoa.

She leads you through a residential hallway  up a flight of stairs and voila there you are, in her house turned cat cafe paradise! It’s a low lit large living room with cushions on the floor , small tables resting on the floor , cat towers, a shelf of cat paraphernalia , loads of cat toys , three kittens , and three big fat lazy cats.

A menu is handed over and then sticker shock kicks in. The cheapest drink of the lot is 58 or 68 rmb ( a little under $10USD to a little over $10) , and that’s for the simplest coffee , the tea my girlfriend choose hit the wallet for 100 rmb ( like $15!). Although we did get two deliciously dense and moist brownies and a plate of cookies for free.  Imported Tokyo cat cafe concept at Tokyo imported prices. Yikes! But you know what? It’s totally worth it. The place isn’t really about the drinks and although they have wi-fi it’s not a good place to get work done , it’s all about kitties! Get a 58-68 rmb coffee and play with the cats for an hour and a half. Or should I say , play with the kittens and watch the fat lazy cats power nap for the entire time.

The owner is super nice and definitely not a lonely, crazy , old cat lady.  For about half the time we shared the room with a family and two other ladies who were all relaxing and laughing at the kittens antics.

I have my membership card now ( every 50rmb spent earns a sticker towards 20 stickers and then a gift is given) and when I feel like entering this secret cat haven tucked away, I will be back.

Cat Cafe Bliss – #1 Taiyuan Rd. 

The New Place

Dun-dun-dun-duh! Introducing the new place! I have moved from the “outskirts” of the border of Putuo/Jingan Districts right into Huangpu district and the heart of the former French Concession.

The move took me from the 28th (of28) floor (I will miss the sick view) of a new high-rise apartment building into the 5th (of6) floor of an old 70s style building with no elevator. The hallways are a sort of storage space for old junk from the apartments and the neighbors are always up to something.

The day we moved in I was greeted with a great big “HELLO!” from the elderly man one story below who was sitting outside his door fashioning some sort of hook with a hammer and pieces of metal. I responded with a “Ni hao” and this sent him into a sort of hysteria calling back to his wife in Shanghainese ( I can understand some) “Hey hey the foreigner can speak Chinese!!” This guy’s apartment has a self built wooden plank complete with an eye-test posted on it that he uses to slide over the main door when they retire for the evening.

Every time I make the climb up the stairs I can hear the sounds of a community. The sizzle of a wok comes out from the kitchen window and the smells of all sorts of food entice me. The third floor window often emits the noises of a Shanghainese family playing Mahjong. The tiles were clattering around for 3 houses yesterday. The morning often features the older residents out the hallways washing the days vegetables and every morning as I come out into my kitchen the lonely sound of a violin wafts through the air.

Now onto the layout. The community is accessed through brick alleyway that connects to the main tree-lined street. On the outside we have a little guard booth which lies next to a roofed bike parking area. The keycode for the building gate is punched in to gain access to the stairs of the building. My apartment opens into the kitchen. Turning to right has the door to the small windowless living room. To the right in the living is our bathroom and straight ahead is the bedroom. The bathroom is also quite small and the shower window opens out into the hallway. Due to this feature I tend to shower first , get dressed, and then air out the room. The bedroom is decently sized and has curtains which can be closed to isolate the bed from the windowed area that juts out facing the street. We have a little metal rack to hang clothes outside the window and a little rack to grow plants.

The furnishings are all pretty cheap and the apartment is  smaller than the last one but it’s my own (well as much my own as renting a place can get) and the location is hard to beat. Definitely the best feature.

The trendy art/shop/cafe/bar old style Shanghai shikumen-architecture is a two-minute bike ride from the place , the newly developed garden community/cafe area of JiaShan Market is a two-minute walk away ( I love Melange Oasis coffee shop!) , the bustling restaurant/bar street of YongkangLu is only a five-minute bike ride away. This street also has Shanghai’s first boutique beer store. I can grab some Rogue Dead Guy Ales, BeerLaos, and 30 others for pretty good prices. Bye Bye Tsingtao! Hengshan Lu bar street is only about 10 minutes bike ride away and my two favorite microbreweries (Shanghai Brewery and Boxing Cat Brewery) are also easy bike rides .Another great thing is that I can ride my bicycle everyday to work. No more I hate the world moments being pushed around into a packed to overcapacity metro rides. WOOHOOOO. Leaving my new house at the same time as the old house I now get to work half an hour early. Only about 20 minutes on bike! Being in the center of coolness does have a downside. Anybody got any spare change? 🙂