I was lying in bed last Monday night, Google-ing cafés’ in the area. Some seemed trendy, some were very popular amongst locals, and some had a lot of history attached. But there was one café in my search that stood out to me. Now, before I go on, I need to mention that I was never a “cat person” unlike my best friend Carly who will, in about 40 years, be a crazy cat lady. It was only recently that I discovered my love for these feline friends (thank you Carly and my cat nephew Paulie) and my heart definitely melts when an adorable cat cuddles up next to me. So naturally, the café that caught my attention was, in fact, a café that allows you to drink coffee alongside lovable kitties.
Cat cafés’ have become increasingly popular around the world after seeing the growing trend in Asia. I have to admit, I had no idea cat cafés’ existed outside of Asia. Slightly ignorant I guess but a little bit of research and some Pinterest quickly fixed that. Europe, especially, has adopted this concept with many cities offering a space to enjoy coffee and kittens simultaneously.
There are two cat cafés in Turin, both are in the center of the city not far from the incredible monuments, piazzas, and palaces many tourists come to see. I decided to check out the one closest to my current location; Neko Café. I visited the café two days in a row; the first day I went to check out the space and the second day I went to really engage myself with the cats (for the ‘gram, duh). The second time I visited, I was the only person at the bar in the lower level of café–Neko has two floors, the top floor being the restaurant, serving lunch and dinner as well. I ordered a cappuccino and a Nutella stuffed croissant, took a seat at the table, and almost immediately, Tommy the cat jumped up onto my lap. I was trying so hard to capture this moment on my iphone thinking he’d hop off in a matter of seconds, but soon realized I’d have nothing to worry about; he remained cuddled up, asleep on my lap the entire time I sat. According to Neko’s website, Tommy is ‘one of the most cuddly cats in the world’ and demands that he is pet by anyone who passes his vicinity… This couldn’t be a more valid statement. My heart melted as crumbs from my buttery, fluffy croissant fell onto his fur. More and more people passed by the large window at which I sat, taking pictures of this precious scene. Many of those people, when they entered the café, asked me if this was my cat. It made me feel at home, too.
Just as I thought things couldn’t get more adorable, Felix, Neko’s black and white cat, made eye contact with me and my empty cappuccino and decided to make moves. He hopped right onto my table and began to lick the foam from my spoon and cup while I finished my croissant.
When I was sharing my Neko experience with Carly, she had one question to ask: “Did you feel better sitting with cats than sitting alone? Because I would”.
In every way, yes. As a solo traveler, the company here is incomparable; I get to enjoy my coffee, tea, or pastry while coexisting in this cat environment. The café is basically a cat sanctuary—the cats that reside here were rescued and are free to roam around the premises while feeling love from the customers, perhaps a love they have never had before…This is what makes these cafés’ so special.
Whether you are traveling alone or with a group, and whether you’re crazy cat lady or just a cat aunt, I would recommend spending time at a cat café in the city in which you are traveling. If you are in Turin however, I would absolutely recommend Neko Café. You are sure to leave here with your heart full of love and your belly full of really delicious coffee.
Neko Café is located at Via Giambattista Bogino, 5/D, 10123 Torino; off of Via Po.
Kitchen open for lunch and dinner from Tuesday to Saturday (Monday lunch only).