Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by mumunmumun on 19 March 2015 • Destination
Based on basic pet likings, the world is divided into 3 categories. You’re either a cat person or a dog person, they say, or you hate pets entirely. Vira and I happen to stand on the same side, we’re cat people. We both had cats as pets when we grew up. Now, we have the same anxiety of not able to have pet cats, being tenants at apartments that forbid pets. Our traveling lifestyle also mean we don’t have the heart to leave a kitty so often at home, unattended. But there is a cure! There are now cat cafes in Jakarta, which means we can pay for our feline fix. Boy, did we get high on happiness when we visited the cafes!
“But you can just eat at a street hawker joint and touch the stray cat that’s begging for food at your feet,” a friend argued one day, when I told them about this brilliant concept.
“But these are clean, healthy cats, ones you’d probably have for pets. And there’s no responsibility afterwards,” I argued. My friend just nodded in agreement although she didn’t look like she was on board with the idea. She didn’t like cats to begin with. Oh well.
Cat cafés originally started in Taiwan, but eventually became very popular when adopted by the Japanese. Trust Japan to make the cute and cuddly into a world phenomenon. Now, there are cat cafes all over the world, Indonesia included. We did happen to find the Balikpapan cat sanctuary, which was ‘same-same but different’ but cat cafes are purely for commercial practices.
Vira and I both visited the two cat cafes in Jakarta that opened not too far apart. Both are located in Kemang within walking distance and had similar concepts; cats aren’t dolls and are still entitled to their own life. Although it’s a make-believe session that the cats are mine because I could play with them, they can’t be picked up nor woken if asleep. Their diets are strictly watched and we’re forbidden to feed them. We’re also not allowed put odd objects on them just for the fun of it. Ugh! Torture! I want to put socks on their heads!
It was then and there I reminded myself that I really loved cats. I found myself shedding a tear out of laughter after taking a picture of a sleeping Scottish Fold kitten. That sounds absurd, and it is, but it’s my reaction to these cute furballs. I would think my love for cats would rub off after so many years not having one, but turns out likings don’t have an expiry date. That’s just me with cats. Maybe any pet loving person would have similar absurd reactions towards their favorite animal.
Visitors are charged per hour to play within the playpen. I don’t understand how the venue can control the clocking system, especially during a full house, but seems like the system works just fine. Despite the cat cafés feel pricey for a pat on the cat’s head, but for cat lovers with such restrictions in their life, it becomes a small price to pay for such warm happiness. Vira says, the cat cafes in Singapore can cost 2-3 times more than the ones we have here.
Tips: reserve before visiting the place. Each café has a limited capacity.
I have to admit their interior was very nice. Mega, another friend I dragged with us, had eyed for a specific corner that had often been used for Instagram pictures. Cat Cabin was ready to make people comfortable just in case their cats weren’t comfortable with them. They had several sitting areas that are great for relaxing conversation, surrounded with cat-themed decorations. I admire their collection. Everything cat! The centerpiece of the room has to be the cat jungle gym; although it had a few sleeping pods thus can’t really be called a gym.
There are 10 cats at the Cat Cabin. A few were like dusters, fluffy as hell, and a few were the ordinary cats with a lot of energy for games. The Persians were adorable with light blue eyes behind their smoky eyes and calmer, hence kissable. There usually aren’t 10 cats at once within the room, as some would be in the litter area. Some of the cats belonged to the café owner, but some were adopted. It’s a funny little scenario but I’m happier that there are more cats with permanent homes and friends.
Tips: They don’t seem to be around? Try looking under the tables and sofa, especially the short table at the back of the room.
Another trait of the Cat Cabin was their sweet sweets, which dominated their menu. The presentations were well thought being adorable including their cups and coasters. I can say their food or beverage wasn’t special, but I didn’t try their cakes in a jar, which seems to be their main selling item.
Cat Cabin Café
IDR 50,000/person/per hour. IDR 35,000 for the next hour, excluding food or beverage.
Jl. Kemang Raya No.31, Mampang Praptan
Jakarta 12720, Indonesia
Cutie Cats had a smaller playpen, yet intimate. Sofas were backed to the walls leaving a spacious center room. There was a TV that was playing a documentary about cats. The walls were filled with shelves for cats to jump around. My favorite place had to be the overhead walkway, just for the cats to walk around, far from the humans.
This place had more cats with various breeds. It was here where I had my first encounter with a Scottish Fold. These short-eared cats are as adorable as I’ve seen them online. The one at Cutie Cats Café happened to be a kitten, double dosing the cuteness. I want one! There was also a half-breed Bengal cat, with such exotic fur pattern and facial features.
The foods at Cutie Cats Café were just desserts and a few standard coffees. I don’t recall any special taste for the cake Vira bought and the cat-themed cookies were sold out. So, I didn’t munch on anything during my stay, just paid my dues to play with the kitties.
Cutie Cats Café
The House of Pika Pika, Upper Level
Jl. Kemang 1 No. 12F, Jakarta Selatan 12150
Phone/Fax: +62 21 71793263
My last note would have to be that my visit to these cat cafés had me observing other things aside to the cats alone. The people that visited the cat café were mostly female, with serious effort to contain their love for the cute cats. There were so many ‘Aww’s and contained screams, while the cats hardly let out a meow. Some couldn’t help patting the sleeping cats, causing it to wake up. I assumed some had potential to be that creepy cat lady that lives next door. Or today’s Elmira. Aminals!
I don’t know what if feels like to be one of these cats.
“They were whoring the cats out,” said a colleague. I can’t help to slightly agree. In my defense, I’d still visit because these breeds are those used to pampering. Ha!
I’d definitely come back on a weekday, when my day is down, and I’d know where to find Vira when she replies my messages in a ‘meow’. Indohoy girls are definitely cat people and we’re puurrrty sure we’d stay that way for some time. And naturally, Vira would demand we stay this way furever!
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