A cup of tea with a kitty on your lap? Coffee and a cuddly pup to keep you company? Sounds like the perfect rainy day at home with your pets. Except you don’t have to be at home. Nor do you have to own an animal. If you happen to find yourself with a menu to peruse and a furry friend at your heels, you’ve probably just walked into one of Seoul’s many, many animal cafes.
It’s a trend that’s spread its way across the globe. Starting in Taiwan before moving across Asia, it’s made its way to the UK in the form of cat and dog cafes. London has seen its fair share opening over the last few years, giving customers the chance to play with pets whilst they drink and snack. But Seoul’s cafe culture has lead to a small explosion of different themed animal cafes.
From meerkats to raccoons, sheep to… capybaras? There’s really a cafe for everyone. Of course, the main appeal of these cafes are the up close and personal experiences with the animals. Where else can you get that close to a meerkat? Often, all that is required for entry is to buy something off the menu. The cafes keep to strict rules in regards to how their animals are cared for, and by extension, how visitors must behave around them. Given that, whilst the animals are trained and well behaved, they are still animals there is the possibility of a few finger nibbles. Not of the sandwich kind.
As long as those venturing insides keep these things in mind, there’s a cafe for everyone. Seoul is one step ahead for some of the most unique animal cafes. Thanks Nature Cafe in Mapo-gu is the first cafe in the world to be home to two lovely sheep. Meerkat Friends is not only home to meerkats but also an arctic fox, a raccoon and a genet. The Galapagos hosts a tortoise, sugar gliders, and bearded dragons. The combinations are almost endless. And these are the rarest amongst the ordinary, wonderful cat and dog cafes.
For an animal lover, Seoul would be the perfect place for a meet and greet cafe tour. Check out the videos below to get a small taste of this mini phenomenon; one from SweetandTastyTV of her visit to a sheep cafe in Seoul and another of Megan Bowen’s visit to a bunny cafe. Where would your first stop be on an animal cafe tour?