France's first "cat cafe" opens on Saturday in Paris with an in house troupe of nine rescue cats ready and waiting to be made a fuss of by cat-loving customers.
Already popular in Tokyo where there are dozens, cat cafes allow customers who cannot have a pet at home to enjoy a cup of something hot with a purring cat perched on their knees.
Margaux Gandelon, the woman behind the new Cafe des Chats in Paris's trendy Marais district, says the cats were carefully selected for their social skills and stresses that hygiene and their welfare are her top priorities.
"My cats are free all day and all night," she said. Cindy Engel from Strasbourg visited the cafe ahead of its opening for a preview.
The 31-year-old welcomed the concept saying it encouraged her to interact with other people rather than electronic devices.
"The cats allow us to not always be connected to our mobiles. What's more they create social connections," she said.
"Instead of typing on our computers while drinking a coffee we talk about cats to our neighbours," she added. Not everyone, however, was convinced.
"It's a good experience but eating with cats is not my thing," said Edward Chrismars, adding that he was just there to please a friend.
"It's alright to have them sitting on the sofa, that's OK, but they can't jump on the table or eat from my plate. It's not hygienic!" he said. – AFP/Relaxnews, September 20, 2013.