Bangkok cat cafe a purr-fect antidote

Bangkok cat cafe a purr-fect antidote

Ratchathewi attraction reopens after lockdown but customers still scarce

A customer plays with the cats at the Caturday Cat cafe in Ratchathewi district of Bangkok on Thursday. (Reuters Photo)
A customer plays with the cats at the Caturday Cat cafe in Ratchathewi district of Bangkok on Thursday. (Reuters Photo)

As Bangkok cautiously reopens restaurants shuttered over coronavirus fears, the feline “employees” of the Caturday Cafe are back at work.

The few dozen friendly cats typically lounge around the Ratchathewi cafe, breaking up naptime to saunter over to human customers for snuggles and belly rubs.

The friendly furballs give some much-needed outside contact for people who have mostly been confined to home during weeks of semi-lockdown with most non-essential businesses closed.

“Earlier, we could not go out anywhere which makes us a bit stressed out. But since we can come to meet the cats, we feel more at ease and relaxed,” said regular customer Pantip Keeseeree, who said she came as soon as she heard the cafe had reopened.

Like other businesses across the country, Caturday has new rules aimed at curbing the spread of the virus. Before entering, customers must have their temperature checked and wash their hands, and once inside must wear a mask at all times.

“Actually, the number of customers is nothing like it used to be. We have seen over a 50% decrease for both Thai and foreign customers,” said owner Arisa Limpanawongsanon.

Arisa has a total of 50 cats, of several different breeds, and around 35 of them rotate between her home and the cafe, which is located off Phaya Thai Road within walking distance of the Ratchathewi BTS station.

As an extra precaution, the cats have dry baths, and their fur is brushed and eyes cleaned every day.

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