Amsterdam’s Cat Paradise (that also serves coffee)
It’s a café with cats situated in the centre of Amsterdam. How could you not be excited by this? The Kattencafe is set up to be a heaven for 7 lucky shelter cats who now make it their home. Now they have everything… from a whole café to themselves to countless worshippers who come daily to fall at their feet.
Cats… Enslaving the human race since time immemorial.
Everything about this place is cute. Not regular cute, either, super cute. The kind of cute that young Japanese women try to emulate in TikTok videos. It’s cute with cat ears, a tail, and a name such as ‘Mr Fluffykins’.
It’s baby’s shoe cute. But it’s OK because they also sell coffee.
The Origins of the Cat Café
So the reason we are banging on a bit about Japan is because that’s where the idea of a cat café first came from. The Japanese have created a myriad of products – but this is (by far) one of the longest trends they have ever started. With the exception of strikingly good anime and wireless internet, of course.
All cat cafes have one thing in common: they mix kitties with hot steamed milk and espresso shot – but not in the same jug. The cats stay behind the bar. If you are settled, friendly, and even a little bit comfortable looking you may well find yourself turned into a cat-seat while you sip that coffee. And that’s the beauty of cat cafes, all over the world. The Amsterdam arm is no exception.
Although the Kattencafe isn’t the ‘original’ version of this cutesy coffee haven, it is the origins of Amsterdam cat cafes. While you enjoy coffee and cake, cats roam the sitting area, ready to be stroked, admired, and generally worshipped. If they like you enough, they might even jump on you and dig their claws in. We believe this is why people say cats are “Half in Hell.”
Are the Cat Cafes in Japan the Same as the Cat Café in Amsterdam?
In essence, yes. In practise? Nobody will ask you to take your shoes off at the door and you probably won’t be sprayed with hand sanitiser… but in a post-covid-19 world? Who knows? Asides from these two key areas, there aren’t many differences. In addition, cat cafes in Japan can be found in most of the big cities – but they won’t be on ground floor level. The reason for this is that Japan is crowded. Most of the big cities don’t have enough room for people to own an animal of their own… and so cat cafes took off.
It’s quite sad really. We wonder where all the puppy cafes are…? It’s a nice way to get a good cuddle when you don’t have room to own a cat yourself. When you live in a big city in central Japan that must be a whole lot of people. In Amsterdam there is enough room for people to have their own pets… but that’s not considered an adequate reason not to have a cat café, now that they have been invented.
So yes: the cat cafes in Japan and Amsterdam are the same in many aspects, just not all. You probably won’t get served cat latte art from a cute girl with pink hair and cat ears. The cats, however, remain a constant… as does the lovely range of treats you can find there…
How Does Kattencafe Kopjes Work?
Now that we know there is a delightful cat café in the centre of town, how does it all work? Well, before a single client stepped foot into the building, the Kattencafe owners went to two city cat shelters (which they advertise consistently) and scooped up nine cats. They make them all boys just to avoid any accidents.
They get their feline friends from either Stitchting Dierenleed in the northern end of the city, or from (get ready, it’s a big one) Dierenopvangcentrum Amsterdam… which is obviously known as DOA. Customers are actively encouraged to go to these places and adopt cats for themselves. You cannot remove cats from the building and the Kattencafe excepts no responsibility for the scratching you will get if you try to do so.
No cat wants to leave what has been affectionately dubbed ‘Cat Valhalla’.
Next, the Kattencafe team built a café in a homely space, fully optimised to be a sort of cat-heaven. There are bookshelves to climb, interesting furnishings to leap between, cat towers and scratch posts all over the place. It genuinely is the place cats dream of. It is well known that these 9 cats are the luckiest in all the kingdoms.
In 2014, owner Lenny Popelier crowdfunded enough money (some 33,000) euros in order to scrape this place together. She did a marvellous job. After 6 years, the cat café is going strong. Best of all, we think, is that the place has housed cat after cat that would have otherwise lived in a shelter.
After they had the cats, and the purrfect (argh) space, they went ahead and added in the coffee maker, sprinkled a few cakes around, and added cat ears to the muffins. All of a sudden – they had a cat café in the centre of Amsterdam… now all they needed were some cat-daft customers to complete the scene.
And that’s where Lilly Likes comes in!
What’s on the Menu at the Kattencafe Kopjes?
First of all, the Kattencafe Kopjes doesn’t just sell food. You can pick up some puns scrawled on an ethically sourced T-shirt or tote bag. Everyone loves a good tote bag. The ones made for the Kattencafe are instantly recognisable all over the city and declare you a member of the secret cat club. There is no shame in being a cat lady in Amsterdam. Many would be envious of this position.
Of course, the Catuccino you get when you arrive is backed up by any manner of tasty snacks. Choose from cakes and tray bakes made fresh that day, just for you. The Katten-coffee is strong, dark, and served with a touch of latte-art – but not the whole ‘trembling kitten’ you might find in the cafes of Japan.
As well cat cakes, coffee, some lovely fruit teas, and snack food – you can also buy gift cards for the Kattencafe, which is a really nice idea. There are Kattencafe cups, as well, to help you take a slice of the experience home with you. The full range of products they sell is visible in their online shop – but nothing will ever beat the experience of being in the café, in Amsterdam, sipping on a cool cattuccino.
Do you need to Book a Place?
You absolutely must book a place before you drop in to visit. Unfortunately, fire regulations have them limited to 17 participants at one time. You can book by following this link. When you think about it, 17 people, 3 staff members, and 9 cats, is probably busy enough.
You pay a surcharge at the door before you go in. It’s the equivalent of a small ticket price and, as of 2019/2020 season, it was only 3 euros. In Japan, this surcharge is per ten minutes, so it’s actually a better deal than you get farther east.
The three euro entry fee includes your own ‘cattucino’, but you need to pay for everything else. Again, the cats are not for sale. The Kattencafe Kopjes is open from Wednesday to Sunday, from 10 am to 7 pm. The rest of the time the cats need their beauty sleep. Don’t worry, someone tends to their every whim while the building is closed to the public. They are literally the most spoiled cats in the city.
Where can I Find the Cat Café in Amsterdam?
The Kattencafe Kopjes is located in Amsterdam West, in Marco Polostraat 211. So it’s not truly in the city centre, but it is close enough that your day pass on the tram will get you there in ten minutes.
What’s our verdict on the cat café? It’s one of the truly lovely, wholesome, good places in Amsterdam that ought to be on everyone’s bucket list. It’s a great substitute for those of us that can’t afford to travel to Japan, and it opens up a little bit of Asian culture to the whole world. IT helps people, it helps cats, and it involves cake.
We think this might be what heaven looks like. You should go see it for yourself.
Lilly Likes Amsterdam!
Here at Lilly Likes, we spend most of our time daydreaming about what’s going on across the water. We keep detailed notes on some of the best sights to see in the city, for the amusement of our guests.
Take the plunge, learn about some sights, and never go for a holiday anywhere else, ever again. Check out the Tulip Fields, check in to Prix D’amis, or fill your face at the Dirty Chicken Club. It doesn’t matter. Amsterdam is so rich in things to do that there’s no need to look anywhere else for entertainment. If nothing else, do it for the giggles.