There were many unexpected benefits to studying abroad in Prague this past semester, from the cheapness of the beer to the doner kebab stands on every corner. But by far my happiest discovery was Kockafe Freya, the cat cafe near the center of town. As a cat lover who missed her own cat back in New York, the idea of a place that actually encouraged its guests to snuggle kittens for an hour for no cost, save for the price of a cup of coffee, sounded like absolute perfection. So, naturally, my friends and I went one afternoon to check it out — and oh my god, am I glad we did.
Because Kockafe Freya, part of a Prague animal shelter, was everything I could've hoped. Kittens were everywhere, snuggles were had, delicious hot chocolate was consumed; I may not have even known cat cafes existed until a few months prior, but from my one hour at Kockafe Freya, I became an immediate devotee. For those who haven't yet had such a wondrous experience, here's what it's going to be like — below, the 19 stages of going
to a cat cafe for the very first time:
1. Total Surprise
A cat cafe, you say? In my city? You're seriously saying that there is a place filled with kittens and chocolate only a few miles away, and I knew nothing about it?
Well, whatever it is, it can't be that good, because if it was, I would've heard about it/my cat lover senses would have tingled, obviously.
3. Reluctant Anticipation
OK, so it is real, and we've booked a reservation. But I'm not going to get my hopes up, because what if there's like, one cat and a huge waiting line or something?
4. Major Nerves
Oh god, what if there's just one cat and a huge waiting line?? Are we going to get there and be super disappointed?
Maybe it won't be good, but that's OK. Who needs an afternoon full of kittens, anyway? I have my own cat waiting for me at home, and besides, all of this is pretty silly.
6. Freaking The F--K Out
JUST KIDDING. WE ARE HERE AND THERE IS A PAW PRINT ON THE DOOR AND I AM SO EXCITED I CAN'T BREATHE.
7. Complete Wonder
There are cats on the countertops. There are cats near the window. There are cats by the door. Nothing's too loud, the cafe doesn't smell like a litter box, and the kittens actually want to be picked up. Plus: hot chocolate. I think I am in heaven.
8. Coming Back Down to Earth
Alright, Rachel, get a grip. Yes, this is awesome, but you are also in a room full of other people and need to act like a normal human being, not a cat-crazed maniac. Sit down and sip your drink.
But how can I have a conversation when a kitten could be purring at my feet at any moment? It's simply not possible to concentrate.
10. Fear of Rejection
But wait... why aren't kittens purring at my feet? Are they bored? Mad? Should I have brought treats? Oh god, what if they stay asleep in their beds the whole hour and never even let me pet them??
11. Massive Relief
But wait — here they are. They took their time, but finally, the kittens are coming over, asking to be picked up and purring when we pet them. I am sitting at a cafe, sipping hot chocolate and holding a cat. Everything is wonderful.
12. Bliss. Just... bliss.
Why isn't every cafe like this? Clearly, adorable, fluffy animals wandering through your feet as you eat your meal and talk to your friends should be the norm, as it is the best thing to ever happen.
13. Selfie Mode
Oh my god, pictures! I forgot pictures! CAMERA TIME, STAT.
My need for selfies scared off the subject of said selfies. Cats, I am sorry. Please come back.
15. Sudden Shock
Wait, you're saying we only have 10 minutes left? How am I supposed to pet and befriend every single kitten in this cafe in that amount of time?
16. Resistance to Goodbyes
And with a final, prolonged snuggle, it's farewell, kittens. It's been real.
Already, I miss them. Is it too soon to book another hour?
It's over. Time to move on. It's for the best, isn't it? My clothes smell like cat and the hot chocolate wasn't even that good — I shouldn't be that sad that it's over. Besides, now that I'm leaving Prague, it's not like it can ever happen again. But wait...