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Cats put the cream into Viennese cafe

Monday, May 14, 2012 - 01:20

May 14 - Austria's first cat cafe, where customers can have drinks while playing with cats, opens in Vienna. Tara Cleary reports.

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It's a common sign, but at this establishment, it's vital. Café Neko in Vienna is for cat lovers - where customers can pamper the resident felines while enjoying a drink. "Neko" is Japanese for "cat". Owner Takako Ishimitsu says she hopes people who can't have cats at home can enjoy them here. And in Japan, they're believed to bring good fortune. SOUNDBITE: CAFE OWNER, TAKAKO ISHIMITSU, SAYING (German): "Showing unknown Japanese concepts is good for Austria. I had various ideas, and the cat cafe project was the least difficult to realise. And at the same time, I can do something good for the Vienna animal shelter which I've been supporting for years." But visitors have mixed reactions to the cat café concept. SOUNDBITE: Louisa Matthis, Austrian tourist, saying (German): "It's a lot of hype. People here seem to behave like they have never seen a cat before, and this creates an interesting atmosphere." (SOUNDBITE: Eight-year-old Iman, saying (German): "My mum is allergic and we can't have cats." The cats are all saved from animal shelters, giving them a new lease on their nine lives. Tara Cleary, Reuters.

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Cats put the cream into Viennese cafe

Monday, May 14, 2012 - 01:20