Restaurant: TOT the Cat Cafe
Location: 298 College Street, Toronto, ON M5T 1R9
Price Range: $
A lot of people who live in metropolitan areas tend to live in small apartments that does not allow animals or are just too busy to have a pet, and that’s where the concept of cat cafe came around! A cat cafe is a public space where people can come and spend some time with cute cats, petting them, playing with them or feeding them. Those kind of shops originated from Asia and they are more popular over there, but not so much in North America as the health regulations are more strict here. There were several attempts to open a cat cafe in Toronto in the past years, however none has succeeded so far until TOT cat cafe!
Karen, Alice and I went to TOT on a Friday night around 6PM and the wait was around 1 hour. We were prompted to wait outside until the staff start letting people in and then you have to wait again to order drinks, so I’m worried at how efficient this process will be during winter.
As for the menu, there were many selections of drink to choose from but most were the typical ones that you would get at any other cafes, and there wasn’t a lot of choices for food. The prices were reasonable as well and note that the drinks that you paid is also the entrance fee to the cat room.
I ordered the Black Cat Mocha and I can’t remember what kind of syrup they used, but I remember it was alright! The drinks also took quite some time to arrive since there was only one barista working.
After receiving the drinks, all of us were told to sign up into groups to see the cats as they were in a secluded room at the front. Before entering the room, we were advised to take off our shoes and disinfect our hands with sanitizer, and they showed us a board with rules as above.
I just want to put this out there, I don’t understand why people are complaining about the rules. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to pick up the cats and play with them, but these rules are also being enforced in the cafes in Asia as well. At the same time, not all cats like it when strangers pick them up and they might injure you if you do so.
As you can see, the cat room is secluded from the cafe itself and customers are allowed to bring drinks/food into the room. There were around 5 cats for 8 people and we were in there for 15-20 minutes. Since we came quite late, most cats were tired out from all the activities during the day and they went to sleep instead. At the same time, due to the odd cat to human ratio, even if the cats were awake, I think we would always be fighting for the chance to play with them.
I supposed since the cafe wasn’t like the ones in Asia where you can actually work and stay however long you want, we eventually got bored since there wasn’t anything else to do. So really, if you pay $5 to “watch” some sleeping cats for 15 – 20 minutes, that’s not worth it at all. Most of these cats were black cats which are considered as “bad luck” in some cultures and often get abandoned, so I LOVE the owner’s dedications to help these cats go into their forever home.
Overall I had a fun time at the cat cafe but the experience was nowhere like the ones in Asia. There should have been more cats and it would have been better if the secluded room was bigger as well. I say go visit for the novelty, but don’t expect to walk in there and have thousand of cats surround you, unless they were awake and wanted you to rub their bellies.. for a few minutes.