When I think of a cat café, I imagine cat overload: An indoor space filled with cat decorations and overrun with cats. Not to mention the sight of humans doing all sorts of tricks and literal catcalls to bait the dear hosts into playing with them. I was very glad that Wangjing’s 6 Kittens Cat Café proved me very wrong.
It was obviously a cat café on the outside, with its huge sign towering above and little kittens walking around in a glass room by the storefront window. But the ground floor surprised me, and the whole section could have been easily mistaken for a small restaurant. I was impressed that there was no entrance fee, and that they only charge for food and drinks. (They even had beer!) What tickled me even more though was actually seeing a delivery guy enter to tell the cashier about some customer’s orders. Really? People got delivery from a cat café?
After chatting a bit with the owner, Ms. Xiao, I learned that 6 Kittens is actually the cat café’s second branch; the first one is in Naluoguxiang, a smaller space whose cats are more of an extra feature. Ms. Xiao shared that though they’re a cat café, they also pride themselves in their food. I confess I didn’t really try any since my kids and I had already had lunch.
We eventually headed for the main attraction, which was on the second floor. A really fat cat was there to greet us. By greet I actually meant he was looking at us but more focused on the world beyond us. He was already in sprint form and ready to dash any second. Before he made his escape, the lone waitress scooped him up and away. I watched as his eyes turned from a fierce cat’s focus to that of a puppy dog’s. No!! Another missed opportunity!
The second floor was quite cozy, wooden aesthetics and all. I felt the couches by the window call out to me, as they also enticed the other customers who were either eating their pizzas (seemingly the popular choice) or petting cats around us. As we neared our couch of choice though, I noticed a place had already been taken.
I asked my 2-year-old if she was willing to sit next to the sleeping cat, and she refused. My younger daughter though was eager to sit next to the soft snowball. After ordering and finishing our Caramel Macchiato and Watermelon Shake (much better than what I had expected!), I lowered my hyper 1-year-old and walked alongside her as she searched for a friendly kitty.
True to the name, there was only an assorted group of six cats roaming around the café proper (the rest were in glass rooms, a mother cat and her litter). There’s one whom I’m now calling Fat Cat forever (his name is actually Xiong Xiong) and another big gray cat my baby tried to touch. I have to admit I was quite nervous at first, but some of these cats loved being petted! It also helped that my daughter did her best to pet them very softly.
My personal favorite though is this cat, whom I originally thought was a Sphynx until I realized his nose wasn’t long enough.
The café is the type of place both cat-lovers and cat-curious folks like myself could visit and actually relax. I really did enjoy watching my children giggling excitedly after petting a cat. My older daughter especially would troop back to me each time and tell me, “I really, really, really like the cat.” Well, hopefully on our next visit the two will be better acquainted.
While chatting with Ms. Xiao, I asked her what tips or suggestions she’d like to share with visitors. Here are some that she mentioned:
- Please wash your hands before playing with the cats. (There’s a sink right after entering the kitty’s domain on the second floor).
- Please don’t feed the cats. There’s a variety of food not good for our feline friends, and their food tray is always full anyway, so no need to worry about them going hungry.
- Visitor cats are not allowed.
- If you hug the cat and it runs away, please don’t chase them for a hug. They might be just shy since we’re unfamiliar to them.
- For those visiting the café with very young children, please don’t let them run around and chase the cats.
6 Kittens Cafe (小西堂)
Monday-Thursday, 11am-9pm. Friday-Sunday, 11am-10pm.
Wangjing 朝阳区 悠乐汇A5座1层155 (010-64728588), Naluoguxiang (东城区南锣鼓巷东棉花胡同38号)
Photos: Courtesy of Jackie Park