Disease outbreak at Texas cat café leads to kitty quarantine, investigation

I was walking Ted the Wonder Dog the other morning — which I try to do every day but often fail because I’m human, dammit, and Ted would rather sleep beside me all day, and then party at 2 a.m. — and we passed the new cat café in Annerley, Brisbane.

I never had indoor cats until the townhouse rules in Brisbane forced us so. Same with the tiny dog. Now we have our own inner city million-dollar property (in Monopoly money) the cats go in and out, and the dog won’t shut-up.

Cuteness overload was supposed to be the number one item on the menu at San Antonio’s first cat cafe, but now the owner is facing an investigation from local authorities.

City of San Antonio Animal Care Services seized two cats last week and ordered the remaining 54 cats in the 1,000-square-foot San Antonio Cat Cafe to be quarantined from the public on Monday, according to WOAI.

“You are not going to get the sick cats better in that environment and unfortunately you are likely to spread those ailments to the other animals that are currently healthy,” Shannon Sims, the assistant director of Animal Care Services, told the station.

The ailments that he’s talking about allegedly include ringworm and FIP, a viral disease that tends to attack the cells of the intestinal wall and is usually fatal in domestic cats, according to WebMD. Animal Care Services spokeswoman Lisa Norwood told KENS that the investigation thus far had revealed that up to three dozen cats that did not have rabies shots and that sick cats were often mixed with healthy cats.

Leah Taylor, a former cafe employee, who is studying to become a veterinary technician, told KENS she filed a complaint against owner Casey Steuart with Animal Care Services after witnessing four cats die there during her four months on the job.

“A lot of the cat care wasn’t maintained,” Taylor told KENS. “There were animals that should have been on medicine. There were animals that needed to see a vet for medical attention that weren’t tended to. There was a lot of ringworm and upper respiratory, which is very contagious not only to people but also to other animals.”

Cas Moskwa, another former Cat Cafe employee, posted a series of photos on Facebook Sunday, detailing what she called “the reality of the cafe and the poor state it currently is in.” She claimed that Steuart waited for weeks at a time before taking sick cats there to a veterinarian and left at least one sick and dying cat, named Decoy, out in the public lounge during his last agonizing days.

Her post includes photos of cats with crusted eyes and allegations that Steuart brought in a cat infected with ringworm into the facility’s kitten coop, resulting in three different litters becoming infected. She said in a separate post that a cat she took home from the cafe was one of them that had been infected.

According to KSAT, though, Steuart disputes the reports from Moskwa and other former employees, blaming “a lack of communication and misinterpretations.” She specifically disputed the reports of ringworm, a skin infection that can be transmitted to humans, in the cafe.

She also told the San Antonio Express News that three cats did die at the cafe, but none from neglect. One, she said, was 17 years old.

How would a cafe crawling with adorable kittens pass a D.C. health inspection?

Washington, D.C. learned this week that it could be getting a cat cafe by next year, and Twitter got more excited than a kitten chasing a laser pointer’s red dot. The concept combines a coffee shop and a feline petting zoo; they’re big in Asia, and cat cafes have opened stateside in the Bay Area and New York. But with cats come fur, hairballs and litter boxes. So how does all of this work in an establishment that also offers food service?

catsUnder the current D.C. health code, only service animals are permitted in food establishments. But Crumbs and Whiskers founder Kanchan Singh has been in talks with the D.C. Department of Health as she looks for a space for her business, and thinks she’s worked out a reasonable arrangement.

“Basically, after a couple of months of convincing, what the DOH and I agreed on is that the cat area must be completely sectioned off from the cafe area,” Singh said.

That means that the cat cafe could actually be two separate but adjacent storefronts: One with a kitchen dishing out cake, ice cream and tea, and the other, a jungle gym for cats. Another option is to have a common entrance that leads to both businesses, but with completely segregated entrances to both.


‘Would you take tea with a pussy?’

I would like to write that headline, but I didn’t, that’s just how the remaining newspapers roll in Australia.

cat.wine.table.jun.14There’s no denying Australians love their pets. So much so that many businesses, such as cafes and hotels, advertise themselves as “pet-friendly”. But a new cafe is offering a solution for people who love animals but aren’t in a position to own one.

Australia’s first cat cafe will open in Melbourne this July. The premises will comprise a cafe and an area that houses a number of cats that people pay to visit and interact with. The idea came from husband and wife team, Anita and Myles Loughran, after they visited a cat cafe in Tokyo on their honeymoon. After returning to Australia and becoming dissatisfied with their jobs, they decided to see if starting their own cat cafe was feasible.

The cafe area is on the ground floor while the cats are located on the first floor. “There are four rooms for people to interact with the cats and a fifth room which is just for the cats and where they stay overnight,” Loughran says.

Loughran says the biggest challenge in getting the cafe off the ground was convincing Melbourne City Council that she was serious. “They didn’t think it was possible because of health and safety regulations, but after three months they came on board with the idea.”

sorenne.cat.feb.14A keen supporter of the idea is the animal management department of the Melbourne City Council. “They have an issue with international students who come here to study but miss their pets so much they go out and buy one for the time they’re here,” Loughran says. “But when they go back home they just dump them. It is hoped the cafe will help alleviate this problem as it will give students a place to come and interact with animals,

Cat Café Montréal opens July 2014

Oh, Quebec. Your hockey team sucks almost as much as Toronto’s, you still yearn for taxpayer-funded independence, and now you have a café for cats.

doug.cats.jun.14Cat Café Mtl, the first of its kind in North America, will be swinging its doors open to cat and coffee lovers alike in July.

Co-creator of Cat Café Mtl Nadine Spencer says the goal is to create an entirely new venue in Montreal combining coffee and cat-owner culture in one space.

One major criticism for cat cafes is the sanitation issue, as no one really wants a bunch of hair in their latte, or Meowchiato (yes this will be a beverage name), but CCM is making sure it won’t be an issue. To ensure all sanitation regulations are met, no food will be prepared on site, and cats will be separated from any food-holding areas in the cafe, only having access to their own eats. Pastries and sweet treats will be served, just without any fur.

Doggie dining Japan-style

As more towns in Florida embrace legalized doggie dining, Japan is grappling with a lack of registration and poor sanitation.

The Japanese version is not-so-much about owners bringing their pooches to dinner, it’s for career-minded 30-somethings who are too busy to care for a pet to have 30 minutes of animal interaction.

The Daily Yomiuri Online reports the trend began with so-called cat cafes, and there are now more than 120 establishments nationwide where people can enjoy the healing effects of being surrounded by animals such as dogs, birds, goats and rabbits.

However, some shops have not registered as required with local governments, and experts are warning them to be aware that some diseases can be transmitted from animals to people.

According to Norimasa Hanada, 39, who opened a cat cafe ahead of the boom in 2005 in Machida, western Tokyo, and runs a Web site "Zenkoku Neko Cafe Map," there are at least 120 cat cafes nationwide. Newer shops featuring dogs, goats and birds also have have opened recently, he said.

Besides offering cats to pet, some cafes have begun activities to help protect the animals. Ekoneko, a cat cafe that opened in Tokyo’s Nerima Ward in October, works with Little Cats, a nonprofit organization based in Kofu that works to find homes for stray cats.

According to the Tokyo metropolitan government’s animal care counseling center, animal cafes at which customers pay admission fees fall under the category of "exhibition" facilities, and are regulated by the Animal Protection Law like zoos and aquariums.

For this reason, such shops are required to register with prefectural governments as businesses that deal with animals and employ a regular staff member possessing an animal health technician license or other such qualification.

A cafe in Nerima Ward, which charges 200 yen per 30 minutes on top of a drink fee, touts on its Web site that customers can play with animals at the shop.

"I didn’t even know about the registration requirement. I don’t have time to obtain the qualification," the cafe’s female owner said.

A female manager of a cafe in Tokyo, who was patting an animal’s head over a fence, said: "We haven’t registered as we just keep the animals outside the cafe. These animals are not exhibited inside the premises."

She said the center staff who visited her cafe to confirm the situation had judged it was unnecessary for the establishment to register as it did not charge a separate fee to exhibit the animals.