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September 20, 2017

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More animal lovers making way to fur-tastic food haunts

BANGKOK--If your landlord is the sort that regards all pets no better than pests, and you've been fighting the urge to cuddle a cat, you ought to peek into the Purr Cat Cafe Club.

The Purr Cat is one of several animal-friendly bistros that have opened in Bangkok where you can baby talk to one of the resident kitties and pups, or, if you're lucky enough to have one of your own, bring it in, treat it to a snack and let it have a good long meow or bark.

Popular actress Nla 'Petch'Aurthaveekul and her friend Korbua 'Yean'Songprasert opened the Purr Cat in a charming, spacious house on SukhumvitSoi 53 just a few months ago, and so far have had no problem bringing in young families, students and other folks from the neighbourhood through its doors. The human staff serves light meals while fluffy kittens offer their own special services-namely cuddles.

Outside, there's a shady, English-style garden, while the inside comprises of vintage wooden furniture and paintings that lend the cafesomething of a fictional dream-mansion atmosphere.

"We love kittens!" Petch declares, though that might be stating the obvious at this point.

And it's not just the cat-lovers who like it here; the felines themselves aren't doing too shabbily. There's a salon on the premises where a professional team administers furry royal treatment. And there's also a shop stocking all the latest gear that Petch and Yean have designed.

The cafe itself is immaculate. But to keep it this way, customers have to switch their shoes for slippers and wash their hands before entering so the kitties are safe from outdoor germs.

People who bring along their own pets are assigned a private room to make sure no turf wars break out with the in-house gang. The room has oak tables and chairs, enough to fit 15 people, and a carpeted playground with a wooden bridge for the felines to put on a show, if they want to. It's also a great place to take pictures.

The main space has 20 lovely cats loitering about on the floor and sofas or running up and down a wooden slide. The friendly mob includes a Persian, a Chinchilla, a Maine Coon and shorthairs of the American, British and Exotic varieties.

Of course, with so much furry goodness to preoccupy you with, you might forget to eat. Time to order a coffee and some delectable French pastries made by a Le Cordon Bleu chef in the cafe's kitchen itself. Prices are generally in the 65 to 150 baht range. A couple of warm brownies with green-tea ice cream, for instance, will set you back about 120 baht (US$2.21-3.41), as will the scones shaped like cats and lavished with blueberry jam and whipped cream. A smooth milk pudding with sliced strawberries and syrup is 95 baht and a mug of hot chocolate 100 baht.

"We also serve dishes for cats made with premium ingredients like salmon, codfish and liver," Petch says, "and we'll be opening a cat hotel soon too." Well, of course they will-travelling cats need a place to stay, after all.

Another similar establishment in Bangkok is the much smaller but chronically cute Cataholic Cafe, inspired by Japan's Zakka cat bistros. Cataholic is located inOzono, the pet-friendly mall on SukhumvitSoi 39. Former air attendant Patcharanun 'Beam'Pokinpatchalaunched the place last November.

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