How I Ended Up at a Cat Cafe in Seoul

It was never my intention to visit a cat cafe. In fact, I had absolutely no interest in visiting one. Mainly because I was traumatised by a bad cat experience when I was young – my parents love to have that story retold to people over and over again. It has taken me this long to even voluntarily stroke a cat.

One does not account for a very persuasive cousin though. She had wanted to visit one but as the guide bringing her around Seoul, I had the final say over her itinerary. So, cat cafe was out. I just told her that it was not guaranteed.

I was mean, right?

Well, they say karma bites. Indeed, as fate would have it, it seemed almost like serendipity that I would have ended up there after all.

Shopping around Hongdae area, I almost walked past the sign and almost, almost, ignored it. For the sake of loyalty though, I very reluctantly pointed it out to my cousin and asked the dreaded question, “Do you want to drop in to take a look?”. It was such an obvious question.

So I ended up trudging up the stairs to a small shop and was greeted with the joyful sight of cats everywhere. How cattlicious!

cat cafe in korea

The shop helpers were familiar with foreigners, it would seem. With no words spoken, we had our belongings kept away in bags, hands sanitised, made to read the rules (in English) and paid for a drink. No entrance fee but you have to buy a drink. It only cost about $8 so I suppose it’s not much since you get to play with the cats for however long you wished to.

The cats came in all shapes and sizes, even kittens. And okay, they were pretty cute….VERY CUTE.

cat cafe in seoul

Am I cute or AM I CUTE??

Friendliness, though, depends on the cat as they all had different personalities. Some ran away when approached and more just laid down and slept. That, I can understand. I also would have wanted to just lie down and sleep if that’s all there is for me to do the whole day. Oh, the life of a cat…

cat cafe in seoul

Nothing better to do but to sleep the day away…

But hey, I’m happy enough that they did not cuddle because I have not worked myself up to that stage yet. My cousin was a bit disappointed but she did manage to get some cuddles by the time we left. Patience is required for them to trust you, I suppose.

At the end of the day, I’m happy enough that I can strike this off my list. I have visited a cat cafe in Seoul. It’s definitely a great idea for those who cannot afford to keep cats as pets but it is just not for me.

A cat lover, I am not and never will be. I can still appreciate their cuteness though because they were. Just adorable. 🙂

cat cafe

For those interested, I visited Tom’s Cat Cafe in Hongdae area. Since this was a random walk-by, I can probably telepathically think out the directions to tell you. Otherwise, it is a bit hard for me to describe in words other than – it’s opposite that building with a shop (it’s called Art Box, I think) and is on the 3rd floor along the same street of the Hongdae playground. Alternatively, you can also choose to trust online reviews which says that they have moved or gone out of business. You can refer to this page for alternatives though. 

Update: Tom’s Cat Cafe at Hongdae has apparently closed or moved according to readers who visited in Spring this year. Please do just enjoy the cats in this post instead! 🙂

Have you encountered such shops in your travels? Is there any other unique shops that you’ve visited before? Please do share! 

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37 thoughts on “How I Ended Up at a Cat Cafe in Seoul

    • Lol, really? Hmm, maybe the rules are more relaxed in Korea because such animal themed cafes are everywhere.

      And no, no such food served at this cafe since they are all probably animal lovers but I wouldn’t be surprised to find it in the deep bowels of Seoul’s underbelly. I stay far far away since I do not wish to have any such businesses there…:)

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      • Yep, I have heard of those too but I try not to think of it. It’s definitely not commonly found because I have never encountered it during all my travels there. Not to say it doesn’t exist but I’m definitely not going to go look for it. 🙂

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  1. I have seen a few of your earlier posts where you mentioned cat cafes and I was intrigued. We don’t have anything like that in the US. I think this is such an amazing idea. There are so many in this country that would just adore to sit in a cat cafe and enjoy the animals. I wonder why it has never taken off here? I loved this blog! The cats are just adorable. I’m glad you came to peace with your earlier trauma.

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    • Haha, yes. My family love to tease me about my aversion to cats when I was younger but as I got older, I just couldn’t resist them, especially when they seemed so cute. I can’t make myself cuddle or carry them though, just stroking them is good enough for me.

      I think such an idea came about because it is harder to keep pets for city dwellers and city lifestyle so such cafes are wonderful for cat lovers to still spend time with cats. And I have lots more photos from my time there because the cats were just too adorable…I had to restrain myself here….hahaha…

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      • I don’t think you CAN get too many pictures of cats, lol. In some of your earlier photos of cat cafes they had purebred Persians. Oh my goodness. So lovely! Yeah cats are addictive, lol. The cafe’s are a great idea for city dwellers without access to pets. It’s perfect.

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      • Haha, yes, I still have more photos of them. I even have photos of kittens too! Haha…I’ll find some use for these photos later on maybe…I just find them cute and adorable…that said, I find the same goes for some other animals too so I’ll just say I like cute and adorable animals..hehe…:)

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  2. Thanks for linking to our cat cafe post on our travel blog Independent Travel Cats, it is a popular one. So when I was in Seoul this Spring, Tom’s Cat Cafe was definitely closed (you can see the pics on our blog, the place was dirty, and there was almost nothing in the space) and another business owner in the building told us they were not there anymore and did not think they had moved anywhere. Other travelers have reported similar experiences when trying to visit (as recently as 2 weeks ago on Tripadvisor) when visiting this location. I wonder if they somehow miraculously re-opened very quickly, if they moved nearby, or you found another cat cafe nearby and mistook it for Tom’s as the name is still on the building? Would love to know more and share any updates with our readers as we get a lot of being coming to our website and emailing us about pet cafes. Do you happen to know the address?

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    • Hello!! No worries, I take you at your words as I was there last December so it must be closed now…:) Sad to know they were closed as the cats did seem very well taken care of and they were so cute!! Thanks for dropping by though! 🙂

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  3. I wish there was a place like this in Jakarta! I’m such a cat person. But since I travel so much I’ve never committed to getting one 😦 These little guys are the cutest!!! How could you not fall in love with them? 🙂

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    • Lol, I’m sure if you look hard enough there must be one somewhere….haha…I liked to admire from afar but I do agree that they looked cute too…sleepy but absolutely adorable…:)

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  4. Hello Sha! When did you go to Tom’s Cat Cafe? When I went in April, the place seem closed. or have they moved? I ended up going to Cat’s Attic.

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  5. I’ve never visited that one in Seoul but one time in Gwangju, we visited a cat cafe. It was nice enough but not really my thing, though my wife will beg to differ. Cute shots though. Hongdae really has everything, huh? No need to visit Itaewon, i think!

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    • Haha…they were really cute, even to someone who is not really that into them. It’s hard to be there and not melt at their antics…haha…

      Well, I would say that I hardly visit Itaewon when I visit Seoul actually. And you are right, I feel right at home at Hongdae…haha….:)

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  6. Not a bad idea. You get to have other people pat the pet for you, and you get a drink business going too. 🙂 I’m not a pet keeper as well, so this idea actually may work for me too. 🙂 They’re adorable, but it’s easy to believe that cats are here on Earth to form some kind of a coup to take over humankind. bwahahah 😆

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    • Yeah…but the cats were really well groomed so I can see lots of love had gone into their care too…;) and such an idea is actually meant for people who just wants to spend some time with them…I do agree that it’s a good idea…and you never know…they have apes poised to take over the world, why not cats? They would kill us with their cuteness…kekeke…*embarrassed*ok…that one is so lame I cringed…:D

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  7. Oh, they are adorable! I love cats so much: a childhood deprived of any pets has made me slightly obsessive about animals! My travel buddy in Latin America got so annoyed with me stopping to play with all the strays.

    I love the photo of the cat on its back, I just want to rub its belly 🙂 This post has just increased my desperation to get to Seoul and visit a cat café!

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    • I’m not such a cat lover but even I was all gooey over them so yes, they were really cute…but some cats were pretty aloof though so it really depends on their character and their mood on that day…haha…this is such an awesome idea for those people who cannot have cats right? I hope that you do get to visit seoul to give this a try…:)

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  8. I have yet to visit the one in Singapore but everyone keeps telling me about it. I’m surprised they opened it up here given how strict the health regulations can be, but of course they are also willing to be a bit more flexible with changes here (pets and cafes don’t legally mix in Brisbane last I checked).

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