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Le Café des Chats


On Saturday, we heard a third mention of Le Café des Chats from yet another friend. 

What else could we do but go there on Sunday?

A café where you can eat, drink and talk to cats: the idea originated in Taiwan in 1998, and quickly spread to Tokyo, where there are now over fifty cat cafés. Weeks ago Le Café des Chats opened in the third arrondissement in Paris.

We walked from Shakespeare and Company where we were compelled to find one or two or eight essential books, then on to 16 rue Michel Le Compte in the Marais.

Standing in front of the window, you could see cats nestled in cat tree nests, and one curled up beside a young woman on a couch.

At the reception desk we were instructed to use an antiseptic lotion, to protect the cats from our germs. But since the cats were adopted, some abandoned, what was protecting us from germs they’d picked up in the streets?

We found one open table at the back of the room, and watched as young felines wandered here and there and down the stairs to the cave below.



I popped downstairs to see the cat situation there. Two French women sat in a room at the back, one stroking a white kitten with orange and buff splashes, on her lap, and a tortoise shell grooming himself on a third seat at their table.

We chatted. The two women lived in apartments too small for cats, but loved them, bien sûr. They beamed with joy, and the cats looked content. 

A Japanese girl expertly captured the attention of a mature black cat in the top nest of a cat tree with red feathered lure attached to the end of a supple pole. The cat had the head of the Egyptian goddess Bastet.

Back upstairs, Richard and I had a salade italienne and a tarte aux épinards et chèvre avec salade. Good!

A tiger cat wandered over and seemed to be asking for something. I picked her up and felt her heart beating so fast, I quickly put her down. Some of these felines may want to be held, but some might just be looking for food, or escape. This one jumped up on a ledge behind us and gazed longingly out the window. A dense screen stopped her from leaping out.


At the next table were three Italian couples from Bari. They spoke no French, but a few knew some English.

We talked a bit about our respective crazy governments. Berlusconi and Boehner—both nuts.

Were they all cat lovers? No, only one of the women who’d brought the other five along. Two of the men and one woman had dogs, one woman had a parrot, and one man, a rabbit. All animal lovers, they respected this woman’s need for a cat hit, even on vacation.

And why were we there? Need you ask? We miss Marley, whose meow we still hear months after his death. After being out in Paris, we come home and listen for his paws padding across the old oak floor, his voice raised in complaint that we had left him, even for a short time, and we can’t quite believe that he is gone.

Judging by the number of people stopping enchanted at the window, and the full tables, we are certain that this café will soon need to move to a larger space.


Le café des Chats
Open every day from Noon to 10 p.m.
16 rue Michel Le Compte 75003 Paris
Metro Rambuteau     09 73 53 35 81





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Reader Comments (12)

I love seeing photos of you, ma cher!

And I adore cats (as Marley and Hotspur would vouch).

But, being the practical Capricorn girl that I am, I wonder about the kitty litter. Where do they hide it? HOW do they hide it?

And the fur and dander in the air? A Salade Italienne sounds lovely, but not with a side of fuzz.....

Plus, strays can, on occasion, be prickly. They'll purr as you pet them and then, with no warning, decide they've had enough and stick their sweet little claw into your wrist.

Anyway, inquiring minds want to know.........

Wednesday, October 9, 2013 at 18:05 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

Although there will never be a replacement for Marley - he sounded truly amazing - maybe you guys should think about adopting a new cat. Where are the homes for these cats? Do the owners bring them? It's amazing that they all get along there. My cat would be hiding under the table the whole time!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013 at 18:46 | Unregistered CommenterCarol Kibble

Ah Anna, thank you. I know you're as much of a cat fan as we are.

That is such a Capricorn observation, and it hadn't occurred to us. Where DO they keep the litter boxes? Not in the kitchen, I hope.

Another animal-loving friend had the same question about cats clawing customers. I think the cafe owners spend a lot of time selecting cats who aren't aggressive. As if you can ever be sure--cats do have minds of their own.

We miss you,

Kaaren & Richard

Wednesday, October 9, 2013 at 23:40 | Registered CommenterKaaren Kitchell & Richard Beban

Hi Carol,

Well, that's a good idea. We'd first have to recover from losing Marley. Who knows how long that will take.

I somehow assumed that the cats lived there--since moving them all every night would be too daunting for the owner, and traumatic, I'd think, for the cats. But we'll ask next time we're there.

Marley would have liked all the people, but he wouldn't like sharing quarters with so many other cats!

Love to you,

Kaaren & Richard

Wednesday, October 9, 2013 at 23:46 | Registered CommenterKaaren Kitchell & Richard Beban

Strange, wonderful, and somehow very French. I love cats. As soon as I moved out of my family house (my mother was against cat hair, not allergic, mind you, just against), I got myself a cat. Who purred when I read any new poem out loud. Fifty years later we have the greatest cat ever, who when I whistle as loud and shrill as I can runs up to me and puts her face into mine, butting her head against my beard. Well, we all have cat stories, and judging by the followers of this site, so sweet they are, I'm sure there'd be an anthology a mile long of cat poems, etc. Which is why I shied away (finally!) from posting one of mine. In Bolinas, in the mid 60s when I lived there, I got a job cleaning up after the forty odd cats a madwoman owned who lived on a rambling house overlooking the Pacific. There was always some weird cat thing going on somewhere, and when I walked down the hall there was always a cat leaping or snarling or skittering at the edge of my vision. I quit when the owner stormed home one day complaining about a child in the road, and said, "I'd run over a child any day instead of a cat!" Goodbye! (She's probably a member of the Tea Party... maybe the Grand Master, white hood and all!)

Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 0:58 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel Abdal-Hayy Moore

J'entends avec vous le miaulement disparu de Marley.... Marley & Raga hanteront nos vies, jour et nuit, pendant encore très longtemps.

Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 12:50 | Unregistered CommenterPatricia


We almost dedicated this post to our Leo friends, but realized that cat fans span the zodiac. Of course, YOU love cats! Of course, you've written cat poems! What I loved was hearing about your wild job, with a madwoman as employer. And your integrity in quitting. Your cat is exactly the kind of cat we love, super affectionate like Marley. Ahh, we miss him.

Much love,
Kaaren & Richard

Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 20:04 | Registered CommenterKaaren Kitchell & Richard Beban


Tu en sais mieux que personne sur nos amis les animaux inoubliables. Hanté est le mot.


Kaaren and Richard

Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 20:19 | Registered CommenterKaaren Kitchell & Richard Beban

Dear Kaaren and Richard,

What an enchanting place! The cats all seem very mellow and well-mannered... and to be surrounded by wonderful feline energy! (And glad the food was nourishing and delicious... an added bonus.)

I do understand that sadness of listening for Marley when you come home. (After her death, I used to feel my beloved Chelsea brushing up against me when that could not possibly be so.) But that dear boy is with you in spirit and I'm sure he is celebrating your discovery of this most leonine of cafes.

Thank you for sharing this adventure with us...

Sending love,

Friday, October 11, 2013 at 5:32 | Unregistered Commenterdawna


I thought of you while we were there, how much you would enjoy this place. Next time you're in Paris...

Richard just took out his winter scarf and found Marley's fur on it. They never leave us, do they. Chelsea and Marley may be tearing around together right now in some alternative world. In the meantime, we're glad Emma is keeping you company.

Our friends' cat is coming to visit for a week soon. Glad of that.

Thank you and much love,
Kaaren and Richard

Friday, October 11, 2013 at 22:41 | Registered CommenterKaaren Kitchell & Richard Beban

I'm enchanted, dazzled, and jealous of this cafe in your neighborhood. I would have my writing space there at least once a week.

Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 19:05 | Unregistered CommenterPamela Hogan


That is a grrreat idea. And, someone needs to open a Cat Cafe in L.A.


Kaaren and Richard

Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 23:17 | Registered CommenterKaaren Kitchell & Richard Beban

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