Malaysia occupies a long peninsula just south of Thailand with its capital city Kuala Lumpur somewhere in the middle. KL, as its commonly referred to, is a city filled with skyscrapers and mosques, offering up a memorable combination of history and the future.
But there was one aspect of KL that was especially unforgettable- its amazing cat cafes. One ranks amongst the best in the world while another features a rare for Asia focus on rescue-cats. The third was more pooch than pussycat, but, hey, I did say KL was memorable.
It was a good meowning, er, morning indeed when I met the fine folks and felines of Good Meowning Cafe in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
So much so, it ranks amongst my most memorable of nearly 200 visits around the world.
I made my way to the cafe via taxi to the Cheras neighborhood (about a 30 minute drive south of the Petronas Twin Towers) on a sunny Sunday morning. The staff were very welcoming and approachable and when I explained my visit, they introduced me to owner, Noraziyah Mansor, who had just returned from an overseas trip.
Despite just getting off a plane, Ms. Mansor, a part-time breeder as well as a full-time cafe owner and animal welfare advocate, made the time to personally greet me and share her story.
A life-long cat lover, she began as a breeder of pedigreed cats including British Shorthair, Bengal, Siamese and Persian, before becoming increasingly concerned with broader animal welfare issues such as Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR). She wanted to share her knowledge and improve the lives of kitties everywhere, which is why she decided to open a cat cafe in January, 2016.
Our conversation was incredibly uplifting as she shared how her cafe has become a focal point for the cat community, where she and her staff educate on a variety of topics ranging from cat care to helping children interact with cats to the importance of TNR.
Ms. Mansor is truly the ideal person to manage a cat cafe as she is full of warmth, intelligence, compassion… and has a knack for hospitality. As we visited, I enjoyed a delicious meal of chicken and rice, polished off with an iced Vietnamese coffee.
The cafe has a great vibe- sparkling clean, calm and filled with colorful murals designed by a talented member of Ms. Mansor’s family. Downstairs, the art tells the story of street cats, sad and lost, but upstairs the paintings are cheerful portraying the cats as having found loving forever homes.
After my meal, Ms. Mansor gave me a tour of the cafe and introduced me to her cats. There are between 18 and 24 cats in the cafe on any given day, all friendly and well-loved. In addition to her menagerie of pedigreed, she also has taken in many rescue cats, and cares for several community cats as well. Good Meowning’s rescue cats are so beautiful that I had a difficult time separating them from the posh felines- a testament to what love and care can do!
Usually, I am able to capture one or two good photos when I visit a cat cafe, but in the case of Good Meowning, I took loads of Instagram-worthy shots as these felines love the camera and pose like seasoned supermodels. It was so much fun, I didn’t want it to end.
Eventually, I tore myself away, but not before taking a few special photos with Ms. Mansor and staff to commemorate my visit.
Good Meowning is everything that makes a cat cafe top-notch. Delicious food and drink. Friendly, knowledgeable staff. Great atmosphere and hospitality. Loads of gorgeous cats. But what puts it in otherworldly company is the care and commitment the cafe has not just for felines, but humans as well.
Our trip to Purradise was full of excitement and surprises!
On the above-ground metro train headed to the Taman Tun Dr. Ismail (TTDI) stop, the weather took a nasty turn. The skies flashed with lightening, thunder shook the cars and a deluge of rain surrounded us as we sped above highways clogged with water and cars.
It was just starting to let up when pulled into the station. Good news as we had a ten minute walk to reach Purradise Cat Cafe.
During our leisurely amble to Purradise, we encountered several street cats, a harbinger of what lay ahead.
Inside the cafe, we were greeted by a friendly host who collected our (very reasonable) admission fee and took our drink orders. There were a few patrons inside, including a sweet little girl who was entertaining one playful kitty with a feather on a string.
We learned that there are 22 cats in residence, all from the streets or abandoned by owners. Open three years, I was amazed to learn that Purradise is solely focused on rescue cats, a rarity in Asia.
The space was very cute with colorful furniture and lovely murals of trees and outdoor scenes. The atmosphere is calm and cheerful with pop tunes on rotation- I found everything to be exceptionally tidy and clean, however there is a bit of catty odor, so allergy sufferers take note.
The cats are truly the stars at Purradise- an unbelievably friendly and social bunch. It’s clear they have received much love and care as they have a trust in humans not often seen in rescues. Some of my favorites included Lembu, a playful tabby mix, Hiro, a shy ginger/white and Garfield, a long-haired ginger goofball with a penchant for belly rubs.
We found our coffee drinks to be of very good quality- my significant other had a hot latte, while I chose an iced version.
When we left, a street cat sitting on a chair a few doors down from Purradise indulged us with a couple of head scratches- I’ve not met such friendly street cats as the ones that live in Malaysia.
Surprises await in and around Purradise- be sure and pay them a visit when in Kuala Lumpur!
Dog Lovers Delight: Cafe Clawset
It was an interesting afternoon to be sure.
I took a taxi to Cafe Clawset on a Saturday, trying to get my visit in before the rains came- a common theme during my week in Kuala Lumpur.
Upon entering, it was quite busy with most of the tables occupied. Patrons and several small dogs mingled, while cats were nowhere to be seen. A friendly staffer seated me in the last table available, a corner spot with good views of the action. Two of the pooches came over to greet me, but when I reached down to offer an ear scratch, they snarled and yipped at me. As they walked away, one of them relieved his bowels right there on the floor. A staff member quickly cleaned it up, but still, eek.
Abandoning the idea of interacting with the dogs, I tucked into my chocolate lava cake, vanilla ice cream and latte. Food-wise, everything was very tasty and I while I enjoyed my treat, was starting to feel concerned I wouldn’t see any kitties.
I inquired with my server, who pointed through the wall indicating the cats were on the other side. Off I went, discovering it was a pet shop with most of the cats in cages, and only two sweet babies roaming free.
One, an exotic ginger named Orange allowed me to gently rub his chin while the other cat only gave me the time of day when coaxed with a wet food treat.
I couldn’t help admire the close-knit feeling between patrons and staff- it’s clear this is a community cafe where, in addition to the shop’s dogs, they are welcome to bring their own pups.
More dog cafe than cat, Cafe Clawset is a unique experience with excellent foodservice, but is probably best suited for the most ardent of dog lovers.
The Neighbor’s Cat is the alter ego of Paula LaBine, an itinerant cat lover who writes about cat cafes, rescue/adoption & TNR, and has been featured in Miau Magazine, Katzenworld Blog, The Catnip Times and Taiwan Scene. She is currently on a quest to visit every cat café in the world, 205 in 29 countries so far! Find her at theneighborscat.com or on Facebook/Twitter @catcafeviews.