Kittens in trendy cat cafes are more likely to get sick, study warns

The cat is sick! Kittens in trendy cat cafes are more likely to get sick, study warns

  • The researchers studied 797 cats from a charity and a sister cat cafe.
  • This suggests that the higher incidence rates of cafe cats may be explained by human contact.

The popularity of cat cafes has skyrocketed over the past decade, and they have popped up all over the world.

But a new study suggests they may not necessarily be the best places for our feline friends.

That’s because researchers have found that kittens in fancy cat cafes have higher rates of disease than kittens in foster homes.

Worse still, these diseases end up creating a domino effect, making cats less likely to be adopted.

They also infect other felines in the café, altering their behavior and again lowering adoption rates overall.

Huge fan following: Cat cafes have exploded in popularity over the past decade, with cat cafes popping up in locations around the world (file image).

Huge fan following: Cat cafes have skyrocketed in popularity over the past decade, with them popping up all over the world (file image)

Concerns: However, researchers have found that kittens in fancy cat cafes have higher rates of illness than kittens in foster homes (file image)

Concerns: However, researchers have found that kittens in fancy cat cafes have higher rates of illness than kittens in foster homes (file image)

Experts from the Virginia Animal Health Center who led the study said close contact with humans was partly to blame.

“Cats in a cat cafe have a significantly higher incidence of disease compared to cats in foster homes,” the authors write.

WHERE CAT CAFE ORIGINATED AND ARE CATS SAFE THERE?

It is believed that the world’s first cat cafe opened in Taiwan in 1998, and then the concept became popular in Japan.

In recent years, the idea has spread around the world, with long queues lining up at cat cafes in Paris and London.

However, despite their popularity, cat cafes have their critics.

In the UK, some animal welfare charities are not convinced that these places are the right environment for cats.

The RSPCA, Cats Protection and Celia Hammond Animal Trust have criticized these cafes for keeping large numbers of cats in an enclosed space with an ever-changing population.

They said the average length of time cats stay in foster homes is 21.5 days, compared to 23 days for cafe cats.

The researchers added: “The unpredictable and volatile nature of people visiting cafes leads to a lack of consistency and increased social stress compared to a stable home environment and traveling once a week to an adoption event.”

“Environmental factors, including available resources, cleanliness and human supervision, will also differ between groups.

“It is possible that more frequent and greater cafe stress, combined with environmental and individual factors, may lead to a cat being more susceptible to disease, or that more people observing cats may lead to better detection of mild illness. ‘

The concept of a cat cafe is believed to have originated in Taiwan in 1998 when the “Cat Flower Garden” was opened.

Similar establishments began to appear in Asia, especially in Japan, as well as in Europe and North America.

As their popularity grew, some of them began to expand, accepting cats available for adoption.

However, the new study suggests that more may need to be done to prevent the spread of the disease.

It turned out that cats in cat cafes got sick more often, especially males, and also stayed longer compared to cats in foster families.

“Controversy surrounds cat cafes as questions arise about the suitability of the environment and the changing cat population, the number of cats in an enclosed space, the daily exposure to a changing human population, and the potential lack of regulation of such facilities,” the authors write. wrote.

Disease Rate: This graph shows that cats in cat cafes get sick proportionately more than those in foster homes.

Disease Rate: This graph shows that cats in cat cafes get sick proportionately more than those in foster homes.

Analysis: In the course of the study, researchers examined 797 cats kept either at a shelter or an associated cat cafe (file image).

Analysis: In the course of the study, researchers examined 797 cats kept either at a shelter or an associated cat cafe (file image).

As part of the study, experts examined 797 cats kept either in a shelter or in an affiliated cat cafe.

They analyzed incidence rates, adoption rates, and length of stay for cats in each facility.

“Summarizing, it can be said that the housing status, the innate characteristics of the cat, as well as behavioral and medical observations made by the employees of the cat cafe, influence the frequency of illness and length of stay,” the researchers say.

They added that they hope their findings “may help rescue organizations identify disease behavior in cats and take action (to limit spread and improve welfare), identify optimal housing to reduce length of stay, and improve visibility for those cats that have longer period.” duration of stay.

Research published in the journal veterinary behavior.