Ankara’s first cat café reopens
“Our goal is to help stray animals, especially stray cats. While animal lovers eat and sip their coffee, they will be able to feed them,” said Sema Büyükkayaer, who is an industrial engineer and the owner of the café.
Büyükkayaer quit his job after working in a private company for two years and opened his dream cat-concept cafe in Ankara’s Bahçelievler district in January 2020.
The cafe opened under the name Meow Cafe remained closed for most of the year due to the pandemic measures. As part of the normalization steps, the cafe reopened its doors to its customers and street cats at the beginning of this month.
The cafe, where anyone can go with their pets, has two host cats named Şira and Vega. They go out to the street as they wish and also wander around the cafe with the street cats that come to the cafe to eat.
Stating that cat-themed cafes were first opened in the Far East, Büyükkayaer said: “It later became widespread in the U.S. and Europe. We are the first cat cafe in Ankara. Our first motto was to be pet-friendly and love cats. We also cooperate with many animal-loving university clubs. We use some of our income for their needs. We meet the food needs of stray animals and veterinary services.”
Büyükkayaer said that when they first opened the cafe, people found it strange with cats walking around, adding, “Our customers got used to it over time. We desired to achieve this, even if it was difficult because we live under equal conditions, and we want to help them.”
“Some of our customers even started asking about cats in the cafe. At the same time, we help vets with the adoption of animals. We do not forget the adopted animals; we follow and support them, too. We prefer to feed our customers’ souls rather than their stomachs,” he said.