Tracy Zhang, owner of Cat Flower Garden, the first cat café in the world

19 years ago in Taipei, Taiwan, the first cat café in history opened its doors. 

Like many other cafes in the country, Cat Flower Garden is a family affair, run in principle by Tracy. This Noah’s Ark is welcome to cats big and small, giving them the space to explore the tables, eat their fill, sleep on a lap or two and generally run the show.

What sets Cat Flower Garden apart from the rest, aside from it being the first of its kind, is that the owners refuse to buy their cats, adopting them from the streets or locals instead. The 15 in-house cats attract customers from miles around but if they want to stay, they have to order any of the café’s specialities, be them cappuccini, cakes, fruit juices or desserts!

While the Cat Flower Garden has been the beating heart of the Zhang family for 20 years, Tracy is dealing with a troubling future. With the rise of the cat came the rise of the cat café and now Taipei is home to more than a dozen other varieties of the place. From Tokyo to New York, by way of Paris, Vienna and Montreal, cats are brightening up cafés across the world!

Tracy Zhang keeps her lodgers well fed © Clarissa Wei