In fact, sometimes we’re afraid of becoming Crazy Cat Lady when we realise it’s been months since you last had human contact, you come home to a hell of an empty apartment, and that animal shelter down the street is starting to look pretty tempting.
In the West, collecting cats is what us ladies do when we finally realise we’re probably never going to live with any human person and that we’ve developed the amazing ability to speak feline. We start to withdraw ourselves more and more from society, and soon our only contact with the outside world is when the neighbourhood kids try to sneak a peek inside our catnip-infused, pee-smelling house.
From what I understand, cat cafés are actually more of a Japanese thing (despite originating in Taiwan): People can head to a café for a cup of coffee or tea, and pay a cover charge to watch and play with the abundance of cats that roam around inside.
As far as cleanliness goes, this cat café (located in Gwangju’s downtown area) was pretty good. While there was that cat smell (you know the one) faintly in the air, nothing appeared to be dirty and there was barely a trace of cat hair around (Surprising given that some of these cats were real fluffballs).
The only downside we could find is that these cats hadn’t been fixed. Many of them were pretty aggressive and a lot of vicious scraps occurred while we were there. Pretty worrying when we saw how many young children were trying to play with them.
But you know what the best part was?
I had no allergy attack! No sneezing, no wheezing, no itchy eyes. Nothing.
Korean cats must love me!
I’m not having allergy attacks from the cats in Korea and every morning I pass a small kitten in desperate need of some love.
It’s on a lead and kept in one of the most disgusting cages I’ve ever seen before:
It’s also absolutely terrified when anyone comes within 3 feet of it and would rather back up, further into the cage, padding its little paws on these horrible rusted wires than receive a stroke or nuzzle.
I’m not entirely sure what the story is.
The kitten’s cage sits next to another that has two rabbits inside, squashed together, and both cages sit on the curb, outside a shop that sells all kinds of random stuff (a lot of horticultural and garden items).
Having seen dogs tied up outside shops before (presumably belonging to the owner), I’m still not entirely sure whether these animals belong to the shopkeepers or are for sale. At night, the cages aren’t there.
Friends of mine encouraged me to “take the rabbits home” when I first posted pictures on my Instagram and, as much as I wanted to, I live in an apartment and knew it wouldn’t be fair on them to keep them indoors like that.
Then the kitten came along and, this time, I’ve been sorely tempted. My apartment’s just about the right size for a cat but there are a couple of cons:
1) I have absolutely no idea how to look after a cat. Dogs? Yes. But cats? Not a clue. I never had one. This would definitely be a huge change.
2) It’s a huge responsibility. I know people say that dogs are the ones that are co-dependent but, should I decide to adopt this cat, it’s definitely going to be an indoor one (I live on the 15th floor) and they do need a lot of attention. Not only that but my financial situation is going to alter drastically and my inability to speak Korean is going to be a challenge when trying to find a vet to get it all checked out and spayed/neutered. Oh yeah, and those long weekends away from Naju? I can kiss goodbye to them.
3) I don’t plan to live in Korea forever. In fact, there are still quite a few countries I’d like to move to and teach in. That’s hardly fair on an animal, is it? I read that moving house feels like being abducted and taken away in a spaceship for pets – Uber stressful and terrifying!
But then, at the same time, look at those eyes …