• France's news in English
 

Animal rights groups slam Paris 'cat café' plan

Published: 17 Jun 2013 17:55 GMT+02:00

Margaux Gandelon is the 26-year-old Parisian cat lover hoping to bring the ‘bar à chats’ (cat café) concept to France as early as September, but her project has met opposition from a few different quarters.

The cat café craze, which started in Taiwan and became popular in Japan, involves clients paying a fee to play with, watch and pet feline friends, for a certain amount of time.

“This will be a friendly and calm place. Customers will be able to caress the animals while having a cup of tea or a coffee,” Gandelon told AFP.

However, the plan has drawn opposition from some French animal rights activists, among Christophe Marie from the Bardot Foundation in Paris.

“I don’t really appreciate the animal being relegated  to the status of an object,” he told AFP.

“What really makes me uncomfortable about this initiative is that the animal would be reduced to being a teddy bear.”

“Cats don’t have a particularly strong desire to be petted by the customers of a café,” he added, noting that he hoped there wouldn’t be more such establishments in the future.

For Reha Hutin president of the ’30 million friends foundation’, the concern was more a question of “what will these cats get up to, and in what sorts of conditions, outside opening hours?”

For her part, Gandelon acknowledged the concerns of critics, but vowed that the cats' will be respected at all times.

"They will only get petted if they so desire. It won't be like in Japan, where you reserve the use of a cat to cuddle for an hour," she assured AFP.

Despite the opposition, Gandelon’s concept has its supporters as well.

Jean-Yves Gauchet, a vet in the south-western city of Toulouse, sees no harm to the cats, and a significant function in filling a relaxing space with furry companions.

“The cat is an eternal baby. It loves being cuddled, and only wants to play. Also, they can fill an emotional gap for some people who don’t have children,” he said, adding that cats were like “medication without any side effects.”

Claire Bentolila, who studies animal behaviour, agrees.

“A cat is a stress-fighter. It brings down blood pressure, and keeps us focused on the here and now. If people respect their independent nature, and let them walk away when they want to, everything should go fine,” she said.

Gandelon says she has already obtained the permits and raised the €40,000 she needs to open up France’s very first cat café in the Marais neighbourhood of Paris in September.

Dan MacGuill (dan.macguill@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Does France really not need to fear a Grexit?
Protesters in France show their support for Greece. Photo: AFP

Does France really not need to fear a Grexit?

With the Greek people having overwhelmingly rejected more austerity in Sunday's "Greferendum", the likelihood of a Greek exit from the eurozone appears a little more likely. But what would it mean for France. READ  

Greece crisis
France: 'It's up to Greece to make new proposals'

France: 'It's up to Greece to make new proposals'

The French president will meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Paris on Monday for urgent talks after the Greek voters defied their warnings of a "Grexit" and gave a resounding "No" to creditors' harsh bailout terms. READ  

Champagne awarded World Heritage status
A champagne vineyard in Villenauxe-la-Grande, near Epernay, eastern France. Photo: Alain Julien/AFP

Champagne awarded World Heritage status

The historic vineyards and wine cellars of the Champagne region, where the world's most famous sparkling wines are produced, as well as Burgundy vineyards were listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO on Saturday. READ  

Calais migrants' crisis
Migrants disrupt Channel Tunnel traffic in Calais
Migrants climbing into the back of a lorry in Calais, northern France. Photo: Philippe Huguen / AFP

Migrants disrupt Channel Tunnel traffic in Calais

Traffic along the Channel Tunnel connecting Britain and France was disrupted late Friday night when dozens of migrants attempted to enter restricted areas of the tunnel in Calais, officials said. READ  

VIDEO
Paris opens parks 24h a day so locals can cool off
Photo: AFP

Paris opens parks 24h a day so locals can cool off

Authorities in Paris are to open parks at night to allow the the capital's residents to cool off, while one MP has proposed a new law allowing workers to go home when the mercury hits 35C. READ  

Guestblog - "J'aime McDo"
Why do the French love McDonald's so much?
Why do the French love McDonald's? Photo: AFP

Why do the French love McDonald's so much?

In the country that invented haute cuisine – Janine Marsh, editor of The Good Life France, asks "Just why are the French so-Mcdo-pro?" READ  

Uber suspends UberPop service in France
Taxi drivers called for an end to UberPop and they've got what they wanted, for now at least. Photo: AFP

Uber suspends UberPop service in France

Uber announced on Friday that it will be suspending its UberPop in France a week after the government and taxi drivers declared war on the controversial service. READ  

Travel warnings as France heads on holiday
Being stuck in a car or a train will not be pleasant this weekend. Photo: AFP

Travel warnings as France heads on holiday

It promises to be a hot weekend on roads around France and not just because of the heatwave. With the summer holidays about to start, warnings have been issued to motorists. READ  

Tour de France to take place amid tight security
Photo: AFP

Tour de France to take place amid tight security

The Tour de France, the world's most famous bike race gets underway on Saturday with French authorities promising security will be their top priority with the country on heightened terror alert. READ  

US orders a million donuts from France
A box of donuts, one million of which will be on there way from France to the US.

US orders a million donuts from France

Imagine a French customer putting an order in with a US firm to send one million croissants over the Atlantic. Well, the opposite happened this week. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
International
Does France really not need to fear a Grexit?
National
GPS helps blind French hikers cross mountains
National
Dreading the heatwave in France? Here's how to survive the sun
National
Brits might have the brighter economy but are the French happier?
Ryanair or French air traffic controllers: Who would you support?
How life will change in France as of July 1st
These are best places in Paris to escape the heatwave
Ten beaches in France where you'd love to be during the heatwave
Calais chaos: Travellers left to curse 'striking French'
Society
Why the French are right to strike (but perhaps not burn tracks)
National
Frenchwoman dies as bungee jump ends in tragedy
Travel
The most beautiful French villages you've never heard of
National
Can we really feel any sympathy for French taxi drivers?
Feigned French shock over US spying is not fooling anyone
Gallery
When Franco-American relations turn sour - Ten transatlantic scraps
Sport
Dozens fall violently ill after 'mud race' in France
How a genetically modified 'jellyfish-lamb' ended being eaten in France
Culture
Ten must-visit movie scene locations in Paris
National
Paris to return historic squares to the people
Forget Nutella here's eight things the French should really give up
Sport
What the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris would look like
It's time to lay off the French - They are not that rude
National
Just look at what France has given the United States over the years
Health
France's creaking health service must change if it wants to stay world's best
National
French warn UK: 'Brexit could be your Waterloo'
Europe commemorates 200 years since Waterloo
National
Waterloo: What you need to know about Napoleon
French told stop eating Nutella to save planet
Is it time for France's empty churches to be turned into mosques?
French people told to stop scoffing Nutella in order to save planet
Society
French school teacher shows his pupils porn film
National
IN PICTURES: See the blaze that ravaged a French basilica
Video: Tourists shocked by Calais migrants scramble
The French words the English language needs to steal right now
Bupa
Sponsored Article
Healthcare: 9 questions every expat should ask
Travel
13 ways France aims to become more welcoming to tourists
Education
Expat parents protest changes to admissions for Paris bilingual schools
Education
Test yourself: Just how good is your French grammar?
Travel
France to spend 'hundreds of millions' on tourism
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,584
jobs available