By Minh Phương
When children turn into adults they have many important decisions to make that will shape their entire life.
One of the major choices they must decide is which career path to follow. Many are influenced by their parents and it is not unusual to see children follow in the footsteps of mother and father when it comes to their chosen employment.
However for 24-year-old Nguyễn Linh Chi that was never going to happen.
The professions of her parents certainly played its part, but for Chi, there was no doubt in her mind it was exactly the job she did not want.
Her parents were butchers, and would trade in cat and dog meat.
“My parents used to sell dog and cat meat,” she said.
“However, after reading news on the internet and having pets at home, my family has totally quit eating and selling this dish.”
Chi decided to run and co-own a cafe in Hà Nội but not just any kind of café.
This venue on Lê Thanh Nghị Street is a place where you can get a coffee and a cuddle with one of 30 cute cats that roam freely around the two-storey coffee shop.
She said: “We open a cat cafe so that cat lovers can come to have a drink and chill with cats. Besides, we also want to create a spacious space to raise as many cats as we want.”
DINNER TIME: Nguyễn Linh Chi feeds her cats inside Meo's House Coffee.
Meo’s House Coffee is located on one of the busiest streets in Hà Nội surrounded by many university buildings and as a result, its core customers are students.
“Because I am busy studying, I cannot raise cats myself,” frequent visitor Mai Thị Thu Hà from Hà Nội Open University said.
“I go to cat cafe instead because I have a big passion for them.”
Visitors will be amused by more than 30 British shorthair cats waiting for them right after entering this cafe.
The cafe welcomed more than 60 visitors a day on average, Chi revealed.
“Most of our guests are cat lovers and come to this place to play with cats. Some customers only drop by because they are curious about a cafe with more than 30 cats.”
CUTENESS OVERLOAD: Cats can melt everyone's heart. VNS Photos Minh Phương
From 10 cats at first, the number has tripled. Besides making sure the business turns a profit, Chi has to pay serious attention to the health of the cats.
“Taking care of such a large number of cats is quite hard,” Chi said.
“We have to treat them carefully from the moment the kittens are born, get their first vaccinations right through till they get older.
“Raising a cat is as hard as raising a baby. And we have to take care of more than not just one but 30 babies.”
“If a disease breaks out, the risk of infection will become higher when having many cats together in one place.”
Visitors always feel comfortable when playing with cats while having a sip of coffee.
“This cat cafe is different from others because the smell here is more fragrant," Thu Hà said.
To maintain the hygiene, Chi designed the toilet system for cats and also careful about what food cats will eat.
“In the cafe, the cats’ toilets are designed under the seat. We also use cat litter sand, odour remover clay. Our staff is guided to clean regularly,” Chi said.
“Food that we use to feed cats is also important. If they eat cat food, their poop won’t smell as bad as when they eat rice with fish.”
Growing up with parents who prepared and sold cat meat for living, Chi has opened up this cat cafe and dedicated to loving animals to cement the love for animal among the community.
She strongly believes although eating cat and dog meat was common practice in the past, and still happens today nationwide, more and more people are turning their noses up at such a dish.
“Youngster and internet users are very critical towards eating dog and cat meat,” she said.
“People’s awareness of this problem is gradually increasing.”
HEY THERE: All felines are adorable and friendly.
Nguyễn Xuân Lâm had to come back to the cafe twice. He raises his own British shorthair cat at home.
“This is the second time that I’ve come to this cafe. Cats here are very adorable, and friendly.”
To Lâm, cats are like his friends and they must be treated equally as human instead of being considered delicacy.
“I think people share different opinions about eating cat meat. However, if we love cats and other pets, we won’t eat them,” Lâm said. VNS