Cat Cafes: Blurring the Lines Between Hospitality and Tourism

Over the past few years, cat cafes have been popping up all over the world, offering a unique blend of hospitality and tourism. These establishments, which allow customers to enjoy a cup of coffee while interacting with resident cats, have become popular destinations for both locals and tourists alike. But this raises an interesting question: are cat cafes considered a hospitality service or a tourism service? The answer is not as straightforward as one might think, as cat cafes blur the lines between these two industries.

Understanding the Concept of Cat Cafes

Originating in Taiwan in the late 1990s and quickly spreading to Japan and other parts of the world, cat cafes are essentially coffee shops or tea houses where patrons can relax and interact with cats. These establishments often house rescue cats, providing them with a safe and comfortable environment while also giving customers the unique opportunity to enjoy their company.

Cat Cafes as a Hospitality Service

At their core, cat cafes are hospitality businesses. They provide food and drink services, much like any other cafe or restaurant. However, they also offer a unique selling point – the chance to interact with cats. This additional service enhances the customer experience, making it more than just a simple cafe visit. The cats provide companionship and entertainment, contributing to a warm and welcoming atmosphere that is central to the hospitality industry.

Cat Cafes as a Tourism Service

While cat cafes certainly fall under the umbrella of hospitality, they also have strong ties to the tourism industry. Many tourists seek out cat cafes as part of their travel itinerary, drawn by the novelty of the concept and the opportunity to interact with local feline residents. Cat cafes have become attractions in their own right, contributing to the local tourism economy and often featuring in travel guides and blogs.

Blurring the Lines

So, are cat cafes a hospitality service or a tourism service? The answer is both. They provide food and drink services like any other hospitality business, but they also attract tourists and contribute to the local tourism economy. In this way, cat cafes blur the lines between hospitality and tourism, creating a unique business model that caters to both locals and tourists alike.


Whether you’re a local looking for a unique cafe experience or a tourist seeking out novel attractions, cat cafes offer something for everyone. By blending elements of both the hospitality and tourism industries, these establishments have carved out a unique niche for themselves, proving that it’s possible to successfully blur the lines between these two sectors.