Jack is actually a completely normal house cat. But there is one thing that sets him apart from other house cats: He lives in the Munich cat café "Katzentempel". The temple cats share their environment with two-legged guests. In addition to coffee and cake and a rich and varied vegan menu, they also get a portion of cuddles. But only as long as the cats want it.

Jack is curled up on his favorite spot in the top of the big scratching post. He has buried his head deep between his front paws. He looks a bit like Garfield. Not necessarily because of his orange fur, but because of his considerable size. Below him, at the foot of the scratching post, sit guests chatting, laughing and clattering their coffee cups. But the cat doesn't seem to notice the guests. "Nothing upsets him so easily," says Managing Director Kathrin Karl and laughs. "He's been through a lot. He used to be a street cat and was found on the side of the road after being hit by a car. Unfortunately, he's only had three legs since then." Like all temple cats, Jack comes from "Notfallrassekatzen", an animal welfare organization from the east of Munich. The organization has set itself the task of adopting cats from cattery liquidations and cats that are unusable for breeders and rehoming them. Jack has been living in the cat café for almost six years now and shares his home with tomcat Balou, siblings Gizmo and Alya, and Siamese twins Robin and Saphira.

© Luba Schwirtz

Cat café instead of career

Kathrin Karl and Thomas Leidner pay the rent for the cat temple. Neither of them were happy in their old lives. Thomas studied business administration and worked successfully on the stock exchange for a long time. However, health problems prompted him to pull the ripcord. In May 2013, he founded the Munich Cat Temple, Germany's first cat café. A year later, he brought Kathrin, who holds a doctorate in biochemistry, on board: "I had my doctorate in my pocket, but I dreaded the idea of going into pharmacy. I wanted to do something that was really close to my heart and perhaps make the world a little bit better," says Kathrin. Not every cat lover has the privilege of having a cat at home. At her place, guests can cuddle with them at least for hours. They also determine the vegan cuisine, which is offered exclusively in the Katzencafé. Thomas and Kathrin want to introduce their guests to a conscious approach to both animals and nutrition. However, it was a long road to get there: "It was no walk in the park to convince the authorities of the idea of the cat café," Kathrin remembers the early days. Thomas even had to take part in training courses with the veterinary office and pass examinations to prove his expertise. The hygiene requirements in the cat café are particularly strict. Only a hatch is allowed to connect the kitchen to the café in order to avoid cat hair in the food. But all the effort was worth it and Thomas created the legal basis for his lifelong dream.

© Luba Schwirtz

No cuddle guarantee

"We have specially named our café "Temple" because we want to emphasize that the cats are respected here. If the cat has had enough, the guest must respect that," emphasizes Kathrin. If the hustle and bustle becomes too much for a cat, it has the option of disappearing into its retreat. This is forbidden for two-legged friends. "Some guests then ask very harshly: Where are the cats now? But here it's not the customer who is king, it's the cat!" Siamese cat Saphira obviously feels addressed. She hops off her cushion and strokes Kathrin's legs with confidence. She struts regally past the tables until she finally selects a guest. The Siamese cat tilts her head to one side, wiggles her rump and acrobatically takes a leap. It lands precisely on the young woman's lap. A smile spreads across her surprised face. Saphira climbs along her upper body to her shoulders and wraps herself around her chosen one's neck like a scarf. Saphira purrs, the guest beams.

Café Katzentempel: A fluffy offer

The program at the Katzentempel is not just limited to the café. There are readings, speed dating for animal lovers and even yoga with the cats. Kathrin says: "The cats find it super exciting, Gizmo often joins them on the mats. It's always great for the cats when there's something new". In addition to events, the café also offers items such as T-shirts, mugs, postcards and buttons for sale. Part of the proceeds go directly to animal welfare and support animal welfare organizations such as Sunnydays for Animals e.V., which, among other things, neuters and cares for street cats. Thomas and Kathrin's idea has paid off. Guests get a clear conscience, deep relaxation and healthy food in the best animal company. Their cat temple is a true paradise for anyone who wants to adore their furry friends in a relaxed atmosphere. Incidentally, anyone who would like to get involved can also do so in the form of a sponsorship. Depending on the monthly contribution, this program offers great things such as exclusive playdates with the temple cats and much more!

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