Purring Loudly at Tom’s Cat Cafe in Seoul

In your face kittah

There are 3 things I miss when I’m traveling by myself: Jack, Clos, and Barney. 2 out of those 3 are cats. Thus it was no surprise that one cloudy Seoul afternoon, I found myself in front of Tom’s Cat Cafe in Hongdae, waiting for the place to open.

Cat cafes is just one of the many themed coffee shops in Seoul. The idea of cat cafes is simple: you buy a drink and you get to play with cats.

When I came in, the smell of 20 or so cats was noticeable. I saw the guy working there running around with a bottle of air freshener with little effect.

It doesn’t matter though, I got used to the smell within minutes.

Inside Tom's Cafe Hongdae Seoul

Inside of Tom's Cat Cafe in Hongdae

Tom’s Cat Cafe is basically a giant playroom with multiple towers, hidey boxes, and pillows to lounge on for their furry residents. For the human visitors, there were tables and chairs lining the walls.

There were cats everywhere.

I got to see some purebred cats I’d never seen before: like this pudgy faced one (Persian?), and this guy that had these weird folded ears.

I got to see some odd-eyed cats. They are so cool.

Odd eyed cat at Tom's Cat Cafe

Some cats were so eager for attention they’d come up to say ‘hi’ as soon as I sat down. Like this guy right here who found my Kindle so fascinating.

A cat at Tom's Cat Cafe fascinated by my Kindle

Others were more of the playful type.

A persian cat playing at Tom's Cat Cafe Hongdae Playful cat at Tom's Cat Cafe

Tip: Tom’s Cat Cafe in Hongdae provided these cat toys on a string. I’ve seen many people simply dangle these in front of a cat’s face only to get nothing but indignant stares (and oh, how cats can give them). What you need to do is this, grab the pole and stick it under a rug. Pretend it’s a mouse and move it slowly under the rug. Also, move the pole in-and-out from under the rug. It drives cats crazy! Soon you’ll have cats all around you.

Cats everywhere

Even though nothing would replace my 2 old cats at home, these cats would do for now. I left covered in cat fur and smelling a little odd. But I was happy.

I got the cat fix I came for.

Which one are you? Cat cafe or dog cafe?

Tom's Cat Cafe in Hongdae

How to get there: Tom’s Cat Cafe is located on the 3rd floor of a building across from Cocoon nightclub in Hongdae and the small park where they have arts and crafts fair and concerts on weekends.
Cost: 8000 KWR

Valuable Resources

  • Atlas Obscura: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders, for those who love anything weird and offbeat.
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18 Replies to “Purring Loudly at Tom’s Cat Cafe in Seoul”

  1. I would definitely visit one of these when I go to Japan this year. My fiance is allergic to cats but I love them! I wish we had something like this here in the US.

  2. I'm a cat cafe kind of lady, myself. This would be a great way to get a fix when we're away traveling! It looks like a pretty cute experience. I saw a TV show about cat cafes in Japan, too. Never saw them in Taiwan, but it wouldn't surprise me.

  3. Right now I'm a cat cafe person because I haven't seen a post on dog cafes yet. Leave it to the Koreans. If I ever make it there I'll be all over it. Great stuff!

  4. CAT CAFE!!! There's a chain of them in Seoul called 고양이 다락방 (Goyangi Darakbang, literally 'Cat Attic'), which is great. I took my feline-obsessed brother to one around Konkuk University. So much fun!

    I prefer dogs to cats, but when it comes to the cafes, the canines can't compare. The dogs just go to whoever has the most snacks and aren't very playful, whereas cats don't indulge in that kind of emotional blackmail.

  5. Ahhh how I love cats! Unfortunately I haven't got the chance to go to any cat cafe. I think other than in Korea, there are also cat cafes in Japan and Taiwan. East Asian really love their cats! 🙂

  6. I love this idea. I am actually a cat and dog person having 4 and 2 of each. I miss them a lot when I travel and always interact with pets when I come across them. I would visit both cafes. I can only imagine the smell of a 20 cat cafe!

  7. This is a great idea for anyone who can't have pets where they live or tourists like you who just missed your own. If you get the opportunity check out That Backpacker as Audrey just did a little video of a similar place – some of the kitties she encountered were not a bit shy. *laugh*

  8. OMG, that brown Persian cat is aDOrable!! I'd love to visit one of these cafes someday. My family is more of a dog person and even though I adore our pups, I'd love to have cats too. Unfortunately our dogs do not like cats at all.

  9. This would make my day! When I visited Jordan I think I paid more attention to the cats than I did taking photos of Petra…
    I think I need to head to Seoul…

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