The Indigenous Creatures of Hongdae, Part 2: Cat Cafes!

March 10, 2010

As I’ve said, I’m taking a short blogging hiatus (or not, depending), so I’m letting a couple friends guest-blog! Also, I wouldn’t have written this review anyway, since I am allergic to cats. Though, I actually have been to Sand Cat, briefly.

This post is by my friend and cat-lover extraordinare, Hope! 🙂

Gio Cat – The E-Mart of Cat Cafes

At first glance, Gio Cat in Hongdae, is what every crazy cat lady in training dreams of.  There are a plethora of cats strolling around, laying on people’s laps, hiding, and sleeping on the giant jungle gym.  I was giddy with excitement at the prospect of hanging out with so many of my favorite creatures. First step, order coffee.  That’s when I learned the first hard truth about Gio Cat: entrance to the cafe costs 8,000 won per person.  This also covers one coffee or tea, so i feel that this fee is somewhat justified seeing as they do have to feed and care for so many cats.  When we were seated, we got a laminate describing each cat’s story.  There were almost 40 felines in total.  A cat lover’s dream come true?  Not quite.  There may be close to 40 cats in this cafe, but there may have been just as many women vying for the cats’ attention.  Mind you, my visits were on the weekends. So, the second cold hard truth that i recognized: competition.   I thought I had an edge seeing as I have my own two cats at home.  I’ve always seen myself as a cat love professional.  Apparently there are more of us out there than I realized.  I noticed that some of the badly dressed cafe patrons seemed to have an edge over others (read: me), when the third hard truth dawned on me: cat love ain’t free (at gio cat, anyway).  these women weren’t badly dressed.  They were all wearing the same grey, over sized rental skirts that must’ve been laced with cat nip or the essence of tuna.  Those lucky enough to don these magical skirts were the belles of the cat ball.  So overall, if you are interested in a “hands on” cat petting and hugging experience this may not be the best place to go.  it’s more of a place to be a cat spectator.  Kind of like going to a basketball game.  You can watch, but you can’t really run out to the court and play.  On the other hand, if you are in the market for a lady friend this place is teeming with college girls giddy from overdosing on cat cuteness.  Gio cat, I give you a C+

Sand Cat Cafe

The Sand Cat Cafe is a mellow little cafe that’s easy to miss admist the construction surrounding the building.  In contrast to Gio Cat, there are only a handful of cats at this tasteful and cozy cafe.  What the cafe lacks in quantity, they more than make up for in quality.  the two siamese cats are very playful and friendly.  They were eager to climb onto our table to play and get to know each new patron.  we were told that the beautiful white cat (who was a bit standoffish) had 4 week old kittens.  The owner was kind enough to bring them out and let us hold them in the palm of our hands.  To review, the pluses at the sand cat cafe: the owner and staff are warm, they serve wine and beer (unlike the dry Gio Cat Cafe), the setting is quiet enough to read or study, there is no entrance fee, and the cats actually come to you to play.  I will continue to frequent the Sand Cat Cafe, but I can never compare the company of these cats with that of my own.  molly and reiko are the best company and I honestly have to say that their room is the coolest cat hangout in Seoul.  I bet Gio Cats and Sand Cats don’t wear hanboks on Chuseok =(^.^)=



  1. How do you get to sand cat? is it near hongik park?
    gio cat was a little bit much…

  2. Unfortunately Sand Cat has closed. There are a few others in Hongdae though, I’ll try to find out the location for you.

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