A Russian cafe is offering customers the chance to enjoy a hot drink while playing with their feline residents.  Visitors can play with the furry animals at the cats art cafe Cats Republic in St. Petersburg.

The owners currently have eight residents – four of them came from the State Hermitage Museum, where they used to hunt mice. The other four are purebreds acquired from breeders.

The cafe, which is popular with children and adults alike, measures visitors with a ‘cat-metre’ as well as calculating tier age in ‘cat years.’  The main rule of the cat cafe is that visitors should not try and interact or pet a cat if they seem unwilling to engage.

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The concept is springing up across the world – there are similar cafes in Japan and Europe. There are now around 40 such establishments in Tokyo alone since the first cat cafe opened in 1998.

As well as the feline residents, there is also a cat library and an exhibition area, covered in photos and pictures of cats. For true cat lovers there are relevant items to purchase such as pillows and photo frames.