We all have our moments when we just need to unwind with a warm beverage in hand and just watch the day pass us by slowly. Doesn’t that paint a comforting picture? Now imagine doing so with the addition of some little furry buddies playing around. If that sounds like something you would fancy, check out these animal-friendly cafes in town where you can get a good cup of coffee with a huge side of cuteness, as compiled by Anith Adilah Othman.
Animal-themed cafes are slowly gaining notoriety in Phnom Penh for being a hangout spot on Sundays due to the very services they offer: food, beverages and the companionship of precious little animals.
Due to our nature as tactile creatures, humans put high importance on the sense of touch. It is not about the sensation alone. Touching allows bonding between two entities. In fact, a slew of studies suggested that humans can experience lesser amount of pain and anxiety when touched by those they trust and love. This is probably why our hearts just feel so full when our furry buddies do anything even remotely adorable.
Named after the Khmer word for ‘cat’, the cafe is situated on St. 178, right opposite of the Royal University of Fine Arts. The doors of the cafe open up to a cosy space with a lot of sunlight spilling in, thanks to its large glass window panes. You will also be greeted by tens of friendly furries as soon as you step into the quaint place. Chhma Catfé is home to various breeds of cats – from Siamese, Persian, Sphynx to Bengal cats – all owned by 30-year-old Chhorn Sovanda. His love for cats had driven him to travel across the world just to visit other popular cat cafes and to look for the rarest cat breeds to bring home. The cafe also offers a variety of tea and coffee-based drinks and a handful of dessert options for you to enjoy while playing with the cheeky cats. If you are lucky, you might even get the chance to catch the ‘house celebrity’ Mr. Ming at the cafe.
Location: St. 178, Sangkat Chey Chum Neas
Operating hours: Mon – Sun from 8am – 9pm
Cat U House
If there was a contest for the most Instagram-able spot in Phnom Penh, this cute little joint would easily take the cake. Everything about its aesthetics is truly pleasant to the eyes – from the fur-trimmed seats, to the clear acrylic swing chair hanging from the ceiling, to the pink-and-white ball pits and the flamingo-inspired decors. Owned by Chinese-born Larry Lee, 27, Cat U House carefully separates the felines into an air-conditioned room on the left of the cafe as to not disrupt its food and beverages operations. The cafe also offers an extensive selection of drinks including the latest craze – cheese tea. If the cute cats and the yummy drinks were not enough to make you stay, you can also have a go at the arcade game for a fun round or two. End your visit on a happier note by trying your luck at the claw machine, you might even leave with adorable plushies.
Location: St. 57, Boeung Keng Kang 1
Operation hours: Mon – Sun from 9am – 9pm
Ministry of Cat
Ministry of Cat may be the latest addition to the array of cat-dedicated cafes in town but it sure has made a name for itself within the local animal-lover community. Co-owned by Adolfo Perez-Gascon and partner Georgia Murphy, this joint offers a slightly unique experience. In their own words, Ministry of Cat is a rescue cat cafe which is also an adoption center. Thanks to their collaboration with veterinary center Animal Mama, customers actually have the chance to give forever homes to the feline friends here. However, the duo enforces strict rules prior to adoption: potential parents must fill out an application and go through a standard assessment to gauge their chemistry with future furry kid. This, Perez-Gascon said, is to guarantee a happy home for the cats. The rescues at the cafe are fully vaccinated, de-wormed, spay/neutered and not to mention, simply adorable. The owners have also crafted a healthy and delicious vegetarian menu with plenty of vegan options for everyone to enjoy.
Location: St. 442, Sangkat Toul Tompoung
Operation hours: Tue – Sun from 7am – 8pm
If cats are not your cup of tea, fret not because there is another animal-themed cafe that is slightly more daring and niche. As the name suggests, one could easily mistake the cafe for a petting zoo. Following his father’s footsteps, Phnom Penh-born Nay Sokhondara, 27, had always been fond of animals ever since he was a little boy. Today, at his cafe, you can sip on your coffee while learning about various kinds of animals hailing from different corners of the world, from the smallest species of monkey called marmoset, raccoon, hedgehogs, chinchillas and the fennec fox – all of which are the owner’s very own pets. Customers who are interested to get more acquainted with the animals can do so in a special space dubbed the ‘playroom’, a see-through air-conditioned room on the first floor where a bulk of the animals live, sleep and play as family.
Location: St. 432, Sangkat Toul Tompoung
Operation hours: Mon – Sun from 7am – 9pm
Apart from the cafes listed, there are several other animal-friendly joints that you can visit around Phnom Penh. At press time, however, Reptile Cafe which houses numerous exotic animals is under renovation and will be moving to different venue. Additionally, it should be informed that the only dog cafe in Phnom Penh, Le TJ Cafe, no longer houses puppets due to several complications involving the upkeep. They, however, are still operating as a cafe.