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First Cat Cafe in Gaza Brings Comfort and Joy Amidst Conflict

The global cat cafe trend, where people can play with adorable furry animals while sipping coffee, has found its way to besieged and war-torn coastal lands. Inspired by her love for cats and the global cat cafe trend, Naeema M’bed (53 years old), a Palestinian woman, has achieved a unique feat by becoming the first person in the Gaza Strip to open a cat cafe, “MEOW Cat Cafe.”

M’bed began her talk by explaining the impact of cats on her in terms of relieving psychological stress and tension, saying: “I worked in international and local institutions in humanitarian projects for a long time, more than 20 years. I felt how much people need activities that relieve them of psychological tension and stress, and remove depression resulting from the situation in Gaza that we all know.”

M’bed, meanwhile, clarified that the situation of the Gaza Strip under siege and war has caused many psychological problems for citizens, the main ones being stress, sadness, and depression. And she, as a cat breeder from a young age, always found relief from this stress and depression by looking after and playing with cats. Therefore, it occurred to her that there certainly are people for whom cats have had the same effect, so she thought about a project in the Gaza Strip to help relieve people of stress and depression.

The Café is Home to Multiple Cat Breeds

Cats are a natural antidepressant, as there are many researches and studies that prove this on the Internet. We also read about them supplying positive energy to people and relieving them from negative energy. From this point of view came the idea of Meow Cat Cafe, which is the first cafe in the Gaza Strip and in Palestine.

The cafe is home to 14 cats, including Persian, Turkish Angora, and hybrid felines. It is entirely cat-themed, with mirrors, flower vases, and posters of the 14 resident cats that are available for all to caress and play with.

Customers Enjoy Beverage with Their Feline Friends

What distinguishes the cafe is the unique activities within it, namely the presence of cats among people as they enjoy their favorite drinks. The cafe comprises two corners: a seating corner that contains cold and hot drinks and simple sweets, and a cat corner that is separated by a glass wall. Visitors can enter the cat’s corner, play with the cats, pet them, or sit in the other corner and have their favorite drink.

M’bed went on to talk about the cats in the place, saying: “The cats I have gathered from friends and cats I have raised at home. Each one has a name known to the audience, so whoever came once came again at the same time asking for the same cat so they could play with it, meaning there was an emotional bond between them and the cat present in the place. I aspire that this project is repeated in several places in the Gaza Strip.”

Several kids expressed happiness over the opening of the cafe. However, some people are not impressed with the new idea. They reportedly argued on social media platforms that most residents were too poor to welcome such an idea in Gaza.

Dr. Reem Moussa, a cafe visitor, admired the idea of the Meow Cafe and described it. “Coming to Meow Cafe is a beautiful family experience with excellence. We can come with our children and enjoy watching them while they have fun with great happiness. For me, I don’t like to carry the cat, but I like to watch it. While my daughters love cats very much. At the Meow Cafe, I can come here and see my daughters thrilled playing with the cats safely.” Moussa hoped that people would be welcoming to the concept and accept such thoughts, as well as hoping that there would be innovative ideas in the future.

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