America Gets Its First Cat Café (Lawsuit)

By Mike Pomranz |

© steve bly / Alamy

Cat cafés began in Taiwan, rose to prominence in Japan and, in the last year, took America by storm. But as anyone who’s ever hung out with a cat can tell you, they’re unpredictable creatures. So it was probably just a matter of time before we saw our first cat café incident.

Sue Hodges claims a cat named Morpheus bit her while she was visiting the Denver Cat Company. "[Morpheus] flipped onto his back when my mom still had her hand out," the woman’s daughter told 9NEWS. "When she was going down to continue petting him, he bit her on her hand rather aggressively and wouldn't let go for at least 15 to 20 seconds…. When she finally got her hand away, it was bleeding in about 7 or 8 different spots.”

Hodges says she was treated on the premises, but the bite became infected, prompting a $305 trip to an urgent care clinic. She claims she returned to the café and asked for them to cover her medical bills, but the owner, Sana Hamelin, refused, offering to cover only about half of the expense. Now, the cat café is facing a possibly larger expense: The suit demands $5,920 to cover not only the medical bills but also missed work and emotional damages.

Hamelin stands firm on her decision. “We wouldn't be able to survive as a business model if we were opening ourselves up to taking responsibility for a cat's behavior, because we can't guarantee that a cat won't bite or scratch,” she was quoted as saying. “We just let everyone know [petting] is a risk. If they're not willing to take that risk, then they shouldn't pet cats that don't belong to them.”

Maybe there’s a reason society had gone as long as it had without cat cafés.  

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