Must like cats … and truly great vegetarian food … and places off the beaten path … and, well, cats … lots of them, seventy-two to be precise. Jack’s Cat Cafe offers quality vegetarian fare in a shaded, spacious oasis of trees, ponds and pagodas where the cats roam free and you can kick back, relax and enjoy a cold bevy or a bite.
The cat sanctuary itself is the bold initiative of Emma Bolton and Phong Nguyen and they have added an outdoor dining experience unlike any other in HoiAn. Between the rustic benches, Japanese Pagoda, extensive garden and the pond filled with Koi and catfish, it’s not just the cats who have places to explore and lounge.
Situated towards the back of the courtyard are some picnic tables and umbrellas, and blown-up, ready to go, is a paddle pool for any babes that come for a visit. It is no surprise that Jack’s is the new home for Hoi An’s Moms’ weekly meet-up on Wednesdays.
Jack’s Cat Cafe has a wonderful little vegetarian/vegan menu that changes up fairly regularly. I enjoyed the guacamole on rye. I’m a pretty good judge of guacamole after spending five years living in Mexico, and this guac was mighty tasty. The pineapple salsa had a lovely zip of sweet n’ spicy, and the curried egg wrap smelled divine.
Unless you invite Emma to dine with you – when, Pied Piper-like, it’s open season and the kitties pounce – you’ll not be fighting off felines in order to enjoy your lunch. Considering many have been saved from illness, neglect or abandonment and most have been rescued from the Vietnamese cat and dog meat trade this is unsurprising.
It’s not unusual to see the snatchers cruising the neighborhoods of Hoi An, nets ‘n’ cages to catch and pots ‘n’ pans to sell. But when the going price of these beloved animals is $25 US/kilo for dogs and $35 US/kilo for cats, well, it makes the snatching and catching business distressingly lucrative.
Back on the flip side of this awful coin, the amazing Emma and Phong do what they can to bring awareness and education to the people of Vietnam, and of course love and comfort to the animals in their care. The only way this rescue continues to run is by the hard work of these two, who both hold separate jobs to help finance things, and by the generous donations of compassionate people and the volunteers who come to help run the cafe and rescue. If this isn’t another amazing reason to come and check out the offerings of Jack’s Cat Cafe, I’m not sure what is.
And for more information on Jacks Cat Cafe’s history, check out Hoi An Now’s An Inspiring Story of 72 Rescued Strays.
100,000vnd entrance fee which includes a free drink of your choice
Hours: 11am – 3pm. Closed Sundays & Mondays
Add: Le Hong Phong St, see Facebook page for directions
Tel: +84 (0) 975 832 515
Facebook: Jack’s Cat Cafe
Photos: Sharon Guest and Stuart Neal