A phenomenon first in Asia, cat cafes are opening everywhere, with coffee, couches and kitties galore.

By Amy Lynch; Photographer: Jeremy Kramer

There is no middle ground when talking cat cafes. Tell friends you are going to sip tea surrounded by felines, and you will consistently receive one of two responses: Aww, so cute! or Ugh, my worst nightmare.

"To each his own," laughs Selena Hubbard, who launched Nine Lives Cat Cafe in Indianapolis with her dad, Eric. "I don't hold anything against them. They're free to come in just for coffee. We can still be friends!"

Nine Lives Cat Cafe
Selena Hubbard

At Nine Lives, visitors hang in a comfy, sunny room with 10 or so cats, getting a quick hit of cuddle therapy along with their caffeine. There's no pressure to take one home-but if you want to, the cafe's residents are all available for adoption. Nine Lives has found homes for nearly 200 cats from the Humane Society of Indianapolis.

Try it Out

Because your curiosity could save a cat.

The Cafe Meow, Minneapolis

This cafe was inspired by the Cat Video Festival (a Twin Cities cult-fave).

This indie nonprofit does its own rescues and has found homes for, on average, 1.3 cats per day.

Catfe Lounge, Ferndale, Michigan

Opened by the Ferndale Cat Shelter in 2015, this metro Detroit nonprofit was the state's first permanent cat cafe.

Eat, Purr, Love Cat Cafe, Columbus, Ohio

Visitors (who can score happy hour admission discounts) tackle kitty coloring sheets or nosh on vegan baked goods.

Do and Don't

Do Make a reservation. Most cat lounges tend to fill up on the weekends; at Nine Lives, $5 gets you an hour inside.

Don't Feel compelled to go in the cat room. You can just hang in the cafe at Nine Lives and watch the cat ladies (and gents) have their fun through a window.

Do Hit the hand sanitizer on the way in and out. And maybe pack a lint roller in your bag.

Don't Force interaction. These are cats, after all. They get to call the shots.