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Cute Canines, Cats Cuddle Café Customers in Crowded Hong Kong

In densely populated Hong Kong, where most people do not have enough space to keep pets, cafés where customers can cuddle a cat and play with a pooch (dog) are gaining popularity. Claudia Blume reports from VOA's Asia News Center in Hong Kong.

Meet Martin, Blue, Pasha and their friends. Eight fox terriers are running around and barking excitedly at customers in Hong Kong's 'Mad Dog Come' Café.

The cozy coffee shop in the city's bustling shopping district of Causeway Bay offers the usual fare of drinks and snacks. But the main reason customers come here is to pat and play with the canine crowd-pleasers.

This university student explains the café's main attraction.

"Play with the dogs, because (in) my house, the regulation is (that you are) not allowed to have a dog," a student says. "It's (These are) the Hong Kong housing regulations. Some of the houses is (are) not allowed to have a dog, to have a pet."

And with an average apartment size of just 45 to 65 square meters, most people in this crowded city simply have no space for a dog, even in buildings that allow tenants to keep pets.

This is why dog-lover Gloria Cho opened the 'Mad Dog Come' café a year ago.

Cho says she wanted to offer a place to people who love dogs but have no space to keep them.

Since the first such café opened two years ago, coffee shops where customers can enjoy a cup of coffee and cuddle a dog or cat are becoming increasingly popular in Hong Kong.

Hong Kongers can now choose between places like 'Good Dog', 'Doggy on the First' or 'Meow Café' to escape the hectic pace of life in the city and find some creature comfort.

And those who already have dogs can bring them along to meet canine friends. 'Mad Dog Come', for example, organizes birthday parties for dogs and has an entire menu of doggy treats, from bone-shaped cookies to doggy spaghetti.