Russia: Paying by the minute to cuddle cats

Customers fondle a cat at Kis-Kis Cafe

Siberians seeking cheer from the long dark winter are paying to cuddle cats at a new cafe in the city of Krasnoyarsk, it seems.

The Kis-Kis Cafe - the name means Here, Kitty Kitty - charges a couple of pennies a minute to pet a cat, and is the first of its kind in this vast region of eastern Russia, Rossiya 1 TV reports. Owner Irina Maximova lauded the therapeutic effect of stroking a cat, saying "the purring calms the heart and reduces headaches".

The cafe takes stray cats from the local Khvostiki (Tails) shelter and seeks good homes for them, so some customers could end up with a furry takeaway. One customer says she can't keep a cat at home and expects to visit the cafe frequently to "cut the stress of urban living". Other Russian cities have set up similar cafes, and Ms Maximova hopes to link them into a nationwide non-profit network to teach the public how to care for cats.

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