Rx to relieve stress: Pet a cat at Mauhaus

DSC00678.JPGThere are any number of ways to reduce stress in your life. Yoga, meditation and exercise are just a few.

Or you can pet a cat.

The New York Times, Social Work Today and WebMD.com have all reported in the past about the benefits of interacting with felines. Stroking a cat’s back will chill you out since the act produces oxytocin, a hormone that reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol. The cat enjoys it, too.

So what to do if you’re full of stress but don’t own a cat? Maybe you’re a flight attendant or a CIA operative and thus away from home for days or weeks on end. After all, spies presumably face stress.

DSC00673.JPGMy advice is to head to Maplewood and Mauhaus Cat Cafe and Lounge at 3101 Sutton Boulevard. It’s basically a coffee shop—with cats. There are two staff cats, Lorelai and Taylor, and another dozen who are available for adoption. The cost to enjoy the company of the Mauhaus cats is reasonable, and far less than therapy.

The reservation fee is $10 per person for one hour in the lounge. It helps Mauhaus cover the cost of maintaining the cat lounge and caring for the cats. That fee also entitles you to a free drink and 20% off any food or additional beverages purchased.

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Mauhaus Cat Cafe owners Ben Triola and Dana Huth.

Mauhaus requires visitors to sign a release form, and they have a few rules. Most are geared toward protecting the cats. You may not pick up a cat or chase one. It’s ok to pet a cat, sleeping or awake, but it’s not cool to wake a cat up to engage it in play. And climbing on the walls is forbidden. To clarify, that rule is only for humans.

When I visited Mauhaus, about half the cats were napping, the others doing normal cat activities, like preening and stretching. Cheech, a skinny beige tabby, stretched out in the front window on his back and allowed a visitor to stroke his head. He seemed pretty relaxed, as did the gentleman doing the petting.

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Cheech.

Such is the attraction of a cat café. Being around self-confident animals seems to chill out the visitors. The space is a bit small, so Mauhaus limits the number of people in the café to 20 at any given time. You can reserve an hour visit in advance. Mauhaus also is available for parties or special events—again limited to 20 people.

And if you are smitten with one of the visiting cats from Stray Haven Rescue, they are all available for adoption. They are current on shots, and have been spayed or neutered, and microchipped.

For more information, visit mauhauscafe.com.

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