A beige feline paces between two Gaudi-style columns at the empty 2 Cats cafe in Seoul, with upturned stools standing on the tables where humans sat to play with them in pre-virus days.
Along with coffee, South Korea’s animal cafes offer the chance to cuddle companion creatures like dogs or cats for customers who cannot keep one themselves.
Business has been devastated by the coronavirus outbreak, with South Koreans staying at home under social distancing guidelines, and tourism disappearing.
But unlike other firms, these cafes cannot lay off staff as they have to look after the animals.
Many also provide encounters with more exotic species. Meerkats and raccoons are particularly popular — both have behavior patterns endearing to human eyes — although the trade in these creatures faces heavy opposition from animal rights groups.