Nur Iqa had always had an affinity towards animals. It all began with her first pet, a cat that her family adopted when she was just four years old. 

Never could she imagine how such a small ball of fur could have an immense impact in her life; it gave her joy and fulfillment, it taught her responsibility, but most importantly, according to Nur Iqa, it taught her to have compassion for animals. 

Image: Nurhana Diah

Fast forward a number of decades later, now married, a mother of three and a parent of over 50 cats, Nur Iqa and her husband Mohammad Haziman have opened a cat cafe of their own. 

Neko Purradice K@tfe had their soft opening back in March of this year and was established as a means to share the couple’s love for cats as well as a platform to teach visitors of the joy that animals can give, the care that they need and ultimately, the importance of having empathy towards them. 

Image: Nurhana Diah
Image: Nurhana Diah

“There were a few years where we weren’t able to adopt any pets, we had a few when we first got married but as our first child came, we had to give them away, to someone that was better able to care for them,” she said. 

“In 2015, when our children were old enough to understand the responsibility, we adopted the first cat that started all of this, a big white and black Persian we named Louis and it has been with us since,” added the teacher. 

Image: Nurhana Diah
Image: Nurhana Diah

Louis, Nur Iqa admitted, was the one that reignited her innate passion towards caring for animals, which spread to her husband and subsequently opened the door for the couple to bolster their animal advocacy and adopt more cats, a number of which were strays. 

“Of course there is a cost to taking care of more than 50 cats, its a huge responsibility but animals are God’s creations as well, so I believe that we receive as much as we give, the happiness that these animals give to us, it is immeasurable,” she continued. 

Image: Nurhana Diah

“Its also made our family closer, we’ve taught our family to be kind to all animals, so we shoulder this responsibility together, and help as many strays as we can, dogs and puppies as well because they deserve compassion too,” added Nur Iqa. 

Neko Purradice K@tfe: A feline sanctuary

Being the latest cat cafe in town, Nekko Purradice opened to much fanfare with most of their visitors comprising of families along with their children and elderly who share the same love of felines. 

Opened only on Sundays and during public holidays, the K@tfe can accommodate 15 people per tour and is a wonderland of a playground where customers are able to interact directly with 20 or so of Nur Iqa and Mohammad Haziman’s cats. 

Image: Nurhana Diah

Mohammad Haziman shared that due to Nekko Purradice being intended as a platform to raise awareness on animals, the design of the cat cafe had to be comfortable for the tenants, to make them happy and to reduce stress. 

Prior to the pandemic, the family would visit a number of cat cafes overseas including Malaysia, Japan and South Korea, hoping to find a design inspiration that would help create a “free space” for cats and humans to intermingle peacefully with one another.  

Image: Nurhana Diah

Currently, Neko Purradice only serves refreshments which can be enjoyed relaxingly in a lounge area separated from the cat playground by a glass wall. 

The aquarium effect, allow individuals, especially those who are allergic, to enjoy the felines at a safe distance, while simultaneously protecting the cats from any human food or drinks that would otherwise be harmful to them.

Image: Nurhana Diah
Image: Nurhana Diah

At any given time, there are 20 varieties of cats that are present in the cat playroom, all of which can be played with, cuddled with and taken a selfie with the customers with supervision of course. The cats’ availability will change from the week to week depending on their health. 

Some of the cat varieties featured include Persian Flatnose, Himalayan, Bengal, British Shorthair, Exotic Shorthair, Scottish Fold, Burmese, Golden British Shorthair, Scottish Shorthair, and Maine Coon, to name a few. 

Image: Nurhana Diah
Image: Nurhana Diah

Cat treats are also available at 50 cents, for customers who wish feed the adorable fur babies as well as to get their attention. An array of cat toys are also available. 

Entrance fee charges are $5 for adults and $4 for children ages 12 and under. No charges are incurred for children under one year old.

Image: Nurhana Diah

Neko Purradice K@tfe invites all the cat lovers out there to visit them and play with the furry friends that they have and to give them all the love and attention that they deserve. For more details, follow their Instagram @nekopurradice.

This article was first published on 24 July 2021 in our Weekly E-Paper issue 151

THE BRUNEIAN | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

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