3. Meow Parlour

Photograph by Ethan Covey via Meow Parlour

Sigmund Freud said, “Time spent with cats is never wasted.” Take it from the father of psychology, and work a little time with a furry friend into your busy schedule at New York’s first and most popular cat cafe, the Lower East Side‘s Meow Parlour. It was founded by pastry chef Christina Ha, who previously ran the East Village patisserie Macaron Parlour.

Photograph by Ethan Covey via Meow Parlour

The idea for the cafe started to blossom when Ha and her husband discovered a stray cat, whom they named Mr. Socks. They soon adopted two more cats, named Pickle and Bobo, and later on, several more stray kittens. Soon enough, Ha found herself daydreaming about starting a pastry shop where patrons could socialize with cats while they munched on macarons.

As of 2014, that dream became a reality. New York City’s health regulations make it impossible for the food to actually be made in the same vicinity where the cats are kept, so the cafe is split into two spaces—one that houses only cats, and another that serves food.

Inside the cat section of the cafe, you can sit on the floor and play with the ten or so felines that wander around the vicinity. Many of the cats at Meow Parlour are older cats adopted from shelters, and the cafe often takes in cats that have difficulty finding homes. Now, with endless rotations of patrons ready to pet and coo over them, every cat at the Parlour has a constant supply of love.

But don’t get any ideas: the cats will do as they please, and whether or not they come to sleep in your lap is entirely up to them. “In ancient times cats were worshiped as gods,” wrote Terry Pratchett. “They have not forgotten this.”