Intelligent personality, loving companionship, and charming and striking appearance of several breeds of imported cat bewitch many Hanoians even when they are costly.

Rare breeds of cat – like the Somali, American Curl and the French Chartreux – are most preferred by the middle-class in the city, even when each of them can cost up to tens of millions of VND.

Meanwhile, Arabian, UK and Russian cat breeds with cheaper prices, ranging from 500,000 VND to a few million VND each, are favoured by ordinary people.

A pet shop owner in Hoang Hoa Tham street, which houses a cluster of pet shops, revealed that the Somali is expensive as is has an intelligent personality, large ears and meows gently. The breed has a striking, bushy tail, which, combined with their ruddy coat, has earned them the nickname of "fox cats".

The American Curl wins the hearts of cat lovers with its unusual ears, which curl back from the face toward the centre of the back of the head, while Chartreux cats are lovely for their blue-grey water-resistant short hair double-coats which often look like a sheepskin and have orange or copper-coloured eyes.

As the pet cat trend is growing, more new pet shops have been opened, concentrating mostly in the old-age Buoi market, which is a fantastic local market of flowers, plants, kitties and puppies on Hoang Hoa Tham street, and Truong Chinh street.

In addition, shops selling food and decorative items for cat and websites specialising in cats have mushroomed as well.

A cat coffee shop was also established near West Lake where customers go not only for coffee but also to admire the beautiful kittens and to buy or sell or care for their cats.

And, care services for these cats, through not popular yet, are now available at a cat and dog hotel owned by Nguyen Bao Sinh.

Sinh said he invested 5 billion VND to build the “five-star” six-storey dog and cat hotel with each floor covering 100 sq. m.

Equipped with air conditioners, a lift, a swimming pool, a path for walking dogs and cats and a surveillance camera and connected to the Internet, the hotel also boasts fashion rooms to dry and curl dogs and cats’ coats and cut and trim their nails.
Sinh said his main customers – diplomats and foreign businesspeople who work and live in Vietnam as well as rich Vietnamese families – come to his hotel to seek his help when they return home for holidays, Tet or just on business.

These days, Sinh said his animal hotel is always packed./.