KUALA LUMPUR: Pet cafés are remarkably popular nowadays. While many were badly affected by the pandemic, business has fortunately picked up again, and there are now numerous places catering to human and animal patrons all over the country.
Most of these pet cafés feature dogs or cats, and sometimes reptiles: Furrito Haus Café and Pet Mart in Seri Kembangan, however, stands out of the pack by hosting a real-life alpaca!
Named Snowy, this 16-month-old South American mammal is undoubtedly the star of the place, with many visitors popping by to take photos with him.
According to his owner, Jessie Wong, taking care of an alpaca can be quite an experience.
“They can have quite a temper. You have to speak to it with patience and calm. Otherwise, they can spit on you! But I love him like my son,” a beaming Wong told FMT Lifestyle.
Don’t worry: Snowy hasn’t spit on any customers so far, with only Wong and Chin feeling the brunt of his occasional temper!
Wong, who is married to Furrito Haus Café proprietor Ricky Yan, said she was inspired to pick up her unusual pet after reading blog posts from alpaca owners in China. A self-professed huge animal lover, she ended up buying Snowy from Australia soon after that.
Snowy now lives with Wong and her family in nearby Sri Kembangan. He is brought to the cafe every morning, which functions as a sort of “daycare” for him.
The alpaca is not the only animal guest here: Furrito Haus Café also features a veritable menagerie of furry and scaly creatures: these include hedgehogs, chinchillas, snakes, meerkats, two giant poodles and even a skunk named Scooby. Don’t worry, he’s friendly and doesn’t spray.
“We offer quite a different concept for visitors, who are welcome to bring their own pets, or interact with the animals we have. We are the first alpaca-friendly café in Malaysia,” said the café’s manager Chin Wan Jun.
Wong said that hygiene and health were of top priority here: all their animals are vaccinated, and are frequently seen by veterinarians. Their space is also regularly sanitised, and top measures are always taken to ensure the premises are clean and safe. And as their café is run by animal lovers, all the animals here are treated with tender love and care.
Food-wise, the café offers a mix of Western and Asian cuisine.
Their signature dish, the HK Series Spicy Claypot Chicken, is a must try, its tender meat packing just the right level of heat. Other highlights are the Traditional Curry Noodles set and the Nasi Lemak with Tempura Fish Fillet.
If you’re in the mood for lighter fare, this is also a great place for coffee and desserts. The Nutella Banana Crepe is a particular treat, its soft layers simply melting in your mouth, and the Waffle with Butter and Maple Syrup a simple yet satisfying snack.
Their drink selection is also refreshing: try out the Blue Lagoon Frizz, a zesty concoction of blue curacao and lychee.
There’s also food for our animal friends: lucky visitors may get the chance to feed Snowy some kibble, or vegetables such as green beans or carrot slices.
Wong said they were looking to expand their place in the future, to feature more facilities for visitors. There were also plans to get another alpaca to keep Snowy company.
“Most of the time, Malaysians will have to go to a zoo if they want to see an alpaca, and that can be a bit expensive, especially if you have a large family. They are welcome to stop by here!” Wong said.
So the next time you’re in Sri Kembangan, do drop in to say hello (or “Alpa ca-bar?”) to Snowy and his buddies. You might end up making a new animal friend or two.
Furrito Haus Café and Pet Mart
27, Jalan Equine 10
43300 Seri Kembangan
Business hours: 11am-10pm (closed on Thursdays)