The Popular New Way to Say Hello Kitty: Japan's Cat Cafes
Visitors to this cafe won’t find laptops, phones or a bustling environment of socializing. Instead they must scrub their hands, remove shoes (common for Japanese homes but not public spaces), and slip into light slippers as they enter a space of climbing walls, scratching posts, furry mice, and sticks with feathers. Everything is set up and readily available to entertain the main attraction: cats.
Felines of all breeds live in cat cafes, a popular concept in cities across Japan. Many apartment residents aren’t allowed to have pets in their small spaces, or they work too much to take care of an animal. Patrons stop by on their way home from work during the week. Some spend a few hours on the weekend enjoying companionship with their favorite feline. These cafes offer an opportunity for animal attention and relaxation in bustling urban environments.
Cat cafes started opening in Japan in 2004, and now there are nearly 100 across the country. Patrons pay an hourly rate of $8 to $12 to enjoy the calm atmosphere and escape from daily stress. Some locations offer unlimited daily time for a higher rate, drink (and additional cat attention) included. Beverages are available for purchase and ample reading material is found around the room.
Cat cafes offer a respite from work pressure and provide furry companionship to occasional lonesomeness. Regular visitors love the ability to relax, interact, and play with their favorite animals. The growth of cat cafes in recent years demonstrates the concept provides something valuable to Japanese culture. Other rental animal services found throughout the country include dog, bunny, bird and goat cafes.
What about all that cat hair? As a country known for cleanliness, there is no shortage of hand sanitizers, vacuums, brushes and sinks available. Litter boxes are well-maintained and air fresheners are abundant. All animals are vaccinated and well-fed since this type of business is strictly regulated by Japanese law. Every cafe is odorless and well-maintained with pristine care.Continued on the next page