Cats by the Hour? The Cat Café Culture of Tokyo

By

6th Nov, 2012

Tokyo: a supercity of the future with unique culture, entertainment and …. cat cafés. By cat cafés, I mean supervised indoor cat rental (with caramelized lattés).  For a cover charge according to the desired amount of ‘cat time’, guests can cuddle with feline friends while having a catch-up coffee with human friends, surf the net or take pictures of fur balls reclining on top of a drinks machine for that all-important cat blog.

One cat blogger (this exists), and a regular at cat cafés, loves going to see how his favorite cats are growing up. “Cat cafés make me feel nostalgic, because I had cats in my childhood,” he says. “My hobby is photography — I think the cat is one of the best subjects.”

The world’s first cat café opened in Taiwan in 1998 but became a phenomenon in Japan in 2004 when a boom of feline establishments began opening in Osaka and Tokyo, attracting tourists and locals alike. Why? Well it turns out Japanese landlords are pretty much pet-hating demons (sort of) who prohibit animals in most rental apartments in the city. So cat cafés enable young Japanese animals lovers who can’t have pets to get their squee on.

It’s proved so popular that rabbit cafés have even emerged in fashionable areas of the city with a largely female clientele. Although the animal cafés are also an increasingly popular date spot. Japanese are generally known to be quite shy people and young couples find the silent caressing of animals the perfect ice-breaker! Tokyo alone is home to around 50 cat cafés, some of which feature specific cat breeds or styles such as rare breeds, fat cats or ex-stray cats.

The cat "staff" on the menu.

Strict requirements to obtain a license and comply with the regulations of the Animal Treatment/Protection Laws are very much in play here to ensure cleanliness and animal welfare. Guests must also abide by certain in-house rules such as not being permitted to pick the cats up or disturb them during nap time. Many of the cat cafés also take part in raising awareness of cat welfare issues, such as animal cruelty or abandonment.

Although you might catch a staff member enhancing the café experience by strapping on a “cat hat” or two.

Visit a Cat Cafe website here.

Images via OhSoLovely, here, here, and here

:::

MORE CAT-RELATED STUFF:

.

You might also like

Comments

More in Don't Be A TouristEditor's PicksMy Secret Paris

Hot Off the Press

Editor's Picks

cocaevolution

How a Wine and Cocaine Cocktail became Coca Cola

I think by now most of us have heard the story about our world-famous soft drink, Coco-Cola, once containing a significant dose of cocaine until it was removed from the recipe in 1903. But lesser...

Trending 13,477
Processed with VSCO with c7 preset

5 Hidden Paris Enclaves

If you stay in Paris long enough, you'll no doubt end up with your own list of urban secrets. This city is full of them. All Parisians lay claim to favourite hidden spots which they unexpecte...

Trending 15,510
tornade-meteo-photo-ancienne-01 (1)

Fearless Photographs of the First Tornado Chasers

I must have watched the movie Twister nearly 30 times. You could say I was slightly obsessed with the critically-panned 90s blockbuster about storm-chasing starring Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton...

Trending 5,948
sampuru

The Alluring Art of Fake Food in Japan

They say we first eat with our eyes, and no one seems to understand this better than the Japanese restaurant industry. From a pot of thick gravy mid-pour over a perfectly cooked steak to an ice crea...

Trending 11,396