Imagine this – you live in a massive city in one of the most densely-populated countries in the world. You’ve just worked a long, excruciating 12-hour work day and you are about to hop on a train to begin your hour-long commute back home. After a bumpy and crowded train ride, you arrive home to your small, one-room apartment and collapse onto your bed for a bit of sleep before you have to wake up and do it all over again.
You do this day after day, until you start to wear thin. You’d love a little companion – a cat maybe? You had one as a kid, but your apartment complex doesn’t allow pets. All you want to do is hold a warm, purring kitty. Some coffee doesn’t sound too bad either. So what do you do? You head over to a cat café for some well-deserved R&R time!
What Are Cat Cafés?
To put it simply, cat cafés are places where you can sit back, drink coffee or tea, and play with a dozen little balls of fluff. Most of these cafés have tables, chairs, and couches – so you can lounge by yourself or sit with a group of friends. Cat toys are available just about everywhere and for a small fee you can feed your favorite cat a snack.
Although having fluff balls walking around a food establishment might seem like a bad idea, cat cafés have become an international phenomenon! Every year they gain more and more popularity as a place for over-crowded city dwellers to get their minds off of everyday worries and relax.
In most places across Japan (and other countries where they’re beginning to pop up,) pets aren’t allowed in apartments or houses. Although cats and dogs are more common in smaller cities and countryside villages, they’re hard to come by in metropolitan areas like Tokyo.
Where Can I Find a Cat Café?
If you’re going on vacation to Japan and want to experience a cat café firsthand – fear not! They’re super easy to find! If you are going to be traveling in Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima, or another large city, just type “cat café” into your Google maps app and a variety of options will start popping up in every direction!
There are several different types of cat cafés to choose from. Some offer a luxury experience for a higher hourly fee, while others are simple, cozy and cheap. There are even a few that have specialty breeds that you can visit and play with.
When you’re picking a café to visit, be sure to check all of the details before heading in. Most cafés offer drinks and food, but not all do. By the same token, some charge hourly, while others charge by the minute. Make sure that $1 per-minute price (~100 円) is what you were expecting. There’s nothing worse than giving your ticket to the front desk as you’re leaving and suddenly being faced with a $100 bill!
I Found a Cat That I Love – What Do I Do?
What do you do if you find a cat you love? Well, duh – ADOPT IT!
Cat cafés are more than just places to relax – most of them also allow patrons to adopt their cats! A lot of these establishments work in collaboration with local shelters and rescues. These cafés give shelters a place to put their cats while they are waiting to be adopted. This is a win-win for everyone! The cafés make money, shelters don’t become overcrowded, and kitties can live in luxury instead of tiny cages.
Another great benefit of going to a cat café before adopting is that you can play with all of the kitties before making a choice. Cuddle the older cats, play with the young ones, feed the chunky ones, and find a furrever friend that you really connect with.
Most cat cafés will only adopt out their cats to people living in Japan. Sometimes they even limit adoptions to people in the same city or prefecture. However, there are plenty of exceptions out there if you are determined to adopt that little bundle of fluff. If you want to adopt, it’s also worth looking into cat cafés in your own country. Ever since they became popular in Japan, more and more cat cafés have been popping up around the world. Take a look around! There might be one closer than you think.