The Power of Meow

April 25, 2008 at 2:31 pm 4 comments

Would you like a bit of cat with your coffee? Wait, come back! Let me rephrase. Ahem.

At Cat Café Calico in Tokyo, which recently celebrated its one-year anniversary, coffee-loving cat fanatics have found a place to enjoy both. For ¥800 (a bit over $8) per hour and a reservation, you can enjoy the company of seventeen gorgeously-groomed felines. They aren’t limited to calicos; you’ll find rare breeds like Russian Blues, Scottish Folds and Persians, as well as some tiger-striped beauties.

According to Japan Times, most of the café’s visitors aren’t allowed to have cats in their apartment buildings, so they love the chance to interact with pets in a clean, fun environment while reading a book or knocking back some java. Some customers already have cats at home but enjoy meeting breeds they’ve never seen before. The atmosphere is soothing, quiet and tranquil, with a limited amount of people allowed inside at a time, but it’s definitely popular (hundreds stop by on the weekends; less during the week) and growing more so every day.

Guests must be at least ten years old and play gently with the cats, which are typically friendly and like all the attention. Cats are “retired” when they reach eight to ten years old, but don’t worry, that’s not as ominous as it sounds! The owner of Cat Café Calico, a kind 30-something man named Takafumi Fukui, has plans to open other locations strictly for the older cats.

Some bloggers believe the cafe does nothing to fix the problem of Japan’s thousands of strays, as it doesn’t accept cats off the street.

At least two other cat cafes have opened in the city in the past year, creating a mini-boom. Theme restaurants are not exactly a new concept in Japan. Previously, Himawari wrote about Maid Cafes, and there’s always Christon Café, the Jesus-themed restaurant.

Perhaps strangest of all to my western eyes are the yaoi cafes, which celebrate teenage boy-on-boy love and cater to otaku female comic fans.

I think I’ll stick with the cats.

Sarah S.

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April 2008