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April 24, 2012 at 12:17 PMComments: 6 Faves: 1

Grab a Latte and Relax at the Cat Cafe

By Bri Luginbill More Blogs by This Author

Picture your favorite coffee house where you sip your favorite drink while watching the steam rise from the glass. People are coming in and out ordering lattes to go or to stay. Friends meet you there and you have a quick chat about how you are doing. Well, now picture that but with cats sitting on chairs, sofas, tables, etc.

How could someone not love this kind of cafe?!

The Origin

These cafés were invented to calm the stresses of the working woman. And this stress affects a good amount of Japanese women. In a 2007 survey, 41.3% admitted that the majority of their stress came from work. So, after a long, hard day at the office, women can stop in, order a decaf mocha latte (or whatever they prefer) and cuddle up to a friendly kitty of their choice to de-stress for the day.

If cuddling isn't the right therapy for that day, customers can also choose to play around with the cats. They can either use the cat toys provided at the cafe or bring their own!

One satisfied customer expresses how she feels about this place, "I love cats, but I can't have one at home because I live in a small apartment. I started coming here because I really missed having fun with cats and touching them."

But these women aren't the only ones that benefit from this, most of the cats would be homeless without the cafes help. In a way the cafe serves as a shelter for them.


The Controversy

There is much debate over whether these cafés are animal rights friendly. Some animal rights activists are up in arms about these types of businesses.They believe all that it's too much stimulation for these cats to be constantly pet and played with all day. Because of their concern, a law has come into effect for all businesses that display animal. This law states that  these companies should close by 8pm. There's a little problem with closing this early for the cat café - most of its customers commute to work and won't make it into the cafe until after 8pm.

Customers WANT the cafe to stay open late. "If I close this cafe at 8:00 pm, I'll see red ink," said the owner.

The saleswomen say the cats are treated very well and never seem overstimulated. Most of the cats sleep during the day since all their customers are at work. When it hits a certain time at night, the lights are also dimmed. This way the cats can have a sense of night and being done for the day.

So should it be closed down at 8pm or does it really matter if the cats are able to relax during the day? Honestly, I'm not 100% sure what my answer would be.

I will leave you with the words of a wise woman: "After a long day at work, I just want to stroke cats and relax.” -saleswoman Akiko Harada.

UPDATE: Cat Cafes Have Expanded to Vienna! Click HERE to read more and check out pictures of that location.

Sources:

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5ja1cDIbjmF2HNuMr6o1fa0fAva1g?docId=CNG.948a2cf5c9e4b1bd3f984c4d2465ab3a.3c1
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/fl20120324cz.html
http://www.deccanchronicle.com/channels/world/asia/uncertain-future-japans-cat-cafes-291
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/wellbeing/9204746/Anxiety-a-very-modern-malaise.html
http://whatjapanthinks.com/2007/03/06/working-japanese-women-and-stress/
http://www.psfk.com/2012/04/tokyo-cat-cafe.html

Photo Credit:

PSFK, AFP/File, Toru Yamanaka

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6 Comments

  • I would totally go to a cat cafe! I was actually thinking last night how I'd love to be able to go hang out at an animal shelter or something like that and just play with the cats while working on puzzles. I don't think it's cruel so long as someone is sure that the cats are not being abused by patrons, are able to get up and leave to a private area if they want privacy, and are well cared for in off hours. But if they're covering their bases and making sure the cats are taken care of, this makes way better sense than cats being stuck in a shelter.

  • I agree with dave! Cat cafes are pretty much an amazing idea! I mean unless you were allergic to cats, why WOULDN'T you want happy furry cats prancing around? I think the law of making them close at 8 is dumb,,,,why not just have a back room that the cats have constant access too? Then they could sleep or just chill without human interaction for as long as they wanted. It's de-stressing people and saving lives of cats! Awesome!

  • I'm confused, I guess. What is wrong with over-stimulation? Does it make the cats neurotic or something? I loved playing with the cats I had growing up. Should I have put a time limit on my activities with them? This sounds like complainers needing something to complain about: "Oh, you're not abusing cats and making them stay in small cages anymore? Hmm.... Well, we don't like you playing with your cats that much!" Why not let these cats enjoy themselves rather than be cooped up in cages?

  • Cats are nocturnal animals, they prefer to sleep during the day and be active at night. I believe "these people" that are putting up the fuss need to first understand the natural clock of a cat. This is perfect for them, the women that come to the café and the owners of the café. Let them be :-)

  • I know of a few cats who never get enough stimulation. It might be good, though, to have a designated room where just the cats go in case they get sick of people. Several wildlife refuges do this in areas where you're allowed to touch the animals. I went and swam with manatees in Florida last year, and we were allowed to swim alongside them and touch them, but they also had a specific roped-off area where only they could go when they got tired of people. Why not do the same with cats?

  • There's this new age shop I go to for my favorite incense and they have a shop cat there. From a marketing standpoint, it's really smart - having a cat there makes going to that shop feel like visiting a friend. It creates an emotional bond. From an animal lover's standpoint - it makes going there that much more enjoyable. And the kitty loves it! He's free to go around the store getting all the attention he wants or to head to the storage area when he wants to be alone. I wish more businesses would have animals around!

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