Before you say, yes, this is just an excuse for me to post lots of photos of cats. #sorrynotsorry.
One thing I loved to treat myself with in Japan was visited to cat cafes. Think of a nice place to sit and drink nice drinks. Take away the tables. Fill the room with cat friendly climbing frames, sofas, toys. This is a cat cafe, and it’s FRICKIN’ AWESOME.
Cat cafes came about in Japan because people there often live in tiny little apartments that don’t allow any kind of pet. So, to get their petting needs, they’ll go to a cat cafe and pretend for a few hours like they have a special feline in their life.
I said that I treated myself to a visit to one of these places because they are pretty expensive – you can expect to may something like 1000 yen to get in, then 600 yen for a drink, with a top up fee of around 500 yen for every extra hour you wish to have at the cafe. And I complain about the entrance fees for museums in Frankfurt!!
Inside, you’ll have usually photos of all the cats with little descriptions about them, including whether they like to be pet and held. I’ve never seen anyone treat the cats badly; the first photo is a typical scene – a woman trying desperately to engage with a cat but the cat wanting nothing to do with the toy nor the girl.
I’ve been to a few cat cafes now – in Tokyo, Nagoya, Ise and Osaka. Some of them (like this Osakan one in my photos here) are very nice and the cats are clearly well looked after. The one I visited in Ise wasn’t so nice, and the cats were openly fed low quality food, and cats who fought with the others were kept in big cages. You can’t really know whether a place will be good or not until you go in (unless you do a google search of where in Japan you’ll be, and find a recommendation) so it’s hard sometimes. Though this is a sweeping generalisation, but I have noticed that the way Japanese people think of and treat animals can be very different to how we think of and treat animals in the West.
If you find yourself in a large Japanese city, I do recommend having a look at a cat cafe – you can find them usually in the “geeky” section of down (for example, in Nagoya you can find them in Osu Kannon) so look out for flyers or look on the internet for links to new places.
If you aren’t going to be in Japan any time soon, you could try the cat cafe that’s in Vienna! It’s on my to-do list!
Have you been to a cat cafe? I’d love to know in the comments!