Finally! My Visit to a Cat Cafe in Japan


Neko (Cat) Cafe in Nagoya

I was totally determined to stop by one of Cat Cafes while I was visiting my parents this time.  My husband and I had only eight days to spare in this trip to do everything we wanted to do, including spending time with my parents and friends, eating delicious meals everyday, a short trip to a very nice and relaxing onsen ryokan (a traditional inn with a natural hot spring bath), shopping for small size clothes, AND going to Cat Café for the first time in my life!

As I introduced Cat Café phenomenon before, it is a business that serves people who cannot have cats at home who want to have a relaxing and fun time with the cats at the café.  They are usually in big cities.  I found one called “Cat Street”, in Nagoya, where we had to take multiple trains for 90 min. each way.  That is life in Japan – I don’t miss it at all.  I cannot believe that I did that commute via trains every single day for seven years working for a bank in Nagoya.  Well, I was early 20’s back then… not anymore.

“We have our own routine, thank you very much!”

The Cat Street was in the middle of the downtown Nagoya where many shopping and commercial buildings are on top of each other, and many small trucks, cars, motorcycles, and bicycles were crossing the streets.  My first thought was, “What a pity!  The cats could never enjoy outside life here.”  On the first floor of the building was a reception area.  We took off our shoes, and were asked to wear a pair of brand new guest socks to enter the cat area on the second floor. 

13 cats with no fights...on that day.

There they were!!  The first kitty that greeted us excitedly was a little orange tabby, Lask.  We were asked not playing with him using our hands.  The lady told us that he was under training not to scratch/bite people.  There were about 13 cats on the second floor space.  In that space, there were about five low tables with seats.  We were assigned to one of the tables, and there was a booklet of “What to do/not to do with the cats” manual on it.  There was a complimentary drinking station to self-serve many soft drinks, coffee, and tea.  The lady explained to us that the first 30min. is 700 yen (about 7 US dollars).  Then, after that, it is 500 yen ($5) per another 30min.

Jeffrey and I couldn’t waste our time there – we needed a “kitty-fix” since my parents live without cats!  While Jeffrey was playing with young crazy teenager cats, my cat radar was going towards older, rather bored cats.  There was a beautiful fluffy white cat nearby, and she was half-sleeping, or pretended being sleepy – so that, I

Thirsty Yomogi

wouldn’t bother her.  And, no, I didn’t bother her.  Soon after, I went to this pretty grey tabby named Yomogi (green vegetable plants used in Japanese sweets).  She was at first hesitating to getting to know me, but after five minutes sniffing around me, she was just fine.  She enjoyed scratching her cheeks, forehead, and back.  Purrrr… that was a “kitty-fix” for sure!  I walked around to take some pictures and to interact with other kitties.  Overall, they were all mellow and settled.  I was glad to see many shelves and cat condos for cats to climb up to and clean water fountains.  I didn’t see any dry food sitting there.  I think there is a feeding schedule.  The place was very clean and organized as it should be anywhere in Japan!  🙂

At the end of the visit, I had a short conversation with the lady who takes care of Cat Street.  She told me that all the cats were purchased from breeders, and the cats are owned by Cat Street.  Even when someone wants to adopt the cat, it could be arranged, but adoption is not the purpose of the Cat Café – my assumption was wrong.  Also, I found out that these cats go to individual cages at night after closing time at 8 pm until next morning. 

Today's traffic update

I felt sad for the cats who would live their entire lives there in the building facing the busy streets in a big city!  They cannot have any outside activities.  Well, I had to rationalize that the Cat Café as a purely business to serve humans, and not cats.  If I would do something like that, I would love to have cats to be adopted to a better place to live with caring permanent human companions.  Plus, I would make sure they have daily access to an enclosed and protected outside play area.  Cats look so happy to be outside jumping, running, and sleeping under a warm sun.  Hey, that is not too bad as a new business idea?!

"Hello, are you leaving in 30min.?"

"Hey, are you Americans, guys?"

"We are the youngest! Let's plaaay!"

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