Like many members of generation Y, most of my dreams are pretty unrealistic. Publish a novel, release an album, meet Kate Bush, buy a house in zone 3, be verified on twitter… So it’s pretty nice when I have a dream that can come true for ¥800 an hour: go to a cat cafe.
On hearing that I had achieved this modest life goal, my Mum said she had filed cat cafes under “Zany things you read about Japan in newspapers, but don’t quite believe are real.” In fact there are many establishments in Tokyo where you can go to pet cute animals, not just cats but owls and even penguins! (Have to say I feel slightly uncomfortable about the animal welfare implications of the latter, but I will reserve judgement until I know more…) It makes sense in a city where working hours are long and living space is small, making pet ownership difficult. We chose to leave the Studio Ghibli-esqe Temari no Uchi cat cafe for another day and instead head to the Nyankoto cat cafe in Takadanobaba. This lovely establishment has a homely, chilled atmosphere and is one of the best value for money cat cafes in Tokyo. I had a tonne of fun going with friends, but it’s also the kind of place that would be good for relaxing alone; they have free wifi and ample plug sockets so I could really picture myself writing a blog post there, stopping for frequent kitty love breaks. For now, ladies and gentlemen, let me present to you the furry stars of the Nyankoto Cat Cafe!
For those who are worried about the well-being of the cats, they seemed well cared for and happy. I’ve heard that animal welfare laws in Japan forbid animals from ‘working’ for more than four hours at a time so the cats must be brought out in shifts – this was the case at Nyankoto as there were far more profiles of cats on the wall than cats I actually saw. I had a wonderful time and I would recommend Nyankoto for anyone who wants to experience a cat cafe on a budget, or just enjoy the relaxed, welcoming atmosphere.
Next stop, owl cafe!