Japan’s Cat Cafes: Why They’re Weird and Fascinating at the Same Time

It’s no secret that Japan is known for its unique and cool places. There are just so many things that you wouldn’t be able to see or experience anywhere else. But one of the most fascinating things about Japan, that would make the heart of any crazy cat lady (or gentleman) melt — is Japan’s famous cat cafes. These cafes, which originated in Taiwan, are becoming increasingly popular in the last couple of years. And it’s not hard to understand why. What cat lover wouldn’t want to enjoy a cup of their favorite purrrfect company? So let’s find out what these cafes really are, and decide if you should put them on your bucket list. 

Cat Cafes — What are they?

Cat cafes are exactly what they sound like: locations where cats are allowed to roam freely and where guests can mingle with them. They often have a similar layout to a traditional café, with cozy couches, drinks, and snacks, but with the company of felines. The cats are usually obtained from regional animal shelters or rescue groups. 

What makes them so popular 

Several factors have contributed to the popularity of cat cafes in Japan. First of all, a lot of people in Japan live in small apartments or homes without room for pets due to the country’s high population density. Cat cafes give cat lovers a place to socialize with kitties they might not otherwise be able to have in their own homes.

Second, Japan is famous for its love of all things pretty and cute. Cats, with their fluffy coats and hilarious personality, fit this vibe perfectly. Last but not least, cat cafes provide a distinctive experience for tourists looking for something fresh to do. 

Things to expect 

There are a few things to consider if you’re thinking about going to a cat cafe. First off, most cat cafes have an entry fee that goes toward the cost of feeding and caring for the cats. The cost is often in the range of 1,000 yen (about $9 USD) per hour. 

You will have to take off your shoes and wash your hands before you can enter the cafe. This protects the cats’ well-being and hygiene and keeps the cafe tidy.

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Once inside, you can engage with the kitties however you’d like. You are usually permitted to pet and play with the cats, though some cafés have regulations about not picking up or disturbing the animals when they are asleep. You can engage with the cats by using the toys and snacks that some cafes provide for them. 

It’s crucial to remember that not all of the cats at the cafe may choose to socialize with people; others may choose to rest or play by themselves. Respect their limits and avoid pressuring them into interaction.

Be respectful 

When visiting a cat cafe, as with any other cultural experience, it’s essential to exercise cultural sensitivity. Following the norms and regulations set by the cafe is important because Japan has a strong culture of respect and politeness. 

It’s also essential to keep in mind that the cats in the cafe are actual living things, not just for entertainment. So make sure to show them love and respect and to keep them undisturbed and unharmed at all times.

Kanita is a wanderlust-fueled traveler with an inclination for unraveling the mysteries of history, the paranormal, and the bizarre world of medicine. As a true crime buff, Kanita's nights are often spent delving into the depths of chilling mysteries. Yet, it's not just the paranormal that captivates her—her background in medicine fuels a fascination with the weird and wonderful world of medical oddities, from twisted historical practices to the myths and legends that shroud the field. From exploring haunted locales to uncovering the strange and morbid tales of medical history, Kanita is your guide to the unconventional, the unexplained, and the downright eerie.

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