Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Though most think of Japan when they hear about cat cafes, the worldâ€™s first actually opened in Taipei in 1998. After the first opened in Japan, theyâ€™ve exploded in popularity. Now you can find them in most Asian countries and in a growing number of European and North American cities. Most are fairly similar. You pay an hourly fee (usually) and can spend that time reveling in feline glory. Drinks of the alcoholic and boring variety are offered, and you can buy treats that will summon a swarm. The rules are commonsense: wash your hands before petting; donâ€™t pester; donâ€™t use flash; donâ€™t force cats into situations they donâ€™t want to be in; no shoes in their space (honestly, these should be rules for interacting with humans too). What follows are six cafes I have had the pleasure of going to, though this is by no means an extensive list.
Open 12-9 (Sun. until 7); Closed Tues.
1st hr: 1000å†† Every 30 min. after: 500å††
Hyogo Prefecture, Himeji, Ekimaecho, 322, ãƒŸãƒ•ãƒãƒ“ãƒ« 2F
This cafe has become a home to only black cats. They are fitted with adorable collars/ties, which you can also purchase for your own furry friend in their 3rd floor shop. There werenâ€™t any (or many) cat toys last time I went, but the cats were perfectly satisfied playing baseball with crumpled up paper. I enjoyed each of my visits.
Open 11-10; Closed every 3rd Tues.
1st hr: 1000å††Â Â Â (1200å†† Sat.) Every 30 min. after: 500å††
Hyogo Prefecture, Kobe, Chuo Ward, Motomachidori, 2 Chomeâˆ’6âˆ’11, å¾³æ°¸ãƒ“ãƒ«3F
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The cats here are largely aloof. That is, until you do or have something that piques their curiosity. Toys here are (thankfully) free to use, but many wonâ€™t be very interested unless you do something novel, like drag the fabric one behind you as you walk around (careful, though; at least one will aggressively pee on it), or buy treats. The orange cats are particularly fond of them and will paw your hand closer. The very second you run out, though, the felines will be off on their own once more.
Neko no Jikan (Osaka)
Open Mon.-Sat. 11-9 (Mon. until 7); Sun. & Holidays 10-7
Weekday 1st hr: 1100å†† (includes drink); Free-time after 6: 1200å†† (includes drink)
Weekend/Holiday 1st hr: 1200å†† (includes drink)
Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, Kita Ward, Kurosakicho, 5-16, HEARTãƒ“ãƒ«2F
Opened in 2004, this location was Japanâ€™s first cat cafe. Many of its residents are unusual in some way: munchkin; Maine Coon; squished face; indescribably thick. A few were playful, but this location charges a fee to use toys for every 10 minutes (a huge rip-off, imo). I noticed that at least two of the cats were injured or otherwise sick, which is concerning. The drinks offered in the separate drinking area were boringly standard, but on the plus side, there was a slightly scruffy shiba inu that graced us with its presence.
Neko no Jikan–Amemura (Osaka)Â Â
Open 11-9 (Sun. and Mon. until 7)
Weekday 1st hr: 1100å†† (includes drink) Every 30 min. after: 500å††
Weekend/Holiday 1st hr: 1200å†† (includes drink) Every 30 min. after: 600å††
After 6 (includes drink): Weekdays: 1200å†† Weekends/Holidays: 1300å††
Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, Chuo Ward, Nishishinsaibashi, 1âˆ’9âˆ’16
Similar to its predecessor, the Amemura branch of Neko no Jikan houses several odd types of cats, with the addition of sphinxes. There are more interesting drinks available and you donâ€™t have to leave the cat area to enjoy them, unlike the Kita Ward location. The cats (especially the calico sphinx) are usually quite interested in drinks, so guard them vigilantly.
1st hr: 1200å†† Every 15 min. after: 200å††
Osaka Prefecture, Osaka, Chuo Ward, Nishishinsaibashi, 2-10-22 ç¬¬äºŒå¤šç”°ãƒ“ãƒ«2F
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Cat Tail also has many more time options available (with food and drinks!) than whatâ€™s listed here. There are two rooms you can sit in, and cats go back and forth pretty regularly (Let me out! Let me in! Let me out! ad infinitum). One beast of a cat is apparently bitey. Signs have been put up warning patrons of his ill-intentions, but as long as you donâ€™t pester him, youâ€™ll be fine. The other cats are pretty friendly and sleepy. If you sit down in a place they like with a blanket on your lap, youâ€™ll get one or three cats nuzzling into you. This is hands-down my favorite cat cafe in Osaka.
Neko Kaigi (Kyoto)Â Â Â Â
Open 11-8; Closed every Tues.
1st hr: 900å†† Every 30 min. after: 400å††
Kyoto Prefecture, Kyoto, Nakagyo Ward, Oikedaitocho, 590, å¾¡æ± åŠ ç´ãƒ“ãƒ«2F
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Ah, Neko Kaigi. This is the first cat cafe I ever visited, so I have very fond memories. My first time was a bit of a mess, however. Many years ago, a friend and I decided to go. We found the street it was on easily, but after that, we were clueless. I asked a clerk at a nearby ã‚³ãƒ³ãƒ“ãƒ‹, though I could only understand yellow and 2. We wandered down the street, asking others where it could be found. Our answer was always ã€Œãˆï¼ŸçŒ«ã‚«ãƒ•ã‚§ã§ã™ã‹ï¼Ÿã¡ã‚‡ã£ã¨å¤‰ã§ã™ãã€‚ã€Our salvation came through a Family Mart clerk. Full of hope, we marched down the slightly shady alleyway to the elevator and found that the cafe was…closed. Fortunately for us, we were able to squeak in the next morning.
At any rate, the cats here all have food names. These are written on their collars and provide good ã²ã‚‰ãŒãª and ã‚«ã‚¿ã‚«ãƒŠ reading practice. They also like being slapped pretty hard on their butt. Itâ€™s disconcerting initially, but the staff will assure you that they enjoy it. A couple will violently play with your feet if they smell interesting enough. One cat has to wear clothes due to allergies, but sheâ€™s happy to lie on laps.
Cat cafes are only continuing to rise in popularity. Theyâ€™re a fun and relaxing way to spend an hour or three. The time passes so quickly, especially if youâ€™re an absurd cat-lover like myself. I would recommend the experience to nearly everyone.