Last week Dan and I spent an hour in a Tokyo cat cafe. I'd heard that these kinds of places existed but I was skeptical. I really didn't want to wander into a glorified animal shelter where things were in disarray and where the animals were not well taken care of. Although Neko Cafe: Cat Magic was a little on the stinky side (how could it not be with more than a dozen cats living in an apartment size space about ten feet above ground level?), it was surprisingly appealing. The cats were well tended to, lazy and were obviously subjected to more love and attention then they had much use for; when we arrived they were all sleeping and didn't seem interested in human attention. One of the rules at Cat Magic is don't wake up sleeping cats. And don't bug them if they walk away from you, which in my experience happened a lot.
The most interesting thing about the place was that, at least while we were there, it was almost exclusively frequented by posh looking business men in suits who came in alone and spent time stroking the cats. It's hard to imagine this from a Western perspective - you are a top level executive in the middle of your work day at a high pressure job and on your lunch break you take time out to hang with kittens as a way of de-stressing. It was strange but sweet.
Photos by me.