Meido cafes are like so 1990s. Really. People still go to those places? I know they are popular with tourists (well, tourists, nuff said), but just how dasai and totally uncool do you have to be to actually admit to visiting one of those establishments? Hint – very.
So where do the cool kids hang out these days? At cat cafes!
One of them, funky, furry, “happiness lives here and purrs in your ear” places has just opened in Utsunomiya. Yeah, a cat café. With actual, live cats. Cats that stroll around while you sip your tea. Cats that sleep next to you while you enjoy your cake. Cats that make it very clear as to who owns the place. Really owns the place.
The cat café “Felis” in Utsunomiya is located at 863-7 Naka Tomatsuri (phone: 090-5499-7099) and is open from 11AM till midnight. As the manager, Hiroyuki Morota said, there are 30 cats living there. All of them were abandoned as kittens, and are vaccinated, tested for diseases, healthy, clean, litterbox trained and ready for adoption.
The customers are free to play with the cats, entertain them, enjoy their company and give them as much love and attention as they want, or demand (since we're talking about cats here, right?). And this peculiar arrangement seems to be working.
Mind you, Felis is not the cheapest café in town. Far from it, actually. But somehow, I don’t mind paying 850 yen for a cup of coffee and a piece of cake if I know that my cash goes towards feeding 30 sweet furry babies, who otherwise would have been abandoned and homeless.
The cats have their own private doors, and if they wish, they can leave the main café area and hide in the back. But the little fellas don’t seem to mind the hoominz at all and if anything, they look like they’re enjoying all the attention.
The place is not perfect, however. During our visit there today, a piece of one of the chandeliers fell down, hit my glass of water and covered me with tiny glass shards pretty much from top to bottom. The situation would have been a wet dream for any American lawyer, but here the manager merely inquired if I was injured (I wasn’t), led me to the restroom so I could shake the glass bits from my shirt, hair and bra and apologized for the inconvenience. He did not even offer to comp our tea and cake - we paid our bill in full.
But despite that, will I go back there again? Yeah, I will. Those cats are just so bloody cute.
More cat cafe photos are here and here on our Tochigi Daily Photo blog.
P.S. And here's a video from our second visit in January 2011.
And here are photos from that visit.