Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Kitty curfew jeopardizing Japan's cat cafés

I was saddened upon learning that Japan's popular cat cafés are in danger of closing down because of a new Animal Protection Law. Once the law takes effect on June 1, there will no longer be any displaying of cats and dogs after 8pm.

While the law is meant to shut down 24-hour pet stores in the country, where felines and canines alike are on brightly-lit displays 24/7, it also impacts on cat cafés whose peak hours, they say, are between 8pm to 10pm. And we know how active cats are at night. Funny how the Japs couldn't be more specific with their legislation.

cafe-of-cats
What cat lover wouldn't want to spend time here? [Photo source]

Addressing the needs of cat lovers who can't own a cat because of building restrictions, cat cafés have mushroomed in some parts of Japan in recent years. Such a café is, well, still a café where you can read, lounge, and surf away with your laptop while having coffee, except that it has cats. Needless to say, to run a place like this and keep it clean and in order all the time entails money, so there's a price to pay (around $10/hour, with multi-hour plans available). They have specific rules, though, like you can't pet a sleeping cat, among others. Even so, we all know how snob cats can be, so customers are at their mercy. If they don't want to come near you, then sorry.

I know this sounds like a brothel of cats and some animal rights activists might even detest such pimping, but cat cafés are...cute. Not only that, I believe it's a relaxing place, therapeutic even. I imagine I'd be smiling the whole time if ever I'm able to visit one.

Now I hope there's something that can be done about this. Seriously. Otherwise, I'd have to strike visiting a cat café off my bucket list real soon before all of them close down. Or maybe Purrfect the Cat can be The Voice of a campaign to keep them cat cafés exempt from this law.

Meow.


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