Japanese Coffee Shops Cater To Cats

Some might say the coffee shops in Tokyo have gone to the dogs, or more correctly, cats. Not only in Japan, but also in Korea and Vietnam, the popularity of or fascination with cats is getting a little over the top. Maybe it’s just that the coffee shops don’t have a coffee brand that can compete with other shops so they have found another way to compete: hiring cats.

As you can see by the photo, the cats in the Cat Coffee Shops – Neko Cafes - of Japan rule the roost. Customers aren’t allowed to pick them up or wake them up – yes, these cool cats even get to sleep on the job. Some of the shops even charge customers by the hour to come in and drink their coffee while watching the cats. And lest you think these are lonely old ladies coming to enjoy the kitties, think again. Many of the customers are couples on dates, and they even have couple nights and couple discounts at some of the cafes. With Valentine’s Day approaching, this might be a novel venue, if your sweetheart is a cat lover. Of course the airfare to Asia is a little high right now.

You might want to take this report with a grain of salt; linked to the article on a CNN site was another article describing the way the Japanese are putting on the American media with faux stories. If this one is contrived, they’ve done a good job because there are lists of links on Google containing many media sources - all carrying the same tale of cat-ertainment. There are even blogging sites where the cats are the subjects, some with their own SNS profile, and at least one photographer-blogger who presumably showcases his cat portraits on his blog. Of course, since the cats would blog in Japanese, it’s hard to document one of these blogs.

Now that the cat’s out of the bag, it would be terrific to hear from any of our readers having firsthand knowledge of the Neko Cafes. If you do, please write your observations in the comment section. We’d love to hear personal reports. Is it conceivable that this trend could make its way across the water to the US?

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