April 9, 2009

THE ISLAND OF MEOW:

Tokyo's cat cafes: Customers coo, crawl around floor and snap photos at increasingly popular cat cafes. (Mimi Hanaoka, 4/06/09, GlobalPost)

I followed the instructions of the watchful cashier and took off my shoes, sanitized my hands, placed my bag in a locker and dangled an ID card (“customer #18”) from a lanyard around my neck. The cashier then gave me a once over and a shallow bow, and I padded quietly into the sitting room of the cafe.

“She’s the prettiest girl we have at our cafe. Everybody wants to touch her, but we ask that customers only do so if she doesn't resist you,” a waitress told me.

She didn’t resist. And since I was paying for the privilege, I leaned in and stroked her cheek. She was as lovely as the waitress had promised: a big-eyed, silky soft, compliant 2-year-old Russian Blue cat.

I was at Calico, one of Tokyo’s increasingly popular cat cafes, where customers seeking human and feline companionship pay to sip tea and stroke one of the 20-odd resident cats, representing 17 different breeds.

In an increasingly childless and aging nation, cat cafes fill a void.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 9, 2009 8:16 AM
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