Gateway to Kitty Nirvana
In a country where many people live in places too small for pets, cat cafés are a booming business. For about $10 an hour, anyone (over the age of 12) can sip a latte and pet herds of cats for as long as their wallets hold out or until their allergies kick in. The most famous of these, the Kaliko Cat Café – with branches in Shinjuku and Kichijōji – has around 50 cats. Most of them are purebred – Maine Coon, Abyssinian, Munchkin, Persian, Scottish Fold, Tabby, etc. plus a few typical Japanese calicos with half-length tails. At any time, 25 of them are off duty in the back room sleeping, and the other 25 are on duty at the café…well, sleeping.
Cat cafés draw a mixed clientele of lonely singles and couples on dates. There are always a few regulars, who just like to sit and read their papers with a latte, pretending they’re at home being snubbed by their very own cats.
If you’d like to visit the Kaliko Cat Café the next time you’re in Tokyo, directions and more pictures are on my website, The Tokyo Guide I Wish I Had.
Jonelle Patrick is the author of the Only In Tokyo mystery series, published by Penguin/Intermix.