Would you pay to pet cats?
I would and I did.
In Tokyo, there’s a playground for cats in Ikebukuro called Nekobukuro. You pay a cover charge of 500 Yen and there’s no time limit unlike most cat cafes. Nekobukuro hasn’t got an attached cafe, however, Such places exist in Japan because it’s usually forbidden to own pets in rented apartments. The idea of a cat cafe is probably really strange in Europe. I’ve heard news of Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium opening in London but they’ve yet to announce when it will be.
Being a “cat convert”, I visited Nekobukuro in Tokyo. Daniel grew up with cats and his family has three beautiful cats with them in England. When we were still dating and I visited them for the first time, I was really nervous. I wasn’t nervous about meeting his family, but I was scared of having to live with three cats and two of them are huge maine coons. I was afraid that they might scratch or bite me but I couldn’t have been more wrong. They turned out to be the most friendly and adorable cats I’ve ever met.
So, these are the three cats I lived with that changed my perception of cats. Now, I’m officially declared a cat lover. Unfortunately, we don’t think our current apartment in Germany is good enough for a cat. Funny right? The apartment obviously is good enough for two adults but not good enough for cats. There are many people who say it’s fine for a cat to be indoors all day but in our opinion, they should ideally have a cat-proof garden to play in. Until we have an apartment with an extra room, we won’t be having any cats.
It makes me sad that there are people who adopt or buy pets without thinking about what’s best for the animal. To me, a cat (or dog) needs to be treated as your own child. If we were to have a cat, we want to make sure that we can provide a good living environment for the cat to grow and develop.
The cats at Nekoburo look like they have fun there and are well taken care of. Here’s a sign at the entrance telling you what not to do to the cats.
I think it’s important that cats get all the necessary exercise they need especially if they’re going to be indoor cats. I don’t suppose the cats at Nekobukuro get to explore the Imperial Palace gardens in Tokyo, but I’m not too worried since they’ve obviously thought it all out. Look at these colourful staircases and shelves! When we ultimately have our own place and cats (who we’ve decided to call Chairman Marumo Meow and Raffles Kosong Pagar – this is what Daniel came up with!), we’ll definitely try to have these fixed up for the cats.
Nekobukuro also had little themed enclosures where some of the cats are kept. This isn’t animal abuse! They are meant for cats who have had enough of human interaction. Such an enclosure gives them their alone time. Afterall, everyone who visits cat cafes tend to be high on oxygen so it’s probably a good idea to give these cats a break at times.
Here’s a short slide show of the different cats you can find there. There are plenty of others but I got too carried away playing with them.
Staff are available on site to provide you with cats’ toys to play with the cats free of charge. It’s really a marketing gimmick since we ended up buying the toy at the attached pet shop! But it was all worth while since my other sister-in-law’s cats love it (apparently).
If you have a cat, what’s your take on keeping indoors only cats in apartments?
p.s We both love and adore cats and would NEVER do anything to harm them. It would be great getting advice from the more experienced cat owners out there! Thanks a lot!
- UK’s First ‘Cat Cafe’ (medindia.net)
- Pictures: A Tokyo Cat Cafe (tokyodesu.com)
- 15 Coolest Cat Cafés (businesspundit.com)