THIS JUST IN: The Tokyo cat café

calico_2.jpg

Once AGAIN the Japanese hand our asses to us.

This time, in the form of "Cat Café", a place on Tokyo where fourteen resident cats make customers "purrrrr with delight." "The clean, odorless cafe — Calico has six air freshenersand the litter trays are out of sight — gets about 70 visitorsa day during the week and 150 a day at weekends."

You heard me. People can mingle with kittehs and have a cup of tea.

Big props to Kari M., Calico-kitteh photo taker and Gina W., Japanese ass-kicker-pointer-outer

Comments

  1. Oh yeah!? Well, like, uh….. y’know, sometimes, my kitteh will… um… let me stand next to her while she eats her tuna! … And then she runs away…

    Oh who am I kidding. *opens hands to receive own ‘tocks from Japanese*

  2. I now have a wonderful place to go vist in Tokyo I wanna gooooo ………..
    wonderful place for pitties if you ask me

  3. purplepeepz says:

    That is an awesome idea! If I couldn’t have pets at home, I would so pay to visit the kitties.

    How is the Japanese culture so embedded with qteness?!

  4. Owned by a Calico says:

    Here’s their website, including photos of all the available cats (2nd menu link on left):

    http://homepage3.nifty.com/calico/

  5. Ok, that’s it. We’re all taking a group CO trip to Tokyo.

  6. I like 葉月… also noticed they have a dog there too… maybe this will give people ideas and open a cafe around here like that

  7. I get so mad that I can’t take my pup with me the same places people can take their kids. Most of us Americans would find this unsanitary somehow – I think that’s just plain stupid. This place just goes to show it CAN be done!

  8. Juniper Jupiter says:

    Odorless? With all them pine tree shaped air fresheners? :P

    Sorry!!! Couldn’t resist on that one!!

    I love the fact that the Japanese excel in the theme restaurant industry…I wish we Americans could do something like that. There is clip I saw once where somebody put their vidcam on a sushi conveyor belt and all the Japanese folx who noticed it were either giggling and pointing or mugging!! It was pretty cool!!

    Oh, and Owned by a Calico, lurve the site!! You guys need to see the stuffed versions of the kittehs!!
    >^.^< I want one of each!!!

  9. I would be there EVERY DAY.

  10. Bugger visit, I want to work there.

  11. Oh lord. I swear, I’m getting asked for confirmation that I’m not a bot three times more than BEFORE I got a typekey account. What gives?

  12. yankeebird says:

    I love the idea of doing this in America, but am I the only cynic here who assumes someone would steal one of the cats?

  13. OK…this comes close to rivaling the CO Dream Office.

  14. berthaslave says:

    Me on the phone with one of my former college roommates:

    What’s that you have, Hiroshi? Speak up, I can’t hear you, my stupid country hasn’t perfected cell phone technology yet….what did you say? You have WHAT? I don’t believe you. What? Okay, e-mail me a picture. I’ll wait. Okay, I got it, let me check. Wow, what a cute kittie, but I don’t get it….in a cafe? All those people sitting there snorgling with cats? Public cat lovin’? What, what’s this last picture, that looks kind of familiar. Hiroshi, is that….HOW DID YOU GET MY ASS? GIVE THAT BACK. QUIT DOING THAT.

  15. Apparently the concept is common in Asia: check out those awesome pics!

    http://www.catforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=44277&highlight=

  16. persimmon says:

    They have a bengal and a couple of exotic shorthairs and a russian blue AND a scottish fold kitty! *cries*

    I want one in my city!

    Well, at least where I work people can bring their dogs with them. I can’t have pets where I live, so it lets me get my daily dose of snorgling.

  17. Happenstance says:

    Reminds me of the “cat cafe” seen in the (US translated) manga “What’s Michael.”

  18. I cannot believe you guys think this is ok, and Meg how could you post this?
    This is nothing short of animal cruelty! Cats are not meant to be stuck in a cafe all day, petted and prodded by strangers.

    Anyone who really loved animals could see that this sort of thing is deeply wrong.

  19. purplepeepz says:

    Joanne, I hear your concern for the animals, but I hardly think that getting love and attention all day has been hard on those cats. They have a clean, warm home, with food and feline friends and the adoration of humans. They aren’t forced to do anything un-cat-like… not forced at all, really!

    Being “stuck in a cafe all day” may not be a bad thing. Aren’t so many cats with normal homes “stuck in a house all day”, and for that matter, stuck there alone while their “masters” work? These kitties have friends!

    Not to mention, I think cafe-life would be better than being a stray, or being kept in an apartment as a contraband-cat. Can’t imagine there’s a lot of windows to look out of or opportunity to run and play if you need to stay away from windows in a really small apartment (as I understand the living space there is limited).

    Perhaps I’m not understanding your post!

  20. Cool, I really wanna go there sometime…

  21. OMG…look at the menu…totally adorb! Big chubby grey cat wants to know if he can has cheezburger. And the dog? He probably has no idea why he looks so different than the *other* cats.

    (Bows head and prepares to receive ‘tocks.)

  22. I am so glad I’m living in Tokyo right now. Cat Cafe, here I come.

  23. Cheryl Robinson-Atwood says:

    Purplepeepz, I’m pretty sure Joanne is being facecious (sp?). Being a Cat Cafe Kitty would be the DREAM job for most cats-most of my own six, anyway!

    Ahmm…has anyone else noted that this comes from the Land of the Geishas?

  24. i noticed that each first post to a new pic is “bleen” – this pic has been autobleened

    [No. - Ed.]

  25. I call dibs on the 2nd kitty, 2nd row with the silly earsies!!

    I also call dibs on Stephen Colbert – just sayin ‘)

    Why can’t we have cute kitty cafe’s here? Can you imagine the public health department nightmare geting a license for THAT?

  26. I live in the Tokyo area, and I just checked Google Maps, and ohmigod I know EXACTLY where this is, and I think I’ll be going there on Sunday.

    This isn’t the first, there’s a similar place in Osaka:

    http://www.bento.com/kansai/rev/8267.html

    I also see that the official site has a movie page, and this movie is pure CO material:

    http://www.sepia.dti.ne.jp/gyoguy/matsuri_haduki.mov

  27. They have videos too!! I like the second one down, with the slow-mo playing.

    http://homepage3.nifty.com/calico/move.html

  28. While the cat cafe idea is full of awsum, does nobody note the deliciousness of this tiny scrap of calico? Delighted squees issue forth!!!

    There are libraries that have resident cats– mine, alas is not one of them.

  29. metsakins says:

    there was a coffee shop near Columbia U. that had at least a cat or two. One came and sat on the other chair while I had coffee. (that was about 7 years ago)

    and there are inns that have cats. as a matter of fact while growing up in the Bronx, a lot of stores kept cats that were friendly and would visit you while shopping. and I grew up in the Bronx a long time ago.

  30. Let’s Go!

  31. Joanne — WHAT? This is GREAT! Those kittehs are obviously being treated very well. It’s kind of like a glorified animal shelter- one that doesn’t have to put the animals down and one that doesn’t have to isolate them into cages. I love it. Unlike dogs, cats can handle this sort of attention.

    If this were dogs, I’d have to agree with you. Dogs need a sense of belonging, it’s different with cats.

  32. Anne Boleyn says:

    Sometimes our health laws are just counterproductive, I think. I would so love to have a place like this to go and have tea and time with like minded peeps.

  33. Many, many years ago, my grandma kept a cat in the deli/grocery store that she owned in the Bronx. Tommy (the cat) was pretty popular, too. People used to ask to borrow him overnight to keep the varmint population down. He lived a long and happy life – my mother said so, so it must be true!

  34. This is the BEST idea EVER!!! I would totally LIVE there.

  35. hello, can someone who reads japanese do me a favour and tell me the name of the fuzzy tuxedo kitty? thanksies…

  36. Berthaslave, just got a weird e-mail…..did I just look at you a**?!?!?!

    You need to get it back!

    LMAO!!!! Whoops! Theres goes mine too!

  37. I assume you mean the one on the front page, Cath? (The third on the top on the cat page.)

    His name is Retoro.

  38. I totally love this idea. There are several businesses in my area (non-food establishments, though) that have shop kitties, and you better believe I make it a point to shop there. One of them is a hardware store, and I don’t care if I have to pay 3 times what it would cost at Lowe’s…if I get to schnorgle and rub a fuzzy chubby kitteh belleh while I’m shopping….why, it’s worth it at any price!!

  39. Haha, and the doggie’s name is “Moka” – the Japanese way to write “Mocha!” Aww.

    A lot of them have adorable names – Rara, Maruko, Ichigo (this means strawberry! It’s the little last grey kitty), Poko, Chiyoko, Mimi…

  40. Jen, I think these cats are probably very happy, well socialized cats. Seriously, to have people come in just to be with them and enjoy their company? Isn’t that all a kitteh wants, to be worshipped?

  41. Yitzysmommie says:

    “I’m leeeeavin’ on a jet plaaaaane…”
    I’ve been thinking about leaving my stressful job and going to work in the cat cafe sounds like the perfect place for me. Never mind I cannot speak Japanese.
    What a perfectly redonk idea that I would love to see here.
    Calton Bolick – please report back after you visit!

  42. Well, okay, but when I get there I call dibs on the little angel-faced calico in the picture!

  43. Ooh, I want to open one….that wouldn’t even be like work.

  44. Vitani– Thanks! Yes, that’s the one. Although I’m generally more of a Marmie/Tabby girl, I just fell in love with this one, ‘cos he looks the very reincarnation of my old, weird pal Snicklefritz.

    When he was young, Snickle was very aloof and had the disposition of a grumpy old man. I always felt like he was barely managing to tolerate me (he was older than me by a few months). When he was old and senile, he changed: He became extremely clingy, but only with me. He took to sleeping in my bed and wouldn’t eat unless I was sitting with him. I couldn’t get anything done at home, because he would cry until I let him in my lap.

    Sorry… seeing Retoro has made me all nostalgic.

  45. snoopysnake says:

    I love shop kitties! There is one in a fabric store in Boston who made my day recently. He snuggled right down on a bottom shelf in the notions department and let me give him a nice petting and belly rub. Kitty Breaks are mega-theraputic!

  46. I had 2 cats that lived in my office when I worked for Waste Management and 1 that lived under my office trailer. I had 2 litters of kitties there too – until I talked my boss into getting the girls spayed – which we put down as “pest control” on the expense report LOL

    I think work places are made better for being able to bring pets to work. I would adore a little caramel colored doggie like Mokka sitting by my while I worked. :D

  47. charliewabba says:

    Awwwww. Once, long long ago, I owned a cafe, and lived around the corner, and my cat Max used to stroll over in the afternoons to visit and sit on people’s laps. ‘Til I found out the health department would not approve.
    (BTW, he lived a long and happy 16 and a half years.)

  48. omg – did you see the kitten on the Yahoo news page?

    OMG!!! How adorable is it?

  49. Japan has a number of cat houses/playgrounds, where visitors can play and mingle with cats. I’ve been to one and they are perfectly fine – their lives are no different from any indoor-house cat. Even better in some ways because the places are designed for the kitties and there are marvelous catwalks, tons of companions, and lots of attention. The cats were having a ball when I visited. Some are more shy, but many warm up to the visitors quite well (like the one who insisted on chewing up and going through my bag of recently purchased goods).

    Yes, I essentially paid 600 yen to sit and play with kitties for about 2 hours (Hey, I had kitty withdrawal after a week away from my little baby!)

  50. What kind of cat is that with the sort of curled back ears? (middle of second row)

  51. cath – I assume you mean the black fuzzy tuxie right on the top of the page? His name spells out ‘retoro, possibly the Japanese version of “Retro”.

  52. tracyFlick says:

    Screw Starbucks.

  53. HEHEHEHE. I already live in a kitty cafe, and it’s FREE. Well, not if you count the food, litter, vet bills, etc. for 7 cats. But you’re all welcome any time for the kitty snorgling, if you think you can stand Kansas.

  54. KUUUUUUUUUUUTTTEEE!!!!!!!

  55. wow! not only would i love this, but my cat would LOVE to be a cafe cat! she loves strangers, and all she ever wants (besides food) is for people to stay put so she can settle in and hang out next to them. this would give her an endless supply of human buddies! where do i sign her up?

    but wait a minute…what if i wasn’t still her favorite? ok, that’s it, she’s staying home.

  56. Kate – according to Fuuko’s (that curled ear cat’s) stats on the website, she’s an American Curl.

  57. I went to a similar place called Neko Tama (Cats’ Park) which is co-located with Inu Tama (Dogs’Park).

    You can say I got my 1300 yen’s worth… I got to rub faces with a sphinx named Yoda.

    http://www.tcvb.or.jp/en/infomation/5museum/18inutama.html

    That big ole St. Bernard in front is named Peter… my friend and I had him rolling on the ground from full on assaulting belly rubs.

    Odiba also has one called “Cat’s Living”
    http://www.webshots.com/search?query=Cats+in+Odaiba

    Road trip!!

  58. Fauntleroy says:

    モカ is my favorite.

    Seriously, did no one else see the most understanding apricot poodle ever?

  59. I too am a firm patron to any place that has a resident animal. the local Nursery has three and they are wonderful as does the Lowes in the next city over she is in their Garden department… and let me pet her. Our Vet has three resident cats who meet greet and comfort all visitors… Human and animal.

    HMMMMM visions of a cat cafe dance in my head.

  60. Hey guys…..you know…we have stuff like this in the U.S. too. Their called NO-Kill Rescue Shelters. Look them up. The volunteers who run these places would LOVE to have people just come, drink coffee, and hang out with the cats. Give the cats some attention and love. Being a director of such a shelter, (No Kill, free roam) Towncats.org ….I challenge you all to stop oohing and aahhing and start doing. By the way, the Calico kitten is really cute.

  61. Reminds me about the downtown Toronto Chinatown cat sculpture! There’s this story about a cat who lived in at a deli at a Kensington shop, downtown Toronto, over half a century ago. The cat was a people greeter and very well loved and known around the market. I am unable to find the original story, but as I understand it, there was a sculpture made in its honour. Check out the photos!

    http://www.raymondchow.ca/photo_2006_01_26_06_43_38.html

    http://www.seemsartless.com/index.php?pic=411&cat=Art

    http://www.vincegraham.com/pages/cat.htm

  62. That’s Mocha (Moka), Fauntleroy. She’s been getting love too!

    Also, Nik, not everyone who reads this is in the US or is close to a No-Kill Shelter. I volunteer at one when I’m in California, but now I live in Tokyo, and it’s nice to know about places like this.

  63. Totally OT, but Happy 1st Birthday to Knut today!!

  64. I want to open one of these in America.

  65. Mary (the first) says:

    The calico bebeh is adorable but I don’t see him/her on the website photos. Maybe he’s new? Carlton please report ;)
    I would also totally love anyplace with a resident cat. Mostly the places I’ve seen them are small bookstores. There’s always one sleeping in the window (until I wake them up by petting.) This in spite of the fact that I have a perfectly snorglable cat at home. I can NOT resist any cat!!

  66. Momof2kitties says:

    Field Trip! I call shotgun!

  67. Hee! I lived in Tokyo for 3 years and there was this 4-story building near my apartment. I thought it was a pet shop until a Japanese friend explained that it was a pet cafe. Same premise as described, but with puppies and full-grown dogs as well! You could hang out and drink tea with the canine of your choice, but I think it cost, like, $20 an hour. If you happen to be in Tokyo, it’s in the Haramachi neighborhood of Shinjuku district. Huge cute pink building–you can’t miss it!

  68. charliewabba says:

    Nik – you are right! The Humane Society where I live lets you have birthday parties. My sis did it – everyone brough presents for the puppies and kitties, and after we ate our birthday cake, we got to play with the doggies and take them for walks, and play with the kitties.

  69. So many gorgeous kitties! Poko looks like a munchkin version of my cat, Ico. Want to snorgle…

  70. A GENIUS IDEA, SO LONG AS THE CATS ARE PROPERLY LOOKED AFTER AND WATCH BY THE OWNERS.

    http://www.animaloverdose.com/

  71. Ben. Dude. Your CAPS LOCK is stuck.

  72. So funny Lizzie!!!
    Does anyone know if we can’t have these in the US because of food laws etc.? Thanks also for the pet shelter idea, I will check my local one and see if I can get a kitty fix (my Collette died a year ago)

  73. Oh my gosh! These things would be and absolute hit in college towns because most of the apartments around here have a strict no pet policy (which won’t stop me from getting a kitten next year, but whatevs.) and I think I go to the pet store at least once a week to play with their three store cats. I miss my little Shorty :(

  74. Gosh, I’d love to see something like this take off in the US. We’d need to find a way to make it a desirable place to be for the humans and the animals (many animal shelters would fail, alas) AND drop-in-friendly (no lengthy training or certification required to hang with animals). Heck, we can manage it for “petting zoos,” so why not?

  75. Several of the little corner grocery stores in my neighborhood have cats, at least one of whom is very, very friendly– my wife and I squatted down to pet him, and he actually climbed up her coat to perch on her shoulders like a stole. He stayed up there for a good ten minutes, riding around the store surveying his domain. Hilarious.

  76. South Korea has a cafe that’s similar, but it’s for dogs.
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4800612

  77. snoopysnake – I know exactly what fabric store you are talking about! Not that there are many fabric places in the city, but I only go to this one because of the friendly cat :)

  78. I can’t believe no one is making inappropriate comments about this and stripper bars.

    Only me? Sorry, I’ll go back to my hole.

  79. I’m lucky because I have a number of cats I can visit on my errands. There’s Reggie in the pet supply store; Henry in the bakery; and Fatty and Skinny in the copy shop. They are all great cats. ;)

  80. Even tho I have a wonderful cat at home I would visit a place like this often! The only store in my area I ever saw with a cat in it is a drycleaners. I was with my friend at the time who is allergic and doesn’t like cats much. Not to be mean but I still laugh out loud when I remember the look on his face. He was so horrified at the thought of the cat hair on the clothes. And all I could think was “oh the poor baby this is totally inappropriate with all the nasty fumes in here!”

  81. @kar: No, not only you. You just beat me to it, is all.

  82. I need to go to this. Now. Why can’t I post about the crying kitteh? It makes me even sadder…=(

  83. Evan, People were making rude comments so the commenting was closed.

  84. Great idea. Bummer that people have such a tough time finding housing that’ll take cats tho.

  85. Awwww, lookit that iddly biddly bebeh! This is such a grand idea!

    Joanne, I hope you’re joking.

    [In this case, I'm pretty sure she is... - Ed.]

  86. They had a place like this on Kauai when I lived there a few years back. Except it was sort of an “outside” place and I think most of the cats were feral and (I think) there to kill the mice.

    LOL

  87. “Calton Bolick – please report back after you visit!”

    Although I’m planning to go later this weekend with a friend who really needs the cat de-stressing, it so happened that I had a few hours free today, and I thought, what the hell, and dropped by the place.* No camera except my crappy mobile phone (which promptly croaked after a few photos were shot), and no full report yet.

    Nickel version: VERY relaxing, the kitties are insanely cute and VERY sociable, whatever Joanne thinks. It looks more like a playroom than a cafe — not that that’s a bad thing. Most of the customers I saw were young women, so I was a little out of place as an American guy in a suit and tie, slumped in an easy chair as a hyperactive Egyptian kitteh clambered all over me.

    A picture to tide y’all over until I go back with a real camera:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/calton/2091486668/

    The figure in the upper right on the floor? A young woman, in velveteen black dress with lace collar, catnapping with an actual cat. I nearly went into cuteness shock…

    *For them what know Tokyo, it’s in Kichijoji, just outside the Keio station.

  88. Sadly, the only place like this in my city is the bike shop I go to, which has a beautiful cream-coloured retriever named Karma that sniffs all the bikes that come in.

  89. Calton — just left a comment at your Flickr photo. I also notice that the catnapping girl is napping with an actual Calico Cat Cafe Calico Cat. (And the little Ikea table in the upper left? …we have one of those at home.)

  90. Johnny Sane says:

    I noticed that, if you mouse-over the cat menu, their names are in the link (if you have your status bar active). And the only one that’s Engrishified is Retro (“Letro”).

  91. This is great! It would be awesome if someone could open something like that here…or at least have a cafe with a few kittehs to snuggle with. I could just see it. Sitting on the couch with a cup of tea and a book with cats sitting with me. Oh wait…I get that at home. But if I did live in Japan, I’d be a regular!
    About shop kitties, I was at the local Uhaul office the other day, renting a truck, when the shop kitty came up to say hello. She was all purrs. Some inconsiderate soul had left the cat in one of trucks when it was returned and no one came to claim the cat. I’m glad the guys at UHaul took her in, but I really hate it when people abandon their animals like that. Cafes like Calico provide a nice alternative to the pound.

  92. Okay so .. Like I was so enamored of the idea of a real kitty cat cafe that I totally didn’t even see the little cute adorable kitten up there. peaking over the edge of the couch or bed saying Peek-A-Boo… Silly Me.. Reaches out and scratches adorable little moppet behind the ears.

  93. Chelonianmobile says:

    “There’s a cat on the table and nobody seems to care!”

  94. I’m the original sender-inner, and I’m a veterinarian. If you think this is cruel to cats then you don’t know much about cats or animal cruelty. I sincerely hope those comments were facetious.

    At any rate, I can’t wait for the full report from our Tokyo Cuteologists!

  95. zOMG I am leaving Tokyo on Wednesday so this post comes just in time! Thanks CO!

    There’s also a place called Nekobukuro that is on the 8th floor of the Tokyu Hands building in Ikebukuro.

    Check out this link for a whole bunch of Tokyo-cute-catness! http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200711240040.html

    Also, if you’re in the San Francisco area, there’s a scifi bookstore in Berkeley that has two cats that you can play with (and their selection of scifi books can’t be beat). I forget what it’s called- I know the name has something to do with Hobbits- but if you get off at the Berkeley BART station, in one direction Shattuck forks into two roads. Take the left fork (you’ll see a Wells Fargo) and it’s a block or two down on your left.

  96. Sophie Blue says:

    Totally going to be in Tokyo for New Years, totally going to be in that cafe during that time. OMG I love CuteOverload. Thank you Meg, I send many fluffy, kind, loving thoughts in your direction. ^_^

  97. Hey! I see little pink tongue-age on that schnozzle! I demand X-treme close-up!

  98. BEST IDEA, EVER.

  99. The Berkeley store mentioned above is called “The Other Change of Hobbit”, if you want to look it up.

  100. i went to a different cafe in tokyo, called the curl-up cafe last week. AWESOME. lets you take as many pictures as you want and they give let you take home a trading card with your favorite cat on it. can’t wait to go again.

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