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Uncertain future for Japan's cat cafes

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From morning to night these cats are being stroked by people they do not know. For the animals, that is a real source of stress, she said, quoting several cats she had conversations with that morning.

Oh yes it must be a real nightmare being clothed, fed, pampered 24/7. Throw them out in the street then and let's see which is more stressful.

What deserves more public attention is the way pets are sold in Japan

Yes, like how the customer pays through the nose so much so a bit of wasabi is required to clear it out, with the remaining pittance spent on these cat cafes and fantasizing about living in an apartment which allows pets.

We need to ban the trade of newborn kittens and puppies just because they are pretty and sell well.

Is this a global effort then Ms Nogami?

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

Is this article up to date? I just read of an exception being passed allowing Tokyo cat cafes to remain open until 10pm.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

As usual the "regulators" are STUPID STUPID STUPID!

This really is simple, those late nite cramped "pet shops" need to be SHUD THE F. DOWN! Not just close early.

Two, leave the cat cafe's alone & idiots in nagatacho a bit of advice, INSTEAD of making it HARD for someone to start something, how about makiing it EASIER, & bring common sense into while yr at it.

End of story!

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

The things that the Japanese concern themselves with never fail to amaze me.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

How often do people get scratched or bitten at these cat cafes?

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

There's a pet shop in the Roppongi area of Tokyo( Was this the target of the new law?) that stays open late into the night where I enjoyed checking out the puppies. They appeared to be well cared for but my only reservation was ultimately what happened to the dogs and cats that weren't bought. Still, being a dog lover, I enjoyed seeing them.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

I dont know much about animl psychology so please someone correct me if I am wrong, but how do these people know the cats are not liking thieir environment? I have never been into one myself, but I am regulary forced to stop and watch through the windows while the kids ooh and aah over the cats and dogs. I dont see any unhappy, frightened or disturbed animals. I see a lot of animals jumping onto peoples knees voluntarily, purring loudly with their eyes closed looking blissful, and puppies happily playing together. They all look clean and well cared for.

I have also recently been involved with an animal shelter up in Fukushima, and seen a lot of lonely, sad, unhappy animals. The workers and volunteers do the very best they can for them but many of them are clearly craving human contact.

I would question the size of the sleeping quarters of some of the animals, but other than that, it seems like a pretty good deal to me, compared to being out in the street, in a shelter, or worst of all in a truly abusive home.

8 ( +15 / -8 )

Yeah, a real source of stress. Poor things. You know what? Let's ban work, because working is a real source of stress for humans! Let's all live in a world without stress! (cynism out)

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Wow how stupid. Do they not realize only CAT LOVERS would visit these places? That means the cats are going to be pampered 24/7. Cats are DOMESTICATED CREATURES, they live happier lives in the company of humans who take good care of them.

There's no reason that cats need to be left alone before 11 or 12 in the evening, because cats prefer to sleep during the daytime anyways.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

kitten got claws

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

@Henry G- Great comeback!

Yeah, could these activists please deliver us humans from work? Really...

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Animals subjected to stress, like humans, often suffer from stress related illnesses and debilitations. Unlike humans, however, they don't actually have cat-psychiatrists they can pay to sit down and talk to. They don't have human cafes where they can go to scratch humans to de-stress from their day's (or evening's) work in the cat cafes. As domestic pets, they are subject to their owners' whims. I have not yet heard of a cat cafe that gave its cats annual leave quotas, health welfare, or monthly bonuses.

Of course, the above comparison I just made is utterly ridiculous. How can you expect to compare cats to humans? That is an extrapolation, however, of all the posters above who are directly comparing the stress cats have to undergo in that environment with the stress humans undergo during work. That argument is just so laughably irrational I couldn't resist.

As owners of domesticated animals, we humans have the OBLIGATION to ensure they are treated in a way that befits their dignity. This doesn't mean we need to give them the corporate welfare benefits I listed above, but instead, that we need to care for their health and make sure they are not subjected to unneccesary stress. In short: we need to curb those owners who would neglect to care for their pets. Whether or not cat cafes are guilty of said neglect is not fully clear - animal rights activists are claiming the cats are being put into situations that would give them constant stress and thus affect their health, but cat cafe owners are claiming their practices allow the cats sufficient rest. This is what the article is about. Leave your whining about the life you chose to lead out of the debate.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Politically correct asses.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I say...overturn it, or I'll open fire against the city hall, the diet, and in worst of the cases, the imperial palace.

In cat cafes, the majority came from the abandoned, with nothing to survive, where putting into an animal shelter becomes a struggling issue here. Plus sterilisations and vaccines are mandatory as usual, and you know what happens when a place like this doesn't draw more than 5 daily customers and it's reproduction rate draws more to 22 a day, with limited to Nile Profits, such maintenance rates could plunge them into dissolution.

And I say, no housing in Tokyo, and in other urban area in Japan, could allow pets, not just by landlord's requisites, but it's the city housing policy that decides it. So if this national ordinance comes in place, mind you, with no pet shops at public accessibility, suicide rates can jump to 176.58 for every 350 inhabitants.

I warn you, dump this ordinance into the trash can, until the neko shows signs of suffering in those places, but as long they comply with the requisites by different ministries, the abandoned cats have a place were lost affection is recovered, Period.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

24 hour puss petting is fine by me, but leaving cats alone at home for up to 18 hours a day is not. Old people in nursing homes get less attention, perhaps Japan should consider starting Obacafe! You go in have a chat help out and entertain your self with real people with yesrs of knowlage and experiance instead of petting pussys and playing games and so on. Sounds like a win win.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

I would argue the point that cats are more alert and awake in the night time. If people don't go there in the day time and the cats get to nap and.. well do there cat stuff, I can't really see the problem. I can understand people who don't want to see cats used like this. But surely there are other things animal activists can concern themselves with that would be more important. I mean these cats are living like kings :3

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The rules were drawn up by the environment ministry after it received more than 155,000 requests for action from the public

Not based on any scientific data, just because people signed a petition and protested... This is why / how the 3rd largest economy in the world, can still outright racially discriminate in domestic business practices..

So I guess if the U.S. adopted Japan's system of doing things, we could get a large enough number of people to sign a petition and say, we don't want (name a race or creed of people) living in our neighborhood, and if it was as easy as it is in Japan, we could ban those people...

This is why critical thinking is so in need of being taught in J-Universities... Instead of this "Simulated Education" thing that's been going on for decades.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This is why / how the 3rd largest economy in the world, can still outright racially discriminate in domestic business practices...

Nice try, but this and the rest of your post is all too typical of the unfounded rants found on these pages. Read the below part again.

The law is primarily aimed at the pet shops in Tokyos entertainment districts that regularly raise the eyebrows of Western visitors with their brightly-lit windows displaying dogs and cats in cramped glass tanks late into the night.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

“It is a huge blow to us cat cafes, and it’s nothing to do with protecting cats’ health,” said Yoshida, 32.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Yep, another stupid knee-jerk reaction that morphed into some absurd regulation. Nope, can't pet the kitty after 8pm. What's next, ban the bunnies?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

But for animal rights activists, these cafes are exploitative places where animals are subjected to unnatural stress.

The left, always on the lookout for "exploitation" and victims they can use.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Activists... always worrying more over animals than starved kids.... then they try to rescue street cats and castrate them in order to avoid reproduction.. then left them die... activists... never believe in those groups please...

0 ( +3 / -3 )

If apartment owners allow lessees to keep pets in rooms, they don't have to go to "neko cafes" after work. But "no pets in apartments", so can't have one.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Regulators are bureaucrats, what can one expect? Petto fuka clause is incomprehensible in light of all the problems Japanese have.

Saying that being stroked by a stranger is stressful is to understand nothing about cats. It is simply impossible to stroke a cat that does not want to be stroked. Even when the cat lets its pet humans to keep their beliefs about which one is being domesticated and by whom.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"Lights out" as early as possible at the pet shops? YES! Bigger cages for the animals? YES! Banning the "Kitty cafés"? NO! Both cats and "patrons" (in both senses of the word) can only benefit from their existence. If anything/one should be "banned", it should the people who buy dogs and cats in order to dress them up like humans...

And while on the subject: dogs should NOT be left chained up outside the house the whole year round. Ever since evolving from wolves, they have become just as "domesticated" as the cavemen themselves and deserve the same kind of respect as their "keepers" (I purposely avoided the word "owners" since I'm sure all dog-lovers would agree that we don't really know which of the two is the "real" owner...)

3 ( +4 / -1 )

... I dont know much about animl psychology so please someone correct me if I am wrong, but how do these people know the cats are not liking thieir environment? I have never been into one myself, but I am regulary forced to stop and watch through the windows while the kids ooh and aah over the cats and dogs. I dont see any unhappy, frightened or disturbed animals. I see a lot of animals jumping onto peoples knees voluntarily, purring loudly with their eyes closed looking blissful, and puppies happily playing together. They all look clean and well cared for.

@Nicky

Although I don't agree with this business model, there isn't really anything wrong with it. The question is, are these animals being treated humanely? I think if they properly rotated the animals, and let them rest in a quiet dimly lit or dark room away from people for a few hours a day (aside from their normal sleeping hours), then I don't see an issue with keeping these cafe's open late. The issue is, is that these shops are not, and probably can not be properly regulated so the shop owners will keep the animals out on the floor all day. While there are animals that may not mind being picked up, handled, and petted, surely there are those that are stressed by it, and should be taken off the floor periodically for rest. I can almost bet many of these cafe's don't do this.

There's a pet shop in the Roppongi area of Tokyo( Was this the target of the new law?) that stays open late into the night where I enjoyed checking out the puppies. They appeared to be well cared for but my only reservation was ultimately what happened to the dogs and cats that weren't bought. Still, being a dog lover, I enjoyed seeing them.

@paulinusa

This is so wrong in 18 different ways. These pet shops keep bright florescent white lights on these animals 24/7 and in the window where drunken hostesses coming home from their shifts at 3 or 4am tap or bang on the glass to try to wake these poor animals which are probably already maladjusted from bring separated from the their mothers and the rest of the litter too early. These animals (if bought at all) wind up having all kinds of health issues from lack of sleep and malnutrition. Some probably go through psychological trauma from being mishandled or over-handled by ALL kinds of people -and those that are the lucky ones that manage to get adopted. The ones don't get adopted are usually sent to puppy mills to be breed over and over again until they are no longer able bear offspring, while others are just put to sleep right away if they cannot be sold or bear offspring due to health or psychological issues.

If you are truly a dog lover, the sight of these poor animals in these inhumane pet shops should sadden you and you should be feeling outrage that they are even allowed to exist. This is why this law is being introduced, to SAVE the animals, not to make it difficult for cafes or pet shops. And IMO, if your whole business model revolves around exploiting animals to make a profit, then it doesn't deserve to stay open.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

If apartment owners allow lessees to keep pets in rooms, they don't have to go to "neko cafes" after work. But "no pets in apartments", so can't have one.

This is so true. In a house that I previously lived, the landlord had a deal where he allowed pets only if the renter paid twice the security deposit and that he would unconditionally keep half of it after the renter moved out. It was a smart way to protect his investment, and yet attract families with pets.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Cats are as diverse in personality as people and show discomfort in as many different ways but judging by the videos the ones in these cafes obviously enjoy the attention. The ones who are stressed have no problem with walking away and ignoring the people around them. Set up a few cozy hideaways and vertical space where the kitties can hibernate without being bothered (cheaper than closer) and then ask the activists to get on it with whaling, rise of smuggling/illegal trade, systematically destroying ecosystems etc.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

By all means ban the exploitation/abuse of animals that goes on in the pet trade - puppy farms, pups separated from mothers too early, poor nutrition, poor environment, poor health care, animals considered nothing but merchandise, discarded when no longer wanted. Please, please, pass whatever laws are necessary to stop the abuse.

The cat cafes, as someone mentioned, are a completely different animal, in that they provide a place for moggies that are pampered, cossetted, given everything they need. They are not forced to sit on a customer's lap and 'endure' being petted. Most cafes make it a rule that the cats are not to be picked up or chased. When they get fed up of the attention, they can remove themselves; the cafes have areas the cats can go but not the customers, either through a cap flap or climbing areas, like the artificial tree mentioned in the article. Try picking up and stroking a cat that's stressed out and doesn't want to be picked up or stroked. Scratchville. If the customers aren't complaining about being scratched, I'm willing to accept that the cats are not stressed. A self-regulating industry; run a cat cafe with stressed-out cats, and you soon find yourself with no customers.

Cats sleep when they like, play when they like. Late nights are nothing to them.

6 ( +5 / -0 )

Some of you people have no idea what they're talking about. Cats are not dogs. Cats do not like to interact with too many people. Cats were never really that domesticated to begin with. Cat cafes ARE stressful for cats.

I've never been to one myself, but I've heard that cats there looked scared and uncomfortable and they generally stayed away from customers by residing on high places. Again, cats are NOT dogs, they do not like to be constantly petted and interact with people 24/7 and given too much attention and.

So yeah, +1 for banning pet displays and cat cafes.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Absolutely welcome this rule. Japan needs to come out of the third world, regarding animal rights protection.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

24 hour puss petting is fine by me, but leaving cats alone at home for up to 18 hours a day is not. Old people in nursing homes get less attention, perhaps Japan should consider starting Obacafe! You go in have a chat help out and entertain your self with real people with yesrs of knowlage and experiance instead of petting pussys and playing games and so on. Sounds like a win win.

And why do you assume that cats want to be petted or given attention 24/7? They don't! Cats generally barely want to be petted most of the time. Cats are generally NOT affectionate like dogs. That's why cat cafes are so stressful for the cats.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

They'll have to apply for unempawment benefits.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Some of you people have no idea what they're talking about

Well tell them how it is Professor.

I've never been to one myself

Oh.

but I've heard

No it's ok, I think I've heard enough.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Anyone ever see cats wandering during the hours of darkness? Yes. Why is an 8p.m. curfew in their interest? Seems like they are ready to party by then.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

If only the activists were so protective of under-aged girls in men's 'clubs'.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Gosh, I so much did not need to read about this. Maybe I should not have commented also. Just think so many other important topics could be written about. I could go on and on, but 'the cat got my tongue'.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I see no problem here. Just turn the joint into a yakiniku restaurant after 8:00. You'd double up on clientele without having to change the menu.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

From morning to night these cats are being stroked by people they do not know. For the animals, that is a real source of stress,” she said.

Has she been a cat in her past life ? . I apprciate the action of some activist who want to protect animals but seriously it's really annoying when they come out with this sort of thing. How can they feel animals' feelings ? Animals are not that simple mind we think they are... They can defend themselves, if they feel stressful or anything else, for sure you'll know it !

1 ( +3 / -2 )

These "animal rights activists" are nuts. They should get out of everybody´s face, and government should stopp appeasing them with ludicrious legislation.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

why can't the people spend some " private quality " time with their mates instead of cats ? Help solve the low fertility problem too........................ I will volunteer to be the " cat ", ladies.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@oberst Cats are wonderful animals. The animal business in Japan is ridiculous. I have never paid for a pet in my life. There was always an article in the newspaper or a neighbor who just had a litter that would provide a cat for FREE!!!

Upon taking this responsibility my family visited a vet regularly to care for the cat.

The way I see it is this. If the owner is maintaining the proper care of these cats and people are willing to pay an extra premium in support of these wonderful felines then it's alright with me. They get treated better than homeless people and therefore you P.C types hold no weight with me. This is a cat cafe issue and you're barking up the wrong tree Odie!!

What's funny is I see no need to attack these small businesses. They will most likely fail on their own. There are huge sanitation issues involved that far beyond a debate on how time the cats get to sleep.

There's a whole family of feral cats in my neighborhood. Stop complaining about these cats who are turning a profit and come help the ones that are stray.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Edit: What's funny is I see no need to attack these small businesses. They will most likely fail on their own. There are huge sanitation issues involved that go far beyond a debate on how much time the cats get to sleep.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

There are huge sanitation issues involved

If as I imagine they are 100% indoor cats, properly vaccinated and allowed free access to a toileting space away from the customers, I don't see that there are any huge issues regarding sanitation. At least no more so than having a cat in your own home. I expect the cafes provide wipes for people to use before they eat their snacks.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The way I read this article and the following comments is that the new ordinance was not meant to stop cat cafes, but rather the pet shops. I think this could be fixed to only target the offending pet shops if the people making up the rules were just clearer about what they will and will not accept rather than throw out a general blanket rule.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I have been to a cat cafe in Ikebukuro, or rather to Sunshine city Tokyu Hands pet supplies shop, where there is a cat cafe. I was looking for a large carrier for my big boy cat, and was unsure he would fit in the one I had chosen. The very nice staff brought out a cat who was a similar size and the same breed as mine from the cat cafe. He was beautifully groomed, clearly very healthy and very very friendly and purr-ey. We fed him some of his kibble which was really high quality Royal Canin, and he helped us pick a suitable carrier for my fluffy friend...he also sold me some premium brand wet food, and a "Da bird", and some cat shampoo...good salesman, that kitty. We then went into the cafe for a while, it was beautifully clean, the cats were all very friendly and happy in their environment. There were lots of chill out spaces for the cats out of human reach, and they were all absolutely beautifully groomed, neutered and seemed in excellent health.

I see no problems at all with cat cafes, not everyone can have a pet at home, and the cats are not in tiny little plastic cases, but in a really lovely environment with great care. Ok, so they dont have a home and a regular family, but as Netninja points out, it could be far far worse.

What would happen if these places closed down? How many of the cats would end up in the ward office gas chambers!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Well tell them how it is Professor. No it's ok, I think I've heard enough.

Seriously? I'll admit that I'm no "expert", but I think it's reasonable to expect that cats are not completely social creatures.

How many cats do you know that wants to be petted 24/7 before they get pissed at you and leave?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

And do you honestly think that people who go to these cat cafes CARE anything about how the cats are actually like in reality? Well no, because they're just expecting to see cute cats and they most likely want to hold them and pet them because that's what they paid for and that's what they except. If the cats are not friendly and are grumpy then they most likely feel cheated. Unfortunately, cats are animals, and technically not commodities and they don't always act how you or anyone else want them to act.

I'll rephrase this question slightly:

How many cats do you know that want to be petted 24/7 before they get pissed at you and leave? Let alone want even be petted by STRANGERS? Many many many different strangers, every day?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

How many cats do you know that wants to be petted 24/7

How many cat cafes have you been to where the cats are petted 24/7? And where they aren't allowed to leave when they've had enough?

Cats are generally NOT affectionate like dogs.

I know one that is. She's like velcro.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

My big boy neuter cat is a total love bug, follows me faithfully all over the house, sleeps with me, asks to be petted, rubs his head on me, and cries when I leave the house. He is not the only cat I have ever met to be like that. My female neuter is a little cooler, but still has her moments, and likes to sit near people, if not right on top of them. These cats are not bothered 24/7, and have plenty of places to escape attention in their cat trees.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

How many cat cafes have you been to where the cats are petted 24/7? And where they aren't allowed to leave when they've had enough?

Well the idea is that many customers come in, and many will want to pet them. Many people will probably touch them or pet them even when they're asleep or don't feel like being touched. And obviously 24/7 is an exaggeration, but do you really think that cats want to be touched and petted by strangers even most of the time...

And it's not just about petting, some cats will be uncomfortable being around with many human strangers.

Sure some cats are more social and don't mind, but not all are.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I've seen some videos of cats in the cat cafes, and they looked kind of tired and lethargic, yet people still wanted to touch and pet them (can't say that I blame them, since that's probably what they expected), and the cat clearly couldn't even be bothered to move away or leave - too stressed out to do so probably.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So, Thomas, Im sure then you will take in all the cats who would be made homeless once these cafe's are shut down? Or are they better off dead in the ward office animal gas chambers?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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