Today, Sunday, October 23, Avalon said her dream came true. John and I took her and Kaiyo to find a Cat Cafe. What is a Cat Cafe anyway? It is a place where you can pay an outrageous amount of money by the hour just to sit in a place with a lot of cats wandering around and have a drink of coffee, tea, juice or cocoa. You can’t even have a fun cocktail or champagne while you pet the furry felines crawling all around. Actually at least half of them are sleeping soundly like lumps on logs. I now want to open my own Cat Cafe in my house and charge by the hour and guests can come over and drink my alcohol.
The two kids were just dying to visit a Cat Cafe. In fact, this is one of the places that Kaiyo researched when he was looking for fun things to do to help get him motivated about coming to Japan. The four of us ventured downtown and John found it easily with Google Maps leading us. Halyard decided to stay home and pet Maneki and Pickles from the comfort of the couch.
This cafe is called Neko no Jikan, which literally means Cat’s Time. We stepped inside a door and a variety of instructions on a sliding glass door greeted us. We had to take off our shoes. We had to wash our hands. We had to be quiet. We had to put our bags away. After following these instructions we went inside the sliding door that took us into the cafe.
Cats everywhere. One cat was the most enormous cat I’ve ever seen. It was bigger than most small dogs. Some cats had a smashed face that made them look like Grumpy Cat. A few were very fluffy and soft. One was an almost hairless cat, which is funny because it was honestly a hairless variety cat with short soft fur that made it feel like a stuffed animal. It was probably the most fun to pet. Several of them were typical house cats… curled up in tight little balls and fast asleep. I’m sure they get petted all day long because they didn’t budge or lift their heads or even open an eye when we started petting them. Some were hiding in play toys.
The deal is you pay by the hour. It’s 1000 yen (about $10) per hour to stay and pet the cats. It’s 1200 yen (about $12) per hour to pet the cats and order a drink. The website says it’s 1500 yen (about $15) to pet the cats, order a drink and have a piece of cake. But cake didn’t seem to be an option today. So the four of us paid 4800 yen (about $48!) to hang out and pet cats for an hour and have a drink. I have also learned over the past few days that cocoa is pronounced “ko-ko-aahh.” If you say, do you have co-co, you get a blank stare. And you can order it hot or cold in Japan. Cold cocoa over ice is amazing! We all ordered some delicious ko-ko-aahh. They even managed to make it without cat hair. Amazing with all those long haired cats wandering around.
There were about ten people in there including us at all times while we were there. They call your name when your hour is up and you have to leave. A group of three young people came in with two women and one man. The young man was clearly afraid of the cats and it was hilarious. The gigantic cat wasn’t very friendly and he was also territorial. So the young man was afraid of this large cat. Seriously, he was super jumpy and he kept cowering in the corner with his hand near his face and saying, “kowai,” which means scary! He was being kind of funny about it so he might have been playing it up a little. But the cats were freaking him out and he really was sitting in the corner shouting “kowai (koh-why)” at the cats when they came close to him.
One woman in this group bought chicken cat treats for 300 yen to feed the cats. It looked like chicken lunch meat. Messy, I thought. The cats rushed her eagerly. She had at least a dozen cats staring her down. While she sat on the floor and fed them Avalon instantly wanted to do the same. I gave in and Kaiyo and Avalon bought a small container of cat cookies for 200 yen. Avalon acted like it was the best day of her life in Japan. She kept saying it was a dream come true. Kaiyo brought the video camera and asked John to videotape him with the cats. Look for a Cat Cafe video on his You Tube channel, coming soon.
The posted signs say do not leave your drink alone or the cats might drink it. You have to sit down at a table and drink with whatever cats are within petting reach and then return your glass to the counter. Only then can you continue to move about petting and squealing at cats.
It was a pretty funny adventure today. I’m not sure it was worth $48 for an hour when I can pet cats for free at my own house. But on the other hand, $48 seems like a small price to pay to have the best day of your life in Japan.
This is the street that the cafe is on. This area in downtown Osaka is called Shinsaibashi. It’s been featured in my other blog posts. Shinsaibashi has it all! Cat cafes included. We love it down there.