A Cup of Coffee and A Calico, Please

<p>"Cat cafes" are popping up all over Tokyo, giving patrons the company of a cat -- without the burden of actually owning one. There are at least seven cat cafes in Tokyo.</p>
April 27, 2008, 7am PDT | Nate Berg
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"Just around the corner from the pulsing blare and brightness of the Akihabara electronics and anime district, cafe Neko JaLaLa is an oasis of calm. Past the brass, paw-handled door to the inner sanctum, denizens loll on the thick carpet, drape over couches, and almost purr with pleasure in the quiet atmosphere."

"And that's just the humans."

"It's the eight staff cats who actually set the tone here at this "cat cafe." Customers can sip tea, just as at regular cafes in Tokyo, but the felines – some sashaying cool, others chasing their own tails – are the point at the city's cat cafes."

"'When it comes to having cats, it's a burden. I work and I don't have the time to take care of them in a responsible manner,' Oda says of the utility of cat cafes."

"And in Tokyo – where not only long work hours but tight and expensive real estate limit pet ownership – cat cafes are a cultural trend. There are at least seven of them operating in Tokyo, packing customers in at fees varying from $8 to $12 an hour."

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Published on Friday, April 25, 2008 in The Christian Science Monitor
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