There are about 100 cat cafés in Japan with about 70 in the Tokyo area, apparently. They are a Japanese invention. They create a homely, warm atmosphere. Some people visit them just to be with, look at and photograph the cats. Apparently there is an hourly charge to be in the café - ¥1,000 an hour, or about $12.
|Neka Jalala cat café - photo: Nuno Cardosa (Flickr)|
These cafés are obviously designed to be exceptionally homey in character. There are magazines and sofas and...well you get the idea. The humble domestic cat adds a vital live element to this cosy atmosphere - catmosphere.
So why do I proclaim that this new phenomenon should be imported into the United States? I guess, when you think about, the answer is obvious. To save the lives of cats that would otherwise be killed at so called shelters.
There are hundreds of thousands of wonderfully socialised and friendly domestic cats who would be perfect as an employee of a cat café but which are routinely euthanised (actually plain killed) at shelters. In fact come to think about it why can't a shelter open a cat café? That is a poor idea if the shelter is miles from passing traffic - meaning people walking by - but if the shelter is in an urbanised area why can't they show a bit of imagination and open a little cat café? Not only would it put cats to good use that would otherwise be deliberately killed, it would attract attention, pull in some revenue and allow visitors to the café to select a cat for re-homing. Neat, maybe too neat to be viable but it sounds OK on paper.
However, I was thinking more commercially than that. I was thinking about an entrepreneur opening a trial cat café and then a chain if the trail worked. They could link up with shelters to allow for a nice supply of finely balanced cats suitable for the role.
There is no reason why even a fully commercialized cat café cannot allow the re-homing of some of its cats to customers. A café is a perfect meeting place for people. Why can't it be a meeting place between cats and people with a view to re-homing?
It would be one small, and I know it is a small step, towards stopping the horrible mass slaughter of millions, yes millions of domestic can feral cats in the United States every year.
Shelters need to be more imaginative in how to save lives. I am sure that there are numerous examples of lateral and imaginative thinking that would lead to solutions to stop the mass slaughter. It is just putting two of God's creatures together, human and cat. The people are out there.
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