Sharing the Domestic Cat
In Japan they have cat café’s. They are called “neko”. They are coffee shops, where you can sit and chat, chill out and meet a cat!
The last bit is the different bit. They have Starbucks in Japan too. A lot of people like Starbucks but the idea of sitting in nice surroundings with all the usual trappings of a high quality café plus the domestic cat makes the neko a keen competitor to Starbucks.
The attraction of the cat café is that they have the calming input of the domestic cat. They provide a homely feel to the place. The café is more organic and less scientific and commercial. People need that kind of feeling which is why the domestic cat is very popular.
The cat café is a combination of coffee + cat..and chat.
You only see them in Japan it seems.
Some commentors have likened the cat café as a way for people who can’t keep a cat for whatever reason to still have contact with a cat, to meet a cat and satisfy the need to keep a cat.
It is a form of “cat time-share”. Some cats do time share. They wander from house to house. In respect of the cat café it is the person who is doing the time sharing.
What the presence of the cat café means is that there are less cats in relation to people because one cat will satisfy the needs of several people.
As these cats are well cared for it could be said that a similar scheme would help reduce the numbers of unwanted cats in the USA.
People who thought they wanted to “own” a cat could rent a cat instead by visiting a cat café. OK it is not strictly speaking renting but it is a form of renting or cat sharing for the time the person is in the café. It simply must translate to less abandonments. And less abandonments means less killing at shelters, which is something dear to my heart.
Even disregarding the lowering of cat relinquishments it would allow people who have never kept a cat to gain some understanding of the domestic cat and of their thoughts about the domestic cat – a kind of trial run. This too would help reduce can relinquishment as it would reduce the percentage of early relinquishments due to false expectations.
The impact of the cat café would be small in mighty USA but every little bit helps.
Can someone start up cat cafés in the USA please?
One last point: a cat café could employ the services of unwanted cats from shelters; another way to reduce the killing of cats at shelters.
Photo: Neka Jalala cat café – photo: Nuno Cardosa (Flickr)