The title is in Japanese. It means: 7 shironeko (7 white cats)…which is not true in this instance! Perhaps the translation is imprecise.

Comment: The first point to make is that there is no reason why I can’t have a title to an article in Japanese or any other language. The world is a family of different nationalities and I should not be stuck on English. The second point is that this is a very carefully constructed video which (1) gives Westerners a clue as to the sort of domestic cat that you see in Japan. They are a little bit different in terms of their liking for domestic cat appearance and (2) domestic cats love those tight spaces. The love the pressure against them and these plastic baskets are small relative to the size of the cats. They look too small but they are probably the right size which is instructional to anybody who wants to buy a cat bed. I believe that domestic cats like the reassurance that the tight fit gives them. The small cat beds might have a similar effect to a cat calming product called the Thundershirt. Sometimes cats snooze in bathroom sinks for the same reason. They are tight fits. Maru is a cat in Japan who likes a tightfitting box as well. There is one other point..(3) the calmness of the cats is noticeable. Is the video maker using artificial phermomones?

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Cats – The Usual Suspects

Cats - The Usual Suspects
Cats – The Usual Suspects

The big question is how the Japanese owner managed to get his gorgeous cats to stay put long enough to make a short video like this. The fella in the middle breaks ranks eventually. He has his eyes firmly closed throughout until he gets up. He looks as if he is saying to himself, “Do I really have to do this?…I’ll give him 15 seconds and then that’s it, I’m off….”

How do I know they are Japanese cats? They look like it and this sort of video is typical of the Japanese. Very cute. Also I translated the title using Google Translate and it detected Japanese.

Japanese woman could be first to die from tick disease caught from infected cat

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Big Boss Cat Utsunomiya, Tochigi, Japan (photo)

I would doubt that you have seen a cat with this appearance before:

Big Boss Cat - Utsunomiya, Tochigi, Japan.
Big Boss Cat – Utsunomiya, Tochigi, Japan. Photo by David Panevin

I think the color balance is wrong. It must be wrong because you never see cat coats of this colour. My guess is that this cat is a grey. I removed some of the magenta cast but it has left some interesting rusty tones within the coat. However, I think the color below is more accurate:

Big Boss Cat - Utsunomiya, Tochigi, Japan.
Big Boss Cat – Utsunomiya, Tochigi, Japan.

The cat looks extremely stocky and large. There is no scaling so we have to guess on size but there is a distinct impression that he is very large. The eyes are piercing and he looks extremely confident.

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Cat Cafés are Growing in Popularity: A Purrfect way to Make New Friends

cat cafe japan

If you happen to be traveling through Japan, while you are marveling at all the amazing sites but all of a sudden get a yen to cuddle with a kitty, put your mind at ease; there’s an abundance of cat cafés from which to choose. Not only can you quench your thirst with a delectable beverage, you can also have an up close and purrsonal connection with a clowder of cherished, friendly felines.

Even though cat cafes are flourishing in Japan, it was not the first country to open one of these feline-centered establishments. Taiwan opened their first cat café in 1998. After the brilliant idea of folks being able to combine the company of friendly cats while at the same time savoring the taste of their favorite coffee blend and socialize with one another was not not only accepted widely; the concept quickly went viral.

Apparently the cat-loving travelers who visited the original cat café in Taipei (Taiwan’s capital city), had so much they couldn’t stop talking about their experience. Their excitement opened the door for other cities around the world to open cat cafes. This helped to make these unique coffee houses a popular way to accommodate coffee- loving felinophiles.

But these establishments serve yet another important purpose. Cat lovers who live in rental apartments or houses that don’t allow pets on the premises get the opportunity to enjoy the company of felines, without worrying about losing their home. Should they break their rental agreement rules by sneaking a kitty into their dwelling, they could easily face eviction.

cat cafe Japan
Cat cafe at Shinjuku, Japan. Photo by Ari Helminen under creative commons license.

Due to the huge number of cat-crazy folks, in almost record time cat cafés began opening throughout Japan like wild fire, in cities such as Osaka and Tokyo. Not to be outdone, much to the delight of feline-worshippers, other Japanese cities started following suit, with cat cafés beginning to become rather commonplace.

But opening a cat café is not for the faint of heart. Although these cat cafés are in high demand, due to the stringent pet-protection laws in Japan, it makes the opening and operating of a feline-cafe establishment extremely frustrating. In order to comply with these regulations, owners of cat cafés are required to post a long list of rules and regulations to which their customers must adhere. There are even some cafés that prohibit customers from actually touching the cats. However, it’s acceptable for patrons to have a kitty on their lap if the cat is the one who makes the first overtures.

In Vienna, Neko (the Japanese word for cat) was the name of the first cat café to be opened in the city. But after the owner first applied for a license, it took three years for the authorities to grant her permission to open the establishment. The first five cats who were “employed”  were all adopted from a local animal shelter. Of course, since the patrons adored them and doted on them, naturally these rescued shelter kitties enjoyed a far greater quality of life.

According to the Huffington Post, there’s good Mews ahead for folks living in the United States. In the San Francisco Bay area two new cat cafés are being planned for the enjoyment of residents and tourist. The KitTea, located in San Francisco, will be colonizing the café with cats, by partnering with two shelters. The establishment will become a half-way home for adoptable cats. While a location has not yet been settled on, the owners are planning to make their cafe a place in which folks can interact and relax while enjoying the company of the kitties.

Cat Town will be opened in Oakland as an extension of Oakland’s Cat Town shelter. Although it has a heavy emphasis on adoption, everyone will be welcomed in for a free playtime with the kitties. Both of these cat cafes are scheduled to be opened sometime this year.

And Michael has told about Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium which has just opened in the East End of London, UK. We are told it opened on 1st March 2014. Although the Lady Dinah’s website indicates that it is not open yet. Please check. Apparently it took a lot of planning and preparation because, as mentioned, there are regulations to follow when you have domestic animals meandering around a café amongst the public. It has been well publicized and patronized. Michael promised me he’d visit and report on the experience.

How would you enjoy sipping a flavorful latte or your favorite blend of tea, sharing some human companionship with a cat purring happily on your lap? Tell us in a comment.


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Japanese Attitudes Towards Cats and Dogs

Kitten in pet shop in Tokyo

The Japanese have distinctly different attitudes to cat and dog ownership compared to people in Europe and North America. Although there is some overlap.

“People don’t want an adult dog — they want to get a dog when it is still young.”

As a bit of background this chart compares ratios of pet to human population in three countries:

CountryPercentage of pet cats and dogs to people

The Japanese like their pets but no one likes them more than Americans.

75% of euthanized pets in Japan are cats (japantimes.co.jp)

A disturbing aspect of Japanese attitudes to their pets is that 82% (204,000) of animals (cats and dogs) at shelters are killed yearly and of these 54,000 are dogs, the remainder are cats. Killing rates are lower in the West: 7% (for dogs) in UK and 36% (for “animals”) in Canada.

There are more unwanted cats than dogs because they are left to roam and breed, which is a similar reason to the West. In contrast there are very high neutering rates for dogs so very few puppies are brought to shelters compared to kittens (1 puppy to 900 kittens at Animal Control Center in 2011, Tokyo)

Another disappointing aspect is that they use CO2 for mass killings rather than individual injections. The deputy director, Hiroyuki Satake, of the Tokyo’s Animal Protection and Consultation Center in Setagaya Ward, says it would traumatise a person to kill animals individually. For this reason they want to avoid direct methods. I have never heard such a poor reason for mass killing of companion animals.

I believe that CO2 “euthanasia” is in the process of being gradually phased out in North America because it is distressing for the animals. See a gas chamber and read a description of what happens.  However, some people believe CO2 poisoning is acceptable.

Associated page: Stray cat picture – photographs by Japanese cat photographer MAR.

Satake says that he would prefer to mass kill pets using anesthetic gas but the machine is too expensive. Only one place uses the machine. Another poor comment in my opinion. Japan has enough money. They are printing it by the billions to ease their financial problems (called “quantative easing”). Give some to animal shelters, I say.

The Japanese prefer to buy their pets from pet shops. They prefer cute kittens and puppies to adult animals. They don’t want to adopt older dogs from shelters. Shelters only have adult animals. So there are high levels of killing, euphemistically called “euthanasia” at shelters.

On the plus side Japanese pet owners spend a lot on veterinary care. They also spend on accessories for their pets which indicates a slight obsession which seems slightly distorted because of the high rates of shelter killings. They tend to relinquish their pet when they get old. That is not untypical anywhere but it may be more common in Japan.

Satake says:

“We get a lot of dogs from people in their 60s and 70s. Often they have to go into hospital and can’t take their dog with them.”

I don’t consider the 60s to be an age at which a person should relinquish a dog to a shelter where the dog will be killed – and surely the dog’s owner knows this – as retired people are normally in the best position to care for companion animals. They are ideal for the task as they are around a lot more.

However, we are also told that the Japanese are “devoted” to the pets. However, only adopting puppies and kittens and relinquishing them to almost certain death when you are 60 does not seem like devotion to me. Am I missing something?

Source: Japan Times. Author: Simon Scott.


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Japanese Bobtail

japanese bobtail

Japanese Bobtail – Ninja – photograph © Helmi Flick.

This is a linked photograph. Click on this photograph to see one of the best cat photographs on the internet in very large format. all photographs are strictly copyright Helmi Flick. The images (where indicated) and words on this page and linked pages are protected by copyright. Please respect it. Copyright violations are reported to Google (DMCA).

Note: the article is divided into four sections for SEO reasons. There is a link to the following section at the base of each part.


maneki neko statue

Above: Maneki Neko figurine outside a shop reproduced under creative commons © heavylift

Other than the Japanese Bobtail’s impressive and interesting appearance, the overriding topic of interest in relation to this cat is the history of the breed and the myths and stories surrounding it as they are rooted in the history of the country. Sculptures and illustrations made centuries ago apparently depict the Japanese Bobtail. A current, extremely common and commercialized depiction of this cat can be seen in the good luck charm, the Welcoming Cat. This is the Maneki Neko (“Beckoning Cat”) figurine. The figurine is a very stylized and kitsch representation of the Japanese Bobtail, beckoning a customer in.

japanese bobtail

Above: Japanese Bobtail cat with left arm raised photograph by Helmi Flick.

The Japanese way to beckon is with the palm outwards and the fingers waving in. The Western way is the back of the hand outwards. The figurine is doing it the Eastern Way and Ninja, above, the Western way.

The history behind the Beckoning Cat is worth telling, briefly. There are many stories. One concerns a 17th century cat called Tama who lived with a priest. The priest wanted the cat to contribute to temple life.

Japanese Bobtail

A dignitary was visiting the temple during a rainstorm and sheltered under a tree. Tama welcomed him in. Shortly afterwards, lightning hit the tree. As a reward the dignitary helped the temple. The legend was born. This story is an amalgam of the two I recite on this page: Maneki Neko Cats. In another story from the same period a cat’s head (yes, just the head) saved the life of a geisha called Usugumo by biting the head of a snake nearby. Moments before being beheaded the cat had pulled at the hem of the geisha’s robe to alert her to the snake but an admirer thought the cat a “goblin cat” and beheaded her. The raised left arm of the figurine/statue symbolizes the arm of the cat pulling at the robe. There are apparently many other stories. The favorite colors of the Maneki Neko are the same as the cat (see below).

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Max the dog(cat)

Max the dog(cat)

by Larry Reichelt
(Gresham, Oregon)

Likes new home

Likes new home

Likes new home Took over my bed. With friend on hot tub hanging out

Our black and white Old English Sheepdog died Oct 30,2011. The very next day this black and white cat showed up in our front yard.

He also had a stubby tail like the dog did. Found his breed on internet. Japanese Bobtail. It's like the dog died and cat appeared !!!!!!!!! He will go for a walk around block with me. (no strings attached).

So named him same as dog. Now when anyone comes to house,I tell them to watch out for the dog. Ha ha

He sure likes to play and jump on his toys. Great cat. See pictures. Some are with his new friend.


Comments for
Max the dog(cat)

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Apr 19, 2012 After life NEW
by: Michael

A lot of people who believe in the after life would believe that your dog had come back as a cat, as you say. Amazing story.

People who don't believe in the after life could start believing!

And he looks like a Japanese Bobtail. The fact that he goes for a walk is amusing and strange. Some cats do this, though.

Putting aside the after life theory, it may be that Max had wanted to join you for a while but couldn't because of your dog. When the chance came he jumped in.

Nice little story and good photos too. Thanks for telling us.

Sweet Ivy helps us through our grief

Sweet Ivy helps us through our grief

by Kim
(Austin, Tx)

Baby Ivy

Baby Ivy

Ivy is now about 4 years old. My daughter and I rescued her through a Siamese Group from an over crowded City Animal Shelter.

Ivy loves to ride on my husband's shoulders while he walks around the backyard and the pool. She is very affectionate.

Japanese Bobtail cat
Lovely sweet Ivy, our Japanese Bobtail.

Our daughter passed away unexpectedly one year after saving Ivy. She taught Ivy how to kiss.

When she is in the mood, she will kiss you over and over. I was drawn to Ivy at the shelter. I wonder if somehow I knew she would help us through our immense grief.

She sits in a chair by the window as we pull up to the house. Always ready to get kisses and hugs.

She is also the smartest cat we have ever owned. Ivy is a Japanese Bobtail, and her short little tail is very cute.

The famous porcelain Japanese cat that sits on her hind legs and raises her paw is a Bobtail. She is my best friend.


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Sweet Ivy helps us through our grief

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Feb 11, 2011 A two way love
by: Anna

Dear Kim:

I am so sorry for your Daughter..
The arrival of the little Sweet Ivy to your household definitely had to have a reason. Part of your Daughter's empathy and kindness stayed with you with those sweet and warm kisses. And there is even more meaning to it now, after so many people could see your story and share your love and your pain.

May be just adopting a kitten can help other people through their hard times. I understand it may not be the best analogy, but our furry cat Lyova saved my Daughter by helping her through the tough times at her school far away from home. It is definitely a two way street when we care for these wonderful animals.

Feb 10, 2011 Grief and another Japanese Bobtail!
by: Daniel

The story of my wife and I rescuing a kitten that turned out to be a Japanese Bobtail is on this website somewhere (I'm not sure exactly how you would access it), it is titled "My Japanese Bobtail Story", and has a picture of Jackson. However, one thing that is not mentioned in the story is the fact that my wife, Patricia, passed away on Dec. 2, 2010. Jackson was without a doubt her kitty baby. I suppose I am more of a "dog person" (I currently have five, three of my own and two that I foster), but I do like cats too, and having Jackson around, along with my dogs, has been the absolute best therapy possible to help me get through this grief process which I am still going through since it has only been a little over two months. They are all a precious gift and I don't know what I would do without them.

Feb 10, 2011 Ivy
by: Ruth

Ivy is very beautiful, such a sweet little face she has.
I'm so sorry about your daughter Kim and it's true cats can help you through grief.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Feb 10, 2011 touching story
by: Nancy


As a fellow Austinite, thank you for rescuing Ivey. The photos of her show the sweetest face and I can see where Ivey has been part of your healing from the sudden loss of your daughter. Your story touched me. I have two rescued kitties that came into my life right before my mother was diagnosed with cancer. My mother was so happy over my choice of black and white kitties because she had one as a little girl. They helped me through the loss of my mother.



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