Tokyo, Japan

Disposable Purrs

suspicious rest
Fuzzy feline rests in a carrycot, a little suspicious of visitors.
Mount of carrycots
Recliners at the Cats Livin Cattery Store
Cats Livin gantry
Customer leaves Cats Livin cattery in Odaiba
Staircase to the heights
Gato ascends to the higher domains of Cats Livin
paid parties
Siamese is gifted with parties while resting in a small cot.
sphynx cat
Visitors to the Cats Livin de Odaiba cattery admire a strange Sphynx cat, also called the hairless Canadian.
TV moment
Television moments and pure feline rest.
Two cats in a corner of Cats Livin's kitchen
A cat appears to guard the painting with the rules imposed on visitors.
Cat naps on an ironing board.
restless cats
After napping and watching TV, a Persian examines the suspicious behavior of a female keeper
Tokyo is the largest of the metropolises but, in its tiny apartments, there is no place for pets. Japanese entrepreneurs detected the gap and launched "catteries" in which the feline affections are paid by the hour.

The average Tokyo dweller wakes up around six in the morning.

Walk or cycle to the metro. Reads, listens to music or snoozes for nearly an hour to the station closest to the workplace. They enter service around eight and carry out their duties until seven, sometimes eight at night or even later, depending on the time the hierarchical superiors encourage them to stay.

In between, there is a mere hour of decompression, dedicated to a quick meal, followed by some socializing or a walk. The inhuman pace that is imposed by the capital leaves little time to take care of pets and, if this restriction already discourages most of those interested in having them, other even more restrictive are imposed.

Tokyo catteries, Japan, restless cats

After napping and watching TV, a Persian examines the suspicious behavior of a female keeper

Tokyo has the housing most expensive on the face of the Earth. For this reason, most places opt for small apartment rentals, spartan in terms of comfort and also condominium rules that almost always prohibit animals.

The last of the reserves has a simpler resolution in a nation that until recently was the second economic power of the world. Stray cats are virtually non-existent in Tokyo. Each newborn copy costs a modest 120.000 yen in the city's pet stores, let's say, more than a thousand euros.

But in the country of imaginative, practical and profitable solutions, this obstacle was seen as one more social problem among many others. It didn't take long for companies willing to explore it.

Ikebukuro and Other Tokyo Cat Cafes

Ikebukuro is one of Tokyo's great neighborhoods and Tokyu Hands is one of its many department stores. On the eighth floor, we find the famous Nekobukuro store named with a combination of neku (the Japanese term for cat) with the name of the area in which it is located.

Tokyo, Japan Catteries - Outbound

Customer leaves Cats Livin cattery in Odaiba.

Much thanks to its central location, Nekobukuro has become the most popular. Several other similar establishments compete with it. This is the case of Cats Livin, which settled in the sophisticated area of ​​Odaiba, where the sophisticated Japanese civil construction technology allowed Tokyo to invade its bay. And, from there, extend towards the Pacific Ocean.

The structures and decorations of both are similar. And, as much as those who are less passionate about animals find it ridiculous, they are designed in terms of the cats' well-being and the visitors' happiness.

They have several functional or thematic divisions. Twenty to thirty restless or lethargic felines of all races and appearances share or defend them.

Do Sphynx alien to the most banal tart.

Tokyo, Japan catteries, customers and sphynx cat

Visitors to the Cats Livin de Odaiba cattery admire a strange Sphynx cat, also called the hairless Canadian.

There is a living room with a television that shows videos for cats, a library with a computer pretending and “gatal” brand software, kitchen, bathroom, among others.

In all rooms, the walls are equipped with shelves, boxes, small staircases and elevated walkways where cats can walk and exercise their acrobatic skills.

Tokyo, Japan catteries, staircase

Gato ascends to the higher domains of Cats Livin

There are also cots and baskets in which others slumber for hours on end, even though – as we have noticed – constantly harassed by new would-be owners.

Tokyo catteries, Japan, parties

Siamese is gifted with parties while resting in a small cot.

Catteries Visitors Eager to Purr

These enter equipped in order to obtain memories, not just emotions. Between parties and games with yarn balls and rubber mice, they keep videos and photographs of their favorite cats.

Tokyo Catteries, Japan, TV for Cats

Television moments and pure feline rest.

They see them at home over and over again, until they end up returning to catch up, indifferent to the bittersweet smell of urine from the premises.

In order to facilitate identification and mutual understanding, all cats are listed on a panel placed at the entrance. The catalog is completed with the most tender images, names, races and physiological data.

Despite strong instincts and powerful selective memory, for cats the task of memorization can turn out to be far more complicated than for humans.

Tokyo catteries, Japan, shared singing

Two cats in a corner of Cats Livin's kitchen

Cats Café: One of Tokyo's Countless Creative Businesses

On any weekend or holiday, Nekobukuro and the like are on the skids. Visitors vying for them are at the dozens per hour. All too often, they reek of trendy perfumes that keep cats from using their sense of smell.

Even so, customers take from contact with animals what they can and suck (Japanese cool) is the watchword, repeated over and over again by fascinated teenagers and mothers moved by the joy of their offspring.

Visitors pay around 600 yen (+ or – 4.40 euros) to pet the pets they would like to own for hours on end. This is not always the case.

Some of the visitors have their own cats but commit the “misfortune” of becoming fond of others in order to satisfy all their passion. They also take the opportunity to discover new solutions for comfort, hygiene and treatment for the betrayed animals they leave at home.

This proved to be the second source of profit for Tokyo catteries. Once the games are over, it is common for owners to go through stores and shop for their pets. Many yen are then spent on food, sand for necessities and other essentials.

Tokyo catteries, Japan - recliners

Recliners at the Cats Livin Cattery Store

Nekobukuro and competitors also sell countless branded clothes. There are socks, vests, hats, sometimes Louis Vuitton and Dior, to match their exquisite bags and bags.

They also carry baby carriages and pillows, rattles, collars, photo frames.

And a myriad of other products that are difficult to describe and that, like the Japanese “catteries” themselves, only the fertile electron-Japanese imagination would remember to generate.


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