Calico Cat Café Offers Companionship with Big City Kitties

Many of Tokyo's apartment buildings don't allow pets and it's a trend that - unfortunately for pet owners - is on the rise. Even pet-friendly buildings can be tough on both pets and their owners due to the small (by western standards) size of the apartments.

In response to the situation, a number of  cat cafés have sprung up in and around japan's major metropolitan areas such as Osaka and Tokyo. Take of Calico Café, for example. For the low, low price of 800 yen an hour (around $10), clients can enjoy quality time spent with any one of the 19 "staff" cats.

Calico Café is located in western Tokyo's Kichijoji ward and is convenient for cat-lovers who arrive by car, train and foot. The success of the operation has forced the owners to recommend reservations be made in advance before weekends and holidays.

Calico Café offers customers custom fruity drinks, hot and cold tea, and a comfortable setting furnished with cozy chairs and fluffy cushions pleasingly embroidered with images of cute cats and kittens. Like your pillow? cool, Calico Café offers copies for sale so café clients can bring the "rent-a-cat" experience home with them. Calico Café is a business above all and they seem to do a respectable turnover in cat-themed sweets, stickers and costume jewelry.

According to Calico Café's owner, Takafumi Fukui, "In Tokyo, many people are not allowed to have cats [at home] even if they want to do so,"  thus the presence of Calico Café gives pet-lovers a place to unwind and enjoy the special sort of companionship only cats can provide.

It would seem Calico Café's customers agree with these sentiments. "This is just like having my own cat as a pet at home," enthused a 22-year-old female college student enjoying her first visit to Calico Café. "They (the cats) have a soothing effect on me."  (via Daily Yomiuri Online, images c/o Kichimani)

Steve Levenstein
Creature Features - Animal News and Cool Pet Products

Mar 25, 2008
by Anonymous

Funny, this sounds familiar...

Quite fascinating. I definitely believe that there's a niche market out there for people craving more pet-interaction in their busy on-the-go lives. I floated the idea of a pet-focused hotel chain a while back on my idea-blog, if anyone is interested in an exploration of a similar concept.

-- Ideambulate

Mar 25, 2008
by Lady Bee
Lady Bee's picture


Flexpetz has started a rent-a-dog membership, but you get to take the dog home for a day or week or as long as you are willing to pay.


Lady Bee
Pet Blogger

Mar 25, 2008
by Anonymous

Too Dangerous For The Cats?

I'd be afraid that the cats would be endangered by the psychos out there. They'd be willing to spend the $8 for their idea of "fun on a cat". If the cats' safety can be assured, there's nothing wrong with it.

Mar 25, 2008
by Steve Levenstein (not verified)

Dangerous? Nahh...

Don't forget, this is Japan - and while they have their share of anti-social and criminal behaviors, in general their society is well-ordered and functional. I'm sure the cats and customers are fully supervised - and the cats are likely not de-clawed!

Mar 25, 2008
by Anonymous

How sad

How sad that our separation from the animals has come to this.

Mar 26, 2008
by Anonymous

not sad at all

i love cats and would certainly have one as a pet in my family members werent so opposed or not allergic to them. so this would be great to go to if i want a quiet soothing afternoon.

Mar 26, 2008
by Anonymous


i can haz owner?!

Apr 6, 2008
by Anonymous

de clawing

the cats nails are trimmed, to stop scratches :)

Aug 5, 2008
by Anonymous


I love this!
Is a great idea. Cats get attention (whoever have own cats know that cats love their space, but they also adore to be the center of attention!). I will understand that cats are safe since the "clients" aren't taking any of the cats with them (like in FlexPetz), but playing with them in the Cafe. I hope this business blooms and that the lovely cats be happy all their lives.

So sad that Japan lifestyle has come to this - no cats in your life ;_; But then again, I really felt claustrophobic when I saw the size of the apartments! I wouldn't put any of my cats in that kind of torture.

Sep 15, 2008
by Anonymous


What do these cats do and where do they go when this cafe is closed? do they just sit in the backroom? Are they taken to the employees' homes?