Thursday, December 16, 2010

niaow niaow

Here's another offering over at CNNGo - this time about cat cafés, which I wrote about here. Thank to Jen and Beth and N for going with me for "research"!
And my flickr friend Takashi, a sometimes cat café-goer and cat photographer, gave me a quote but it came too late for me to be able to include it. He says about cat cafés:
"Why do I go to the nekocafe is...
Everycat has his own interests and personality.
I look forward to seeing them grow.Sometimes take a shot of them.
The place that is easy to make a chat with other customers and clerk.
They have in common-cat lovers.
I do not drink and smoking but I think they(cats) are attractive hostess."


  1. Awesome story and awesome quote! I still have yet to visit one of these places, and sometimes my house looks like a cat cafe...
    Did you find someone to cat-sit for you?

  2. It's a shame neither you nor CNN bothered to write about the darker side of these cat cafes; that is, the cat cafes that are quickly put together by people not interested in cats or their welfare - only money.

    Furthermore, why only ever focus on the "cute" and quirky side of Japan? Why not the reality that is everywhere here.

    Foreigners like you talk about our country as it is like your playground. But it's not.

  3. ohhh, just too cute. Anonymous, go fuck yourself.

  4. Hi Anonymous.
    It's easy to write shitty things when you're anonymous!
    At the cat cafés that I visited, the customers and staff were very into the cats and treated them very well. The cats that I saw were healthy and well cared for. It may be true that some cafés do not care well for their animals, and if that's so, it's a shame. But it seems to me that because so many of these cat cafés have such loyal patrons that come regularly to watch their favorite cats grow, they would not easily stand for mistreatment of these animals.

    I know that the pet shop industry in Japan, especially the tiny plastic alleyway pet-in-a-box places, are horrible to animals and in general animal welfare is not highly regarded in Japan. I know that those pet shops often kill unwanted animals or put them in the dumpster, don't take care of them well, and breed the hell out of them so that they can get a lot of money from these animals.
    I have never supported a pet shop. All the animals I have ever had as companions have been rescued from shelters or found on the street.

    I am very interested in animal welfare and have volunteered with Japan Cat Net and have also contacted ArkBark in order to volunteer my services. I have a cat myself. I am also a vegetarian. I care deeply about animals.

    If you have sources to back up your allegations, I would be happy to look at them.

    It's true that there are a lot of "quirky" and "offbeat" stories on the website - it's not a hard news website, it's a culture website. Fun and quirky stories drive traffic. If you look a bit, though, you'll also find articles about being gay in Japan, and the treatment of the recent Burmese refugees, and the record high unemployment and government assistance rate, and manga artists doing socially aware comics.

    Finally, your calling me "foreigners like you" is ignorant and racist. I am Japanese as well as American, but it's clear that you didn't bother to dig very deep before lashing out.

  5. Thanks WH! You are teh awesome.

  6. Hey Julie Ann! My brother's staying with the meowskers. I will be shooting some questions up your way momentarily for Abe's int. - just have to get my plate cleared a bit first.

  7. Anon: I doubt that foreigners make up the majority of cat cafe clientele.
    There could well be a dark side, as in, what happens to the cats when they get too old, sick, etc. I know that some cafes have stray "hosts" and raise money for shelters (there's one in Kobe I believe).

    It would have been so much better if you could have linked us to your blog so that we can read all this information that you have. You obviously care, so share it. I would have thought your priority would be to win people over, no? It would certainly do a lot more to help the cats, and in the long run, that is so much more important.

    The "foreigners like you" was really unnecessary; I'm sure you don't like it when people generalize about the Japanese (the "everything Japanese is so cute!" for example), so why oh why would you do it too?

    If you're not interested in "educating idiots" then at least try not insult people by "shouting" at them, again, it would do so much more to further animal welfare which should be the priority here. I've found most Japanese-run animal welfare organisations I've been in contact with to be extremely welcoming to "blogs about fluffy shit in Shibuya from time to time and also does TNR" bloggers, sorry "foreigners like me".

  8. Ah... well... everyone is entitled to their opinion. But really, sometimes you need to realise that when you visit a blog, it's sort of like visiting someone's house (their digital home). Even if you have strong opinions about something Anon, you should express them with respect.

    And if a blog author wants to write about certain topics, that's ok. It's up to readers to decide whether they want to read (and enjoy) people's blogs.

  9. And one last thing... have a Merry Christmas, and a safe and enjoyable break!

  10. Thanks Ben! Happy holidays to you - and 良いお年を!

  11. Shouldn't that be 'Shimo-Kitty-zawa'? there's at least two more in the area and I've been meaning to go ages. Maybe next year!

    don't worry about annonymous commenters, ( or disallow it for your blog if you start getting too many ) you defended yourself well.

    Have a good New Year everyone,

  12. Jen - we already talked about it in person, but thanks for your thoughtful comment.

    JBL - Ha! I try to limit myself to one bad pun per story, and I had already put one in there. Good one! :)

    Thanks for your encouragement. Anon seems like a coward as well as rude. I don't want to start screening comments unless they get unmanageable. We'll see how it goes.

  13. Oooh, love the cat in the basket and your friend's comment. Pretty sure Anon got out of bed on the wrong side. If we had to write the pros and cons about everything we wrote on posts we'd never get anything bloody done. Happy New Year Selena. Hope you had a good one. Best wishes for a fabulous 2011.

  14. Hey GW! Thanks. Not only the pros and cons but the potential-might-not-even-be-real-pros-and-cons and you have crazy making. Glad you had a good trip home and best of luck and love (and strength) for this coming year.