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As a dog person, I walked into my first cat café with a bit of trepidation.
It’s not like I hate cats – I’ve just never really been into them. When you’re away from home, however, you tend to do things that you don’t normally do. Like sleep in love hotels, buy used panties from a vending machine and willingly spend half an hour in a room full of cats.
I was spending the morning with Joey, a twenty-year-old Melburnian who I had never met until this trip. He is a cousin of a friend of mine so when she messaged me, asking me to contact him if I was ever bored, I decided take her up on the offer. We explored quite a few random places together and one of them happened to be Hapineko Cat Café in Shibuya.
When we arrived, we were given a long list of rules to read before going in; they included no picking up of cats, no feeding them with your hands and no touching collared cats. We also had to wash our hands with sanitiser, leave our shoes at the door and change into slippers. That was totally fine with us, although I wish the lady in charge smiled every once in a while – she was so grumpy, which was surprising given that this was Japan.
As for the no touching of collared cats thing, Joey said that it was because these cats scratched and bit humans when they get touched because they get distressed. This kind of begs the question: WHY THE HELL HAVE THEM IN THERE FOR?
For the most part, people were happy just to sit and chillax while taking photos and letting the cats come to them.
Sometimes the cats would wander off and climb up onto shelves, cubicles and scratching poles.
Included in our ¥1060 (AUD$11ish) fee was tea, chocolate and a mini donut biscuit, hardly the stuff that Michelin stars are made of but hey, it’s a ‘café’ after all. I think there was also the option to order extra stuff.
Being around humans can be exhausting, I know the feeling (no, I really do).
Okay, this dog person smiled when she saw this. Aw.
Hapineko was a fun place to kill half an hour and experience a quintessential Japanese tourist activity. While I’m glad I went, I don’t think I’ll go again – cats just ain’t my thing.