A cat café is a theme café whose attraction is cats that can be watched and played with. Patrons pay a cover fee, generally hourly, and thus cat cafés can be seen as a form of supervised indoor pet rental. THE HISTORY The world’s first cat café, “Cat Flower Garden” (貓花園), opened its doors in Taipei, Taiwan, in 1998. The Taiwanese cat café eventually became a tourist destination, attracting tourists from Japan as well as all over the globe. Although the origin of cat café is in Taiwan, the concept blossomed in Japan, where the first one named “Neko no Jikan” (lit. “Cat’s Time”) was opened in Osaka in 2004.

Due to Japan’s land size and population, many residents live in small apartments or condominiums which do not allow pets, making a cat café a very popular destination for young workers looking for the companionship and comfort offered.

Tokyo’s first cat café, named “Neko no mise” (Shop of Cats), opened in 2005. After this, the popularity of cat cafés boomed in Japan. From 2005 to 2010, seventy-nine cat cafés opened across the country.