Have you heard about the Cat Cafe concept? It was invented in Taiwan, but became world famous through it's popularity in Japan. Its a way for people who are unable to own their own pet in their apartment to have a place where they can go and interact with some furry friends. You pay a fee (around $10) to enter the 'cafe' for an hour, where you can pet the cats, play with them and just chill out. It's not really a cafe, although you can order a drink or food if you'd like to.
There are also bunny cafes, dog cafes and even owl cafes. The concept is quite popular around Europe now, and also in Korea. I'm pretty sure that an owl cafe, while adorable on the surface, is probably not in the best interest of the owls.
The cat cafe we visited was in Shinjuku, and the cats were all very relaxed, well cared for and generally in a good mood. I imagine that they probably get tired of attention sometimes, but when we visited, there were only around 6 people inside, and the cats have 2 floors of very spacious accommodation so they could withdraw if they wanted some peace and quiet. There were some strict rules too, don't chase the cats, no picking up the cats, no rubbing their bellies, and no interacting with a sleepy cat (amongst many others).
We met so many beautiful kitties during our visit. I was shocked to find 2 cats that were as big as our dear Hobbes (damn I miss that guy), I've never seen a cat as large as he was before. (they were brothers, of the Maine Coon variety - one is in the top pic of this post).
C purchased some kitty treats so that I could feed them. I held no illusions that they were actually in love with me and wanted to be my best friend (cats are so fickle), but it felt pretty good to have the cats gather around me like a loyal army of darkness. (that's what we called our brood) Also, erm... is that Nico's Japanese cousin sitting on my lap? So funny!!
All in all, the cat cafe was really fun. I met my first Persian cat - I'm amazed they survive at all with their smooshed faces, how do they eat and drink?! The one we went to had very sweet staff who obviously loved the cats and took great care of them. The kitties seemed comfortable and happy, too. Have you ever visited a cat cafe? How about a bunny cafe? Man, I would die of cute overload I think! I had to explain to Nico and Maggie when we arrived home that I wasn't cheating on them, just visiting the other cats. I'm not sure if they were convinced or not...