For the young women whiling away their evenings with a cappuccino in hand and a cat on their lap, Tokyo’s “neko cafes” are the ideal place to unwind and soothe their stresses.
“After a long day at work, I just want to stroke cats and relax,” said saleswoman Akiko Harada.
“I love cats, but I can’t have one at home because I live in a small apartment. I started coming here because I really missed having fun with cats and touching them.”
For Harada and others like her, the “neko cafes” of the Japanese capital are a harmless institution where customers pay a premium for their coffee in exchange for the chance to pet the cats that stroll among them.
But for animal rights activists, these cafes are exploitative places where animals are subjected to unnatural stress.
Read the rest of the story: AFP: Uncertain future for Japan’s cat cafes.