The cafes are usually designed to be comfortable settings, such as a living room. The cats are then allowed to run free and patrons allowed to pet or play with them. Usually, rules apply, such as customers not able to disturb cats when they are sleeping and not allowed to play with a cat if it expresses its discontent. But other than a few basic guidelines to make sure the animals are treated properly, customers are free to enjoy the company of these furry felines.
Outside of Japan, people may not understand why this trend has reached the point where there are more than 150 cat cafes operating in Japan. The main clientele for such businesses tends to be younger professionals, who often live in apartments that are either too small to own a pet or where landlords don’t allow pets. Many also work long hours, which means leaving a cat alone for most of the day. Cat cafes allow proxy pets for these types of people, where they can get the visiting time they want without the added responsibility. Cats were just the beginning of the trend, and now there are cafes which provide customers with access to dogs, rabbits and even reptiles.
In a world where people often buy pets and then decide they don’t want them later, an animal cafe is a great alternative. The pets are guaranteed a place to live for as long as the cafe stays in business, and they are always treated well. Some places even put forth an effort to educate their customers about the animals, in case they should want one of their own in the future. Instead of putting animals in shelters and then euthanizing them when they don’t get adopted, we should open up these cafes worldwide and help to save a few lives while providing a stress-reducing environment for those who need it.