After three years of negotiations with city officials over hygiene issues, Austria opened its first cat cafe last Friday.
'Cafe Neko', “Neko” meaning cat in Japanese, was opened by Vienna resident Takako Ishimitsu, 47, from Japan.
Customers can stroke and interact with their five feline hosts, named Sonja, Thomas, Moritz, Luca and Momo, who all came from an animal shelter and now freely roam about the cafe and take naps. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger
A revision to Japan’s Animal Protection Law, due to come into force on June 1, will slap a curfew on the public display of cats and dogs, forcing cat cafes to shut up shop at 8 p.m.
"Everybody knows cats are really happy in the evening, with their big, cute eyes. So I just can’t understand why the people at the top are ignoring this. It’s really strange."
Cat cafes have long been popular, catering to the many cat lovers who can’t keep the animals at home because of strict housing regulations that forbid pets in many apartments.
Visitors to Kawase’s cafe pay about 1,000 yen ($12) an hour to play with any of her 24 cats, who dart around the room chasing toys or sleep in baskets set on tables. Drinks are priced from around 300 yen each.
Read more: Japanese cat lovers snarl at new law