In a country where many citizens do not have the time or space to care for creatures, “cat cafés” provide the experience of having a pet without the responsibility or hassle of ownership (not to mention the logistics of getting a cat into a carry-on).
Though the first cat café, named Cat Flower Garden, opened in Taipei, Taiwan in 1998, the concept blossomed in Japan, where nearly 150 such spots have opened in the past decade, mostly in the country’s capital of Tokyo. Visiting with kitties does not come cheap, however. At Calico, one of Tokyo’s most popular cat cafes, one hour of cuddling costs 900 yen [$10.90/hr], with 200 yen [$2.42] for each additional 15 minutes. Drinks cost an extra 200 yen each, but are slightly cheaper than the 400 yen grande lattes available at the feline-free Starbucks.
If cafes replaced cats with guns and coffee with vodka Red Bulls, this concept could really take off in the US.