Friday, April 11, 2014

Spoiled Brat Cats


So yesterday I decided on an alternate career path, should too many years on the shelf past my expiration date finally drive me bat-shit crazy and make me no longer fit to teach because I'm too broke from buying cat food (instead of supplemental art supplies) and too busy taking care of kittes (instead of worrying over planning and whatnot):  I will move to Japan and open a cat cafe.

I told Blondie that I would like to go to one of the Japanese islands totally inhabited by feral cats, if I only had more time, and she told me I should go to a cat cafe instead.  I'd heard of them before - apparently because a lot of apartments don't allow pets, entrepreneurs have seen a way to fill this gap in people's lives - but I had no idea where I would find one.  Well, it just so happened that I was killing time waiting for the Robot Restaurant to open (OH JUST YOU WAIT FOR THAT ONE!) and lo and behold, I stumbled across one.  So I shrugged my shoulders, went, "What the hell?!?" and made my way up to the 6th floor of a building in Shinjuku, where Calico Cat Cafe was located.
Just in case you don't know, I love cats.  I routinely wind my ninth graders up with arguments about why cats are better than dogs.  I like the personality of cats, how they really seem not to give a fuck, and their attitude that of COURSE you are going to take care of them, and they might even let you pet them for it.  Well, this sort of attitude makes the idea of having a business where people come to play with your cats completely ridiculous.
Also - in case you annoy the Deity - look for
one smaller than you are.

I enjoy telling people the difference between a dog and a cat.  A dog thinks, "OH BOY THESE PEOPLE THEY TAKE CARE OF ME THEY LOVE ME AND FEED ME THEY MUST BE GODS!"

A cat thinks, "Hmm.  I have these people.  They love me.  They feed me.  They take care of me...  I must be a god."

These cafe cats have definitely been spoiled.  Normal cats are temperamental - these cats completely ignore you unless you have the chicken the cafe sells to feed them with.  If they're sleeping, they will let you pet them because they can't be bothered doing anything about it, but your main attraction to them is the chicken in your hand, and if you hold out your hand to let them inspect you before you try to pet them (as is polite with most animals, except dogs, who would rather sniff your butt or your crotch), and they find you've got no chicken for them, you are dead to them, Mortal.  DEAD.
Besides that, cats all have such varied purrsonalities (see what I did there?)  I found myself wondering if they'd had to find new homes for any cats because they couldn't get along.  I saw a little chasing, but other than this cat on this poster most of the cats seemed to live and let live.  This girl, on the other hand, I tried to pet when I first got to the cafe, and only narrowly avoided a bite for my troubles.  Later I saw the sign.  And it opened up my eyes...
In fact there was a whole book of cat profiles to let you know their names, breeds, and birthdays.  It was kind of fun flipping through and seeing how many breeds of cats I knew (that crazy cat lady career?  It's not totally out of the realm of possibility for me.  I really loved cats as a girl.  Possibly I thought it was my purpose in life to take care of them.  In fact, I may have once told my family I wanted to have a hundred cats when I grew up).
The cat cafe has rules.  Don't wake the cats up, but you can pet them while they sleep (which is good, considering how much of a day cats spend asleep).  Don't chase the cats.  In fact, their suggestion is to sit down, relax, and read a book, which is honestly a pretty good strategy, but ain't nobody got time for that.  It cost me about $10 for an hour at the Calico, and considering how many people bought food for the cats, I have a feeling that's pure profit for them.  Anyways, it was an interesting peek into a different angle of modern Japanese culture, as opposed to the more traditional parts of their culture I'd been experiencing.

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