When you have a cat allergy the last place you’d want to go inside is a cat cafe. Or so you’d think….
I must get some sort of perverse pleasure from self-inflicted suffering.
Since I was born I’ve had allergies of all kinds, and seem to spend half of my life slathering myself in itch relief cream or popping antihistamines after eating something I shouldn’t.
It’s cruel enough that I often have to avoid certain foods (I constantly fail) but I’m also supposed to avoid contact with cats! For an animal lover this kind of abstinence is horrible. However, the blow is marginally softened because I’m much better with dogs and show virtually no reaction when around them!
Before going to Japan I dreamed about going to a cat cafe, it didn’t matter that I was allergic to the furry fellas, I’d swallow a packet of antihistamines if I needed to. And now that I was here, my thoughts had not changed. Going to Japan without entering a cat cafe is, in my books, on par with going to Japan without trying sushi, or going to Hawaii without wearing a coconut bra (that’s a stereotype worth maintaining, right?).
After visiting Fushimi Inari Taisha in Kyoto, I walked to Neko Cafe Time, a small cat cafe en route to Keihan railway station. It’s located up a narrow flight of stairs and thus easily missed by most people walking by.
Like any regular cafe or restaurant, I was given a menu to select a drink, however, the menu also had a list of minutes that matched to a price and I needed to select one before entering. Initially, I didn’t think this ‘counting-down-the-minutes’ procedure seemed necessary, but there are probably loads of people who could spend all day playing with the cats so it makes sense that the entrance fee goes up according to the length of stay inside.
It worked out well for me in the end because I knew I couldn’t stay long before being hit with a blocked nose and wheezy chest, so I paid upfront for 30-minutes.
As soon as I entered the cafe I noticed that instead of looking like a cafe in the traditional sense of the word, it resembled the waiting room of a doctor’s surgery. If I owned the place I’d replace the furniture with something more characterful. But anyway, the decor isn’t really what you guys want to hear about when I could be talking about the cats!
The first cat I clocked was a ginger Persian one and without holding anything back, it was love at first sight!
The only problem was….. another girl was ALL OVER him!
I tried to wait my turn, I really did, and I tried to avert my attention to the other felines who were perfectly cute but my eyes kept wandering over to the ginger one. I thought if I could manage to get eye contact with him he’d come to me, but he didn’t even look in my direction once.
I glanced at the time, 15-minutes had already passed and I was no closer to the end goal, I needed to do something for him to notice me….
Food was my only hope.
I jumped up to the counter and paid for a bag of treats, and as soon as I opened the packet the cats all came crawling towards me like a moth to a flame. Not the best for my allergies but I didn’t care. I had the ginger in the palm of my hand now.
After being in there for about 20-minutes, I was pleased my eyes had not quadrupled in size, but my skin was beginning to feel itchy. Whether this was partially psychosomatic I’m not entirely sure. But it was worth it to play with the grumpy ginger cat, even if he did only come purring over to me because I’d bought him some edible treats.
Isn’t that the way to anyone’s heart?