Cat cafes are a fun and generally harmless way for people to play with cats without the responsibility of owning one, but this week the Tokyo government permanently shut down its first cat cafe over animal welfare violations.
According to Rocket News 24, the Neko no Te, or cat’s paw, cat cafe in Tokyo had previously been temporarily closed after inspectors found the place was not appropriately clean. Customers had complained of the cats’ living conditions, and about the cafe’s smell. Investigators found 62 cats living in the small cafe. The cafe had reportedly registered itself as having 10 cats, but the owners did not spay and neuter all the cats, and stuff happens. Within six months, the 10 cats had had a bunch of babies and now there were more than 60 running around.
On top of all that, 44 of the cats reportedly had colds, and the cafe was suspected of not providing proper veterinary care for its cats.
The cafe was given 30 days to clean up, but when investigators went to look at the cafe a second time, not much had changed. The owners were reportedly trying to hide many of the cats by leasing an apartment nearby for them, so investigators would only see a normal number of cats for a cat cafe. Investigators were not fooled, and the cafe lost its license.