TOKYO– Cats currently “employed” by Japan’s popular “cat cafes” are now allowed to stay up until 10 p.m. to interact with customers.
The Environment Ministry’s animal rights panel stated on Wednesday that it’s OK for the cats will be allowed to hang out two hours later than the old guidelines allowed.
Under the old 2012 guidelines, cats and other animals at pet shops could not be out for display after 8 p.m.
Cat cafes were allowed to have their cats out until 10 p.m. only for the study of nightlife on the cats’ health. During the trial period, only cats age 1 or older that were free to take a break were allowed to be out at cafes for up to a total of 12 hours.
Experts concluded the later hours made no major notable differences on cats’ stress levels.
Cafe owners say that their kitties are not under stress being out until late because they are nocturnal anyway and have become used to a cafe environment while growing up.
Japan has literally hundreds of cat cafes – establishments where customers can see and play with the cats. Tokyo alone has more than 50 of them that are frequented by foreign tourists and also students during the day, while others visit at the end of their workday.