The last time I'd been to a cat cafe was back in 2012 during my first trip to Tokyo. So when Tam (Tim's coworker's wife and my new friend) suggested that we pop into one I jumped at the chance.
The one that we chose was called Cat Cafe Calico, located right in the middle of Shinjuku's Kabukicho. We stopped in on a Thursday afternoon and were told to put our name on the waiting list and return in an hour. No problem! We took the opportunity to get a drink at a super cute Hawaiian bar just down the street, Alee Beach. The best part about it - a real sandy floor!
When we returned to the cafe this was the first sign we noticed (you may not enter if drunk). We were definitely in Shinjuku.
The rest of the rules weren't nearly as amusing but the one that caught us off guard was that we weren't allowed to pick up the kitties. Still, we were starved for any cat interaction so just petting them was enough for us. We placed our shoes in a locker, donned some indoor slippers, and stepped into kitty land.
This cafe was rather large, with two connected floors and walls lined with comfy benches for the humans. While there were some other foreigners there, most were Japanese people who were happy to sit with their tea and simply watch the cats jump, lounge, and play.
The most popular humans were those who'd purchased some kitty treats. But we found that if you just wait for feeding time you get the whole cat hoard at once, and you can steal some kibble to feed them for free!
Rails on the walls gave the cats a little more roaming space and provided guests with a unique view.
We were impressed to see that this cafe housed a large number of cats and a variety of breeds. Most of them enjoyed cruising around and didn't care much if we pet them or not (I assume they get so much attention that by 4pm they're pretty much over it).
This little guy was a true Munchkin Cat. With his super stubby legs he looked just like a feline version of a dachshund!
And she was making so much noise that I had to go over and investigate.
Overall, Cat Cafe Calico is a convenient place to stop if you're in Shinjuku and looking for a cat fix. The biggest downside is that you can't hold them. Upsides: it's a calm, clean environment, with a large variety and number of cats to admire. At 1000yen ($10) per hour, it's pretty standard price-wise.
I must confess that as the mommy of the cutest and most affectionate cat on earth (LOVE YOU, FIGS!), it's going to be pretty hard for any cat cafe to truly impress me, but this was definitely a fun way to spend a Thursday afternoon.
Check out their site: http://catcafe.jp/