A night ban on Japanese cat cafes goes into effect today, shortening the business hours of 150 such establishments that depend heavily on after-work trade to stay in business. The ban was brought about by animal activists who claim late hours are a form of cruelty.
The first cat cafe opened in Tokyo eight years ago, and the trend has since spread across much of the country, providing tea and feline companionship to those who did not have time or space for pets. Patrons pay about $19 per hour for the privilege. Being restricted to daytime hours will hurt many of the cafes, which will see fewer visitors and may be forced to close. One proprietor said, “Late hours benefit everyone. I worry that this could really hurt business and then what would we do with the cats?”
It is unclear whether the ban on night hours will be permanent.