I had read about cat cafes in Japan on the internet before arriving here and thought it was an odd sort of novelty perhaps catering to cat fanatics and people who couldn't own pets of their own. Thoughts of these cafes went right out of my head until I visited Okayama and was perusing the internet for interesting things to do and came across Pfft's website. Having left a cat at home in Ireland I thought it might be nice to come here and get my feline fix, a cold drink and some shade on a hot day. Located just off the main street heading toward Okayama Castle and a ten minute walk from the Symphony Hall in the Ometecho shopping street and a convenient stop on my sight seeing route.
Upon entering the reception/shop area I was greeted by a lovely member of staff with a few words of English who asked that I wash my hands in a sink nearby and read an English translation of the rules of the cafe. I chose to enter for an hour and get one drink which cost ¥1,200 in total. I was then shown around the cafe and introduced to some "members of staff" (which is what the cats are called on the website, very cute). The parlor area is immaculately clean for a room that's a permanent home to eight cats and doesn't smell as you'd expect a cat filled room would. It is pretty, bright, airy and has many comfortable couches and chairs, cat-themed books to read, a big cat climbing area and a box of toys with which to entertain/lure the cats.
Separate to the main room is the cafe room with a table and chairs, and seats and a counter. It is decorated in the same cutesy, feminine style as the main room and the walls are windowed all around so that you can watch the cats while you enjoy your drink and snacks. I opted for a big glass of cranberry juice and was given two small cookies to go with it. There are scrap books in here filled with pictures of the "staff" in various adorable poses including stickers and captions in Japanese.
All the cats are pure breed and some are absolutely gorgeous to look at. However, maybe it's because they are tired of being petted and stroked all day everyday, but I found that some would slip out from under my hands if I went too close, although one or two played with the toys I dangled under their noses. Many of them also hid on top of or under furniture or were cat napping the entire time I was there. I persevered, however, and was rewarded with a contented purr and miaow from a tubby, marmalade colored cat named Charles who instantly became my favorite.
This cafe is a must for cat lovers and as an activity is a little different from the usual site seeing. I found an hour to be more than enough time, especially since I am actually allergic to cats, but cat fans may like to stay longer. If you want to take a break from cat petting you can order more food and drinks and indulge in some cat watching. There are many cat themed books on the shelves which are in English if you fancy a simply snuggle on the sofa. This was an interesting and different Japanese experience for sure.
(Note: photographs of cats and the cafe are allowed so long as you don't use a flash)