Tuesday, December 3, 2013

I had a picture in my head of what was going to happen when I visited the Nekobukuro Cat Café at the Tokyu Hands department store. I'd hold a friendly tabby in my lap, stroke him gently, and tell him about my Burmese longhair, Pickles Marie. As I approached the ticket booth with my 600 yen ($6) in hand, these simple dreams shot into the stratosphere. Listen for yourself and see if you don't picture the Manx Minstrels practicing Pachelbel's Calico:

Imagine that: a cat chorus! I was literally quivering with delight when I entered. What were these little imps capable of? Maybe I'd get the chance to teach them Pickles' favorite song, Ave Meowria.

Like most dreams, though, this one was destined to be dashed. I wasn't flattened by fluffy felines. I wasn't crushed by a carload of kitties. I wasn't pestered by a passel of pussies. If I was in danger of anything, it was ODing on linoleum fumes.

The first cat I spotted was this one, scratching at the door to get out. Why? I wondered. This had to be Himalayan Heaven! There were comfy pillows, toys, and scratching posts. I'll bet there were a dozen cat fanciers for every cat!

Eventually I found a few more cats, but they didn't look happy to be there either. A skinny Sphynx paced incessantly in the locomotive of a pretend train.

This cutie was hiding out behind the trash can.

As I wandered around, I noticed that a wide variety of breeds was represented, but they all had something elusive in common. Maybe it was the look in their eyes?

Or maybe it was their body language.

For once it helped to be ridiculously tall. To the envy of all the other visitors, I could get close to the cats who hung like vultures from the tops of scratching post trees, staring in fear at all the kids waiting for them to come down.

Still, something told me to stay back. Though I'm pretty sure this one's ears are turned down even when he's not freaked out that somebody's going to touch him.

With no cats to pet, there wasn't much to do. I ran the lint roller over my pants a few times and sanitized all of my exposed flesh.

At the exit, the cat who'd been pawing at the door had seriously ramped up his efforts. A man had squatted down to pet him, and he leapt onto the guy's back to try to reach the doorknob. Even if he didn't have a chance of escaping, you had to admire his spunk.

Maybe a little disappointment set in. I mean, when I pictured bonding with the cats, I didn't think it'd be over escape plans. I didn't think it'd be Stalag 17 with fur.

I nearly picked up some Christmas cards but I thought I could still detect that odd look on all the little cat faces. As the door slammed behind me I sent a silent wish to the heavens that these little guys would find something they really wanted under the tree, like opposable thumbs.

1 comment:

PK said...

Never visit a cat house without bringing lots of presents.