The discovery of more than 60 cats in a cafe space of 30 square metres (323 square feet) has prompted the first shut-down of its kind in the country.

The “Neko no Te” (“Cat Paw”) cat cafe in Tokyo’s Sumida ward was ordered to permanently shut down on 16 June, after it was found that the owners had failed to improve conditions on the premises following a temporary 30-day closure in April due to customer complaints about conditions at the cafe, including reports of a foul smell.

▼ Some of the cats of Neko no Te, as they appear on the cafe’s website.

Neko no Te 2

According to the metropolitan government, the temporary closure was ordered after it was found that 62 cats had been kept on the premises, in a small 30-square-metre space in unsatisfactory conditions, with 44 of the animals displaying cold-like symptoms. Despite being ordered to reduce the number of cats on the premises, the government said the cafe had failed to improve conditions on a follow-up visit, with 23 cats found hidden in a nearby apartment leased by the company in an apparent attempt to conceal the scale of the problem. The owners had also failed to provide proper veterinary check-ups for the animals.

▼ Despite the shut-down order, the cafe’s website remains accessible.

Neko No Te

While the owners had applied to keep a total of ten cats in the cafe last June, it was found that the cats were allowed to roam freely on the premises, resulting in a bout of excessive breeding which resulted in animal numbers increasing six-fold within half a year, with more than 60 cats found on the premises in December during the initial inspection by the Tokyo Metropolitan Health and Welfare Bureau.

The revocation of the cafe’s license by the metropolitan government as a result of violating animal protection laws is the first of its kind for a cat cafe in Japan.

Source: ITMedia
Top Image: Pixabay
Insert Images: Neko no Te