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Clever as ever, the Japanese have combined an animal shelter with a teahouse to create the Tokyo phenomenon known as “cat cafes.” To understand why the Japanese would pay ($8-$12 an hour) to play with someone else’s cats, you have to consider their culture.

Tokyo is one of the most overworked cities in the world, with its denizens facing long commutes and hours of unpaid overtime. Residents lack the time and space to devote to pets of their own, but need the stress-relieving benefits of a feline companion.

Successful cafes like Neko no Mise have a dozen cats on staff, play relaxing music and provide comics for their patrons.

[via Josh Spear]

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