Kayuno Nomura, owner of Keurig, was always fond of cats and often fed strays near her home. One day she noticed five cats that she fed regularly had disappeared. She’s never found out what happened to them, but those concerns sparked her life’s mission to protect and find good homes for strays. Inspired by a visit to a “neko cafe” in Tokyo she opened the Keurig in the trendy Daimyo district in March of 2008. The location is very convenient for the young ladies and couples that make up the majority of her clientele. Then in September 2009 a second and even larger cafe was opened in Imaizumi just south of Tenjin.
The first thing you notice as you enter the cafe is the double set of doors. These are designed to reduce the risk of escape. But it’s very unlikely that any of the cats would be interested in escaping as it is quite literally a pussycat paradise – there are comfy seats and fun toys galore for both man and feline!
After checking in and getting your hands sprayed with a disinfectant you’re free to sit anywhere and play with any of the 22 cats. Each cat has a name and you can read about their profiles in the menu. Be sure to follow the cafe rules, such as no flash photography and don’t force a cat to play when it doesn’t want to. The interior has been designed with cats in mind – it is kitted out with features such as steps, beams, holes, poles, scratch pads and more to provide the cats plenty of places to wander and chase each other around.
All of the cats at Keurig are rescued strays which have undergone a full medical check-up and have received all necessary inoculations. They live in the cafe until they are are adopted by customers. On average five to six cats are adopted every month. Prospective “parents” are screened by Keurig staff prior to adoption. The next step is a one week “home stay” during which the cat and prospective owner get to try each other out. As most of the Keurig’s staff are graduates of pet-keeping schools they are well qualified and highly motivated. Rest assured, this is no gimmick. Nomura stresses that her ultimate goal is to help the strays and create awareness of the problem and to promote respect for animal life.
While the cats are the main draw, a lot of effort goes into the preparation of the food, desserts and beverages. The menu features a range of pastas, grilled meat/fish, stews, the pictured BLT, and more. With so many women patrons it’s no surprise that the dessert menu is substantial. The French Toast made with soy milk and Black Sesame Pudding are currently very popular with customers. That’s all for humans, but what about the kitties you ask? For just ¥100 you can treat them to a bowl of sliced boiled chicken strips and become their favorite person.
Keurig puts a unique twist on the traditional cafe concept whilst offering high-quality and delicious fare. Whether or not you’re intending to adopt, or even if you’re a “cat person”, drop by and check it out – a visit is an experience in itself!
Keurig Neko Cafe Daimyo
1F Watt Bld., 1-10-15 Daimyo, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka
Open: 11:00 ~ 22:00 L.O. 21:00
Prices: 30 min. visit ¥280 (10 min extensions/¥150), 60 min. + Drink Set ¥880, 60 min. + Food Set ¥880~¥1,380, 60 min. + Sweets Set ¥1,080, BLT Sandwich ¥780, French Toast ¥680, Flower Herb & Lemonade ¥580, Sapporo Black Label Beer ¥480