The initiative aims to increase awareness and reduce prejudice against cats infected with the virus.
A Japanese cat cafe chain is gaining increasing support from kitty lovers around the world for housing hogo neko, or rescue cats, in the hope that they will find their forever homes after spending time with customers. Called Neco Republic, the company is growing steadily, with branches in Gifu, Osaka, Aichi, and Ochanomizu in Tokyo, and now they have another cafe opening in the nation’s capital, this time dedicated solely to animals with feline AIDS.
While it remains difficult to find homes for shelter cats, for carriers of FIV, the task is almost impossible. Neco Republic aims to increase awareness about the disease to help reduce discrimination against these cats, which they lovingly call “Apple Cats”.
Despite carrying the the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), these “apple cats” may not show any signs of symptoms for many years and it’s not uncommon for them to have the same lifespan as a normal cat. The virus cannot be transmitted from cat to human, and is not easily caught by cats immune to the virus in normal situations. Sharing food and litter boxes, social grooming, sneezing and other everyday modes of contact are considered safe activities, as the virus is mainly transferred through deep bite wounds that usually occur during aggressive fights and territorial disputes outdoors and, less commonly, to kittens from FIV-infected mothers.
To help destigmatize the virus and support cats with FIV, Neco Republic has produced a range of products featuring cute apple cat characters for customers to purchase at the cat cafe and via their international store online.
Customers who really want to show their support for kitties with FIV will be able to visit the new Neco Republic cat cafe, due to open in Tokyo’s Nakano ward on July 1. There will be eight felines waiting to receive cuddles and affection, and like all their branches, the shelter cats here are looking for permanent homes and can be adopted by visitors. To find out more about the new cafe, and to help the company achieve their goal of reducing the euthanization of cats to zero by February 22, 2022, be sure to visit their website or spread the word by following the new Tokyo branch on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
Neco Republic Tokyo – Nakano Branch/保護猫カフェ ネコリパブリック東京 中野店
Address: Tokyo-to, Nakano-ku, Nakano 5-68-9 AK building 3F
Hours: 2:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. (weekdays); 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. (Sat); 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. (Sun and public holidays); closed Wed and Thurs