Pet rabbit owners know their stuff when it comes bunny 'stuff'. You all know too that bunnies sure do need a lot of 'stuff' to keep them engaged, entertained and happy.
Savvy rabbit raisers sure are on the ball when it comes to choosing the latest products for their spoily buns and they know exactly what makes their bunnies binky for joy too.
Whether it be a tasty healthy treat, a snazzy new home or the latest activity toy, rabbit owners will 'spoil' their little treasures to make sure their bunnies are the happiest they can be.
The whole 'cuddle' concept blossomed in Japan, and it was only a matter of time before the first cat café opened in Osaka, Japan, in 2004.
So What's With All the Cats???
The popularity of this kind of cafe could be down to the many apartments that people live in complete forbid pets, and cats provide a level of relaxing companionship, in what may otherwise be, a stressful and lonesome urban life.
Japanese cat cafés feature strict rules to ensure cleanliness and animal welfare, in particular they ensure that the animals are not disturbed by excessive and unwanted attention, such as young children playing with them excessively or people disturbing them when they are sleeping. (I just hope the same rules apply to the rabbits.)
Many of these cafés do lots of things to benefit not only their paying customers, but also the animals themselves:
Even in a country where quirky weirdness is the 'norm', this new-found craze in Japan, is one that I can completely understand.
And so did the business savvy minded entrepreneurs of Japan. They saw a gap in the market for 'stressed out', hard-working Japanese people to indulge in the things they were missing out on, relaxation and animal companionship and they filled it - very quickly it seems!
Cuddle cafes are big business, not only in Japan but they are making a big impression around the world!
And what is better to cuddle, than a cat?
A fluffy bunny of course!
One of the latest cafes to open is the Ra.a.g.f ('RAbbit And Get Fat', or another way of saying it would be, "Gossip and Eat Cake"), and is in the fashionable Jiyugaoka area of Tokyo's Meguro Ward.
It's mainly full of women and young girls but occasionally the odd expat or tourist can be found in there enjoying a sneaky cuddle.
The Rabbit and Get Fat cuddle bunny cafe is attracting animal-lovers in their droves and is full to the rafters with bunny enthusiasts most weekends.
But it's not just the general public that get to relieve their stress and sip on coffee, big stars are quite partial to a bunny cuddle or two, too!
Actress Ayame Goriki is a fan of Ra.a.g.f. Cafe and goes there in her spare time. The rabbit she is cuddling in the inset picture is 'Ushi', the star of the popular Japanese bunny cafe.
'Ushi' is a Netherlands lop rabbit with black and white markings very similar to a diary cow, which is where the name comes from - Ushi, meaning cow. According to the cafe manager, Ushi is the star of the cafe and is special to everyone, not just famous celebrities, because of his cute looks and easy-going personality.
I'm not sure of the rate at other cuddle bunny cafes or other pet related cafes, but at the Ra.a.g.f cuddle cafe you can expect to pay around 600 yen (£3.45 or $5.80) for half an hour, per person, and you can play with a couple of rabbits (chosen by a trained, dedicated member of staff) within the 'cafe area', (as apposed to the rabbit's home space) or you can sit on a special bench with a rabbit of your choice.
There is also the cost of rabbit food and your coffee & cake too of course, but well worth it in my opinion!
There are a couple of dozen rabbits in cages within the shop that are for sale but where they have come from, I'm not sure, although it's been suggested that the cafe has it's own rabbit breeding centre at the back of the shop.
Cafe manager Maria Fuwa, assures anyone concerned, that customers wishing to purchase a rabbit has to to provide suitable accommodations and promise never to abandon them. However, as far as I know, nothing is checked or recorded.
I find this a little surprising as the main reasons for these animal cafes in the first place, are to raise awareness for rabbits in need of a home, provide one for them temporarily at the cafe, and also offer them the opportunity of a new permanent home with an interested patron.
Most Japanese homes are rented and landlords do not allow pets of any kind, hence the need for 'companion cuddles', so to breed more to add to the problem seems a little odd to me.
If anyone has actually been to one of these cafes
and can confirm either way - that would be great!
However, what is certain is, the regular rabbit 'staff', the ones that are chosen to cuddle with patrons are not for sale. They are just too well known I suppose.
I think the general census of opinion is good. The rabbits look very happy and so do the food-giving customers. The fact that you have to buy food to give the bunnies is a great idea too, as long as the staff know which bunny has had what, or the name Ra.a.g.f. - Rabbit and Get Fat, will have to change to Ra.g.f. - Rabbit Got Fat!
For relaxing, catching up with gossip and lowering blood
pressure, animal cafes are just the ticket. Especially bunny ones!
So where's your local cuddle cafe?
Can you see a sign like this on your high street?
If you can't now, Watch out... the bunnies are coming, and they're hungry... hungry for cuddles!
Have you seen any amazing cuddle bunny cafes about on your travels?
They are quite a new, and trendy concept - Do you think the UK is ready for a cuddle bunny cafe?
What do you think about them?
Do you think it's safe for the bunnies?
Do you think it's cruel and should be stopped?
Share your discoveries with us and join in the discussion!
Share your views, points, tit-bits and tales! (Remember, you don't have to have a Facebook account to make a comment.)
All input is good, no matter how small ;-) Thank-you.