HIROSHIMA -- Visit the "Neco Republic Hiroshima" cafe here, and you may be confronted with the "Carp Cats" -- kitties dressed in the uniforms of the Central League pennant-winning Hiroshima Carp baseball team.
This cat adoption cafe in the city's Naka Ward offers customers a chance to interact with cats who have been abandoned by their owners or otherwise left in the care of shelters, and the furry staff members are available for takeout. The human employees are all reportedly Hiroshima Carp fans, and are cheering for the team to win the Japan Series for the first time in 33 years... along with their four-legged coworkers.
Out of the 14 feline employees, there are two "Carp Cats," who happened to fit in the miniature Carp uniforms. When cats wear clothes, they often have trouble keeping their balance and walking, but one approximately 11-month-old male Carp Cat runs around with even more energy when he wears the jersey.
The cats that can't wear the jerseys cheer for their team by donning handmade bandanas around their necks bearing the numbers of Carp players Yoshihiro Maru (9), Takahiro Arai (25) and Ryosuke Kikuchi (33).
"I hope this leads to people learning more and become familiar with (cat) adoption," says 48-year-old cafe owner Ayako Inaba.
Visitors can come meet the Carp Cats until the end of the baseball season. Cafe hours are from 1 to 8 p.m. on weekdays and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends and holidays, with Thursdays off. Inquiries can be made at 090-7540-2202 (in Japanese).