Japan's Obsession with Cats: through Products
By Elise Meng | July 19th 2018
We’re not complaining, but now you can see cat iconography on nearly everything in Japan– and why not? Cats are not only super-cute but also easy going, independent and playful… what’s not to love?
Since the now global reign of Cat cafés, Japan’s popularity of cats and cat-themed products have sky rocketed and transcended the café medium. So here are some of bizarre cat-themed products that we can’t help but want:
The Roomba Cat
We’re starting this list with the creepiest of all the cat-themed products with this terrifying Roomba Cat, aptly named, Baroom.
Not for sale (but we wish it were), this Cat cover of the Roomba was posted by Twitter user @sacocho over the last week, sending the internet world into a frenzy with how terrifying but realistic this Cat Roomba is.
The video shows Baroom slowly entering the room, while cleaning up the mess around it. Now you can enjoy having a cat without having to worry about all the cat hair!
You know those gachapon machines that Japan is known for? Well, for a while now, they’ve been selling cat hats. Honestly, from the videos we've watched where cats have been wearing these gachapon hats, they don't seem to like it very much. But... that aesthetic though.
Here are some of our favourite gachapon cat hats:
If you’ve ever played with eyeliner, you know that there is no such thing as the perfect cat eye. Take it from me– as someone whose eyeliner is always out of whack, sometimes you just need to cover your failed makeup job with some glasses… cat eye glasses.
Admittedly, that build up towards what would’ve been a great pun was a letdown but there’s definite truth behind it: I am terrible at winged eyeliner and I do hide behind glasses as a result.
Which is why Japan’s release of these ridiculously cute cat-themed glasses will be able to take the attention away from my eyes! Tokyo-based glasses company Underline heard your prayers and released the Cat Vision line– a feline-inspired eyewear range that comes in five patterns, each representing the different breeds and colours of cat fur.
The frames’ corners taper into the shape of cat ears, and the temples and nose pads of each pair of glasses have paw prints– supposedly to mimic the feel of a kitty’s squeezable paws. So, for a hefty 27,000 yen ($230 USD), you can always feel like you’re being hugged by your cat!
Cat Forehead Perfume
Some things have a very distinct smell–old socks sometimes smells like wet dog, newborn babies have that… well, newborn baby smell, but if you’ve ever wanted to smell like the top of a cat’s forehead, then now you can!
Don’t even try and front like you don’t want to smell like a cat’s forehead– apparently this product was developed using the information received from customer survey responses, as many respondents related the smell of a cat’s forehead to the smell of sunshine, or a futon that’s been dried under the sun, or even that of sweet bread.
From that, Yamamoto Perfumery took on the daunting task of satisfying its customers, by capturing that scent in a perfume bottle. Both sweet and aromatic, this perfume was originally meant to be sprayed on your clothes but hey, we’re not judging if you want it to be sprayed all over your body too.
Scratch and Sniff Cat Belly Stickers
Right on the theme of capturing cat scents, here’s another one you can add to your collection of cat smells: a cat’s belly.
For years now, Japanese cat-obsessed retailer Felissimo has delivered many customer friendly cat products like cat paw hand creams. Now they have blessed us with scratch and sniff cards that smell like the bellies of cats and dogs.
These two debut animals have their special fragrances embedded into palm-sized sheets of note paper that depict pictures of cute cats or dogs happily exposing their bellies in anticipation for a good old belly rub.
Eventually, the belly rub smell fades away (like all good things must) but in a company survey on social media, responses for the cat stickers said that they smelt like “burnt caramel popcorn”, “freshly made pancakes covered in maple syrup” and “burnt milk”. It’s kind of concerning that two out of the three examples that were mentioned burning smells, and I suppose the company recognised this oddity too, which allowed them to collaborate with a fragrance manufacturer to fine-tune the scent. The final scent? A mix of pancakes and burnt butter.
Cat Milk Lip Balms
Next time you’re in the market for a good lip gloss, consider this one: kitten milk scented lip gloss that makes you feel like you’ve just kissed a cat’s nose.
A lip gloss that contains cooling ingredients passes through a roll-on applicator tip, while the shea butter keeps your lips plump and moisturised throughout the day. Coming in three different shades and formulas, the kitten-milk scents come with cute little boxes that are great for gifting to your cat-crazy friends.
Compared to the slab of rock-type bed that I’m sleeping on right now, Japanese futons are by far one of the most comfortable types of bedding out there. If you’re ever in Japan and staying in a traditional inn, you’ll most likely be cuddling up in a well-designed futon.
Maybe you’re thinking, ‘Whoa, Elise is obsessed with futons’, and in response, I’d like to say, yes– anyone would be if you were sleeping on the literal rock that I call my bed.
But also, in understanding of my futon respect, Felissimo (the Japanese cat-obsessed company that was mentioned before) have also recognised the futon as a valuable quality of maintaining Japanese comfortability. Now, you can share the pleasures of sleep with your feline friends, with their very own cat-only futon.
It’s four legged and tail-centric design takes the traditional futon design to another level and enables your favourite feline to enjoy the best sleep it’s ever had. If you think your cat has beef with you then really consider buying this futon to get on your cat’s good books.
It’s 2018 and Dr. Seuss’s ‘Cat in the Hat’ has become a reality. Taking a chunk from his cat’s fur and rearranging it on top of his cat, Ryo Yamazaki created the first edition of his cat-hat label.
Ryo and his wife, Hiromi, posted the picture to their social media, and two years later, the Yamazaki’s have produced more than 100 hats out of their cat’s fur. If you’re convinced that your cat has some kind of mystical powers, then you can get these hats to match its personality, because– apart from the fancy top hats– the Yamazaki’s also create wizarding hats, perfect for Halloween or any wild night in with your cats.
What’s most amazing? Donald Trump’s hair(?)-do inspired the first of many cat hats, so at least that’s one positive for old mate Trump in office.
Once your cat has it’s hat on for the winter, deck yourself out with a matching cat scarf!
Not going to lie, it kind of looks like you skinned a random cat and draped it around your shoulders, but the softness of the fleece will make that low-key feeling of guilt go away. Old mate Felissimo came out with this product that includes a cat tail, hind feet and cat ears to give you that true cat-hug feeling!
This scarf is one of many products released by Felissimo that goes towards a fund to support cats and dogs in finding homes after disasters. Since 2003, the fund has raised over 1.3 million dollars, so get your wallets out and grab yourself a cat-scarf to support all those abandoned animals out there!
Probably the most technologically-savvy product of this list (second to the Roomba Cat) is this fancy cat poop-collecting machine that can identify your cat’s health conditions. Sharp Corp. announced in June this year that the Sharp’s Pet Care Monitor (aka. Cat Pooper 3000) is a smart toilet for cats that measures urine data and the weight of the animal to keep track of its health, simultaneously alerting its owner via smartphone of any abnormalities.
With its release date set in July 30 this year, its artificial intelligence technology analyses everything from the frequency of toilet breaks, to the length of time spent on the toilet, and keep you updated every step of the way.
Source: Japan Times