Neko No Niwa Closing After Death Of Beloved Senior Cat
Due to the pandemic, many Singapore businesses have sadly wound up their operations.
One company whose closure will hit hard for fans local and overseas is Neko no Niwa cat café.
The beloved cat café, known as Singapore’s first, will close for good on 1 May.
However, you don’t have to worry about the fate of their cats — they’ll all retire together with the owners at home.
Neko no Niwa cats & caregivers getting old
The sad news was announced by Neko no Niwa in a Facebook post on 1 Mar, together with the date of their final day (1 May).
They cited that their cats are between 9 and 13 years old, which is equivalent to being seniors in human years.
In fact, they said their cats had lost the equivalent of 8 human years during the last 2 pandemic-stricken years.
Thus, they want their senior cats to enjoy some years of retirement in a comfortable home “before it’s too late”.
And for those hopeful that they’ll resurface again soon, this is apparently the café’s final goodbye.
They said they had no plans to relocate or reopen with younger kittens as the “human caregivers” were also getting old.
Senior cat’s passing prompted decision
Neko no Niwa revealed that they’d been considering closure for a while.
However, what prompted them to finally make the tough decision was the passing of one of their senior cats, Baloo, in Dec last year.
In a tribute to the adored feline on 25 Dec 2021 – 2 days after his death – the café said Baloo was their largest and fluffiest cat but was actually a gentle giant.
They retired him in early Dec as he displayed signs of Feline Cognitive Dysfunction (FCD), which deteriorated rapidly.
He went to live with a former staff member but sadly passed away at the age of 13, less than a month into his retirement.
Perhaps due to the loss of Baloo, the cafe’s owners want their remaining cats to spend their golden years in retirement.
Cats will be brought ‘home’
Where will the kittens spend their retirement, though?
In an FAQ posted on 3 Mar, Neko no Niwa said they’ll be bringing all their cats “home”, which will presumably mean the owners’ homes or their staff.
Better yet, even after the café’s closure, they said they’ll continue to update their Facebook page, so fans can still find out how they’re doing.
Before that, though, the 10 kitties will be at work till 1 May, so if you want to catch and cuddle with them for the last time, do come in before then.
Neko no Niwa café was empty for several months
Neko no Niwa is Singapore’s first cat café, having opened more than 8 years ago on Christmas Day 2013, reported The Straits Times (ST).
However, the pandemic hasn’t done it any favours, as the café was empty for several months in the last 2 years.
Their cats, however, didn’t stop ageing during this time.
Thus, in 2020, the kitties kept themselves busy by working with special-needs students from the Association for Persons with Special Needs (APSN) Delta, helping them overcome their fears.
Netizens express sadness over closure
Upon hearing the news of the closure, netizens from far and wide have expressed their sadness.
One praised Neko no Niwa for really caring about the welfare of the cats.
Another fan from France lamented how she wouldn’t be able to visit one last time as she’s overseas.
To that, the café said they’ll try to continue with social media updates.
Many posted photos of their good times with the cats, like this netizen from Hong Kong who’s actually allergic to cats.
However, she never had an issue at the café — a testament to how comfortable and clean the environment was, she said.
Visit Neko no Niwa at Boat Quay soon
Singaporeans can visit Neko no Niwa as often as they want for the next month, so do head down to say goodbye to the kitties.
However, they suggest making a reservation on their website.
The café also teased that they’ll be having a moving out sale on 3 May, so you may want to keep notified via their socials.
How to get there:
Address: 54A Boat Quay, Level 2
Nearest MRT: Raffles Place
Opening hours: 11am to 9pm, Wed to Mon,
Cost: $12 for the first hour, subsequently $5 per 30 minutes
It’s undoubtedly sad that another Singapore institution is closing down way too soon.
However, kudos to the owners for thinking of the welfare of their cats by making this tough decision.
We wish the kitties an enjoyable retirement and many more years of good health and happiness.
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