Wine For Cats? It’s Coming To Japan
October 16, 2013

Wine For Cats? It’s Coming To Japan

It is not uncommon to see pets walking their owners in Japan; owner on all fours on a leash as the dog strolls down the street tipping its hat to passing strangers. Okay that’s obviously made up, Japan isn’t that weird. But like many things, they have a slightly different approach to pets.

Japan has decided to give wine to their cats. B&H Lifes, an inventive and possibly grammatically incorrect pet supplement company, has created a wine exclusively for cats, called Nyan Nyan Nouveau. The ‘Nouveau’ part may be because it is a novel idea, or a reference to Beaujolais Nouveau, which is popular in Japan and which is coming soon, in November. ‘Nyan’ is the Japanese word for a cat’s noise – like ‘meow’.

The wine doesn’t contain alcohol, but does contain juice squeezed from Cabernet grapes and also catnip to give the kitty that little kick. The company hopes that pet owners will have the opportunity to toast with their pets on birthdays and during holidays. The cats may now follow their Japanese owners on their standard drinking session trip to Karaoke, and contribute to the painful noise that one can hear (but not always endure) when walking past Karaoke booths in Japan.

Actually, the concept of booze for pets is not exclusive, or even original, to Japan. Earlier this year it was reported that a man from Oregon had thought of making beer for dogs – and concocted a brew made from low-sodium vegetable broth, water, spent grain from the brewery and glucosamine. Like the Japanese wine, the beer contains no alcohol.

But socializing with pets in a broader sense than just laughing at them and stroking them has existed in Japan for a while. Cat café s are extremely popular, where, as the name suggests, people go to cafes which are filled with dozens, sometimes even hundreds of cats wandering around. They are especially useful for the many people who live in high-rise apartments where pets are impractical or often banned. Cat café s offer people the opportunity to hang out and relax with cats after a hard day at work. Now, they can have a drink with them too.

The cat café concept, which actually began in Taiwan in 1998 but was quickly expanded by Japan, has begun to spread around the world. The idea has been criticized for exploiting the animals, but most cafes seem to be pretty ethical and they are often a refuge for strays. One café in Tokyo has apparently introduced goats to add an exotic touch. They just need something to drink now.

One quick, only vaguely related point – another article on the wine for cats subject said that Japan is the world’s second biggest consumer of Beaujolais Nouveau after Germany. This is quite shocking to me, not only because you might expect the world’s great wine lovers like France, Spain and Italy to be up there, but also because the US might be assumed to be a bigger market. Wine is widely available in Japan, but I haven’t noticed a real love for it, unlike whiskey. There must be something they really love about Beaujolais Nouveau.

Happily, during my extra research on this I came across a report that says that in terms of per capita wine consumption, Vatican City residents are the world’s biggest wine drinkers.

Image Credit: Thinkstock

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John is a freelance writer from the UK, currently living in Japan and thoroughly enjoying their food and whiskey. His first novel, Three Little Boys, and his travel book, Following Football, are currently available on

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