Whether or not you believe it, good karma is said to come to those who do good, but that wasn’t on Naoki Teraoka’s radar when he rescued a sickly kitten outside his restaurant, despite his financial troubles.
Before the pandemic hit in early 2020, Teraoka’s miniature-railway-themed restaurant in Osaka was doing well. However, like so many other small business owners, the lockdown instated across the world. With patronage coming to a full stop—and then very limited—Teraoka was considering closing his doors.
Despite the hardships Teraoka and his family were in the midst of, his family didn’t have the heart to turn away the kitten loitering outside their restaurant. They took the kitten in, named it Simba, and shortly realized this kitten was not alone. A few days later, Simba’s mother came looking for him. They fed her, and then on a particularly rainy day, she returned with three more kittens.
Credit: Diorama Syokudou
The cats found their place among the perfectly scaled model train dioramas, and it is truly a site to behold. Looking at the cats in these settings is like watching a vintage horror movie—only instead of the cats destroying a town, they can be spotted lounging among it.
Naoki Teraoka and his family were rightfully amused by the cats in their new habitat. Like any good pet parent, Teraoka of course had to snap some photos of these precious animals and share them on social media.
The cats were a hit on Instagram, and suddenly, people across Japan were travelling to visit the restaurant and the cats who roam the miniatures. Thanks to the cats, what was once a struggling business became a booming one. Since then, the restaurant has taken a slight pivot. Now acting as a sort of sanctuary, guests can come to interact with the felines while they dine.
As of now, there are 14 cats in the restaurant, and Teraoka has set his eyes on a new business venture.
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Credit: Diorama Syokudou
To thank the good fortune brought on by his cats, Teraoka has taken his new-found stardom to give back. In 2021, he transformed the second floor of his restaurant into a cat shelter and hotel. He’s made it his mission to rescue cats from areas where cats would have otherwise been killed. Since then, he’s driven as far as 224 miles to rescue cats and has saved over 100.
At the cat hotel, guests are invited to visit for up to two hours while drinking tea. If all goes well, they can even take one of the fluffy kitties home. Through his shelter and hotel, 60 cats and kittens have been adopted.
Naoki Teraoka and his family see the gesture simply as the right thing to do. These animals have made a world of difference in the Teraoka’s lives, and they wish to do the same.
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