Did you know that in Japan cats are thought to bring good luck and fortune? Cuteness aside, this is probably the real reason the Japanese really love cats! Infact, Aoshima – also known as Cat Island – has a population made up of more cats than people!
Considering all of this, it’s really no surprise that when winter comes, and many Japanese are enjoying the warmth of their kotatsu (a low table with a built in blanket and heater below), they wanted to find a way to include their feline-friends! Surprisingly enough, Chicken Nakata – a Wakayama Prefecture-based food provider was in on the mission, and made it a reality!
Despite what their name may lead you to believe, Chicken Nakata is actually most famous for their best selling mikan (mandarin oranges)! Mikan is a Wakayama specialty, after all. Seeing that mikan is a popular wintertime snack and kotatsu centerpiece treat, Chicken Nakata's president, who happens to be a cat lover himself, wanted to sell “mikan for people who like cats.”
So, last year, the company came up with the idea to put a miniature, cat-sized kotatsu in a box along with five kilograms of mandarin oranges! How cute is that!? The bundled set is called Neko to Kotatsu to Omoide Mikan (Cats, Kotatsu, and Mikan of My Memories). The mandarin oranges delivered in this bundle are fresh from Wakayama, having been bathed in plenty of sunlight.
This is the second year Chicken Nakata has sold the bundle. After successfully selling out of 1000 boxed bundles of mandarin oranges and cat-kotatsu last year – it became a hot topic across SNS in Japan! Many fans are now hoping to get their paws on a cat-kotatsu this season!
However, the cat-kotatsu are not exactly fully featured. The unit itself is simply made from cardboard, and is not equipped with an electric heater. This is probably for the best though, no one wants to risk their furry friends getting burnt by accident! Besides, cats are notorious for playing around in boxes more than the toys we buy for them, so really, this is the best of both worlds, don’t you think? That’s not to say that Chicken Nakata hasn’t taken their cat-kotatsu engineering lightly! This year’s model is improved with a sturdier table top and longer legs compared to last year's model. It is still made of cardboard though – making it the perfect balance between toy and table!
The consideration for cats doesn’t stop there! For everyone that takes a photo of their own kotatsu loving cats and posts them on Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #猫とこたつと思い出みかん (Cat and Kotatsu and Mikan of My Memories), a 2 yen contribution will be donated to a feline friendly charity! Plus, 2% of the total cat kotatsu bundle sales will also be donated.