Ever since the start of the pandemic, companies around the world have had to find ways to adapt, something that’s been especially tough on small businesses.
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Luckily, with the support of their communities, many of them have managed to stay afloat. For Naoki Teraoka, that support has included lots and lots of stray cats.
1. In 2005, Naoki opened his first miniature model-themed ramen restaurant.
2. Since then, he’s gone on to open a couple more locations in various cities in Japan, including his latest in 2018.
3. Two years later, though, the pandemic began, and his business slowed to a concerning degree.
4. Just as Naoki and his family started to consider permanently closing, a critically ill kitten showed up at their restaurant’s door.
5. Within hours they decided to keep the 10-day-old kitten and named him Simba! But that was just the beginning…
6. Soon after, an older cat began peeking into their window every day. It was Simba’s mom!
7. Fewer customers left them with lots of leftovers, so they were easily able to feed the hungry cat mom. Soon enough, she brought along three other kittens.
8. “It was a financially difficult time for us, but we decided to help the cat family,” Naoki said. “Yes, we thought we were helping them, but they were the ones who helped us.”
9. As this adorable feline family began to make themselves at home, they quickly became fond of the miniature models adorning the restaurant.
10. That’s when Naoki had a brilliant idea – why not incorporate the cats into their business?
11. Now, customers can pet and admire these friendly felines as they enjoy their yummy ramen!
12. To help spread word of this exciting change, Naoki began taking photos of the kittens in action so he could share them on social media.
13. Since then, they’ve continued to take in more cats and business is absolutely booming!
14. As a way to thank the cats, Naoki opened a cat shelter and a cat-only hotel on the second floor of the restaurant. This gives customers the option to spend two whole hours drinking tea and playing with the cats!
15. Plus, these precious creatures are available for adoption. So far, Naoki has found new homes for more than 60 cats!
Staying afloat during the pandemic hasn’t been easy for Naoki, but it seems that things couldn’t have turned out better! Not only for him and his family, but also for all the cats who now have a much better chance of finding their forever homes.
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