A family of stray kittens helped save a restaurant from going under in Osaka, Japan.
Naoki Teraoka opened a miniature railway model-themed ramen restaurant. Like many other restaurants, when the pandemic hit about a year later, Naoki's business was facing financial ruin. He was ready to shut it down and give up. He needed a miracle - and it came in the form of a stray cat.
In June 2020, a severely ill kitten showed up to his restaurant. He thinks it was about 10 days old. Naoki decided to help nurse it back to health. The next day Naoki saw another cat. It was the kitten's mother. She began to visit every day, so Naoki fed her, too. One day she brought three more kittens.
"It was a financially difficult time for us, but we decided to help the cat family. Yes, we thought we were helping them, but they were the ones who helped us," Naoki told Bored Panda.
The cats quickly made themselves at home by lounging on all of Naoki's miniature train models. He started posting photos of the cats to Instagram. Now, people are showing up from all over Japan to see the cats and his business is thriving.
As a way to thank his feline saviours, Naoki opened a cat shelter and a cat hotel on the second floor of his restaurant. People can visit the cat hotel and spend up to two hours there while drinking tea and interacting with the cats.
Visitors can also adopt the cats. To date, Naoki has found forever homes for more than 60 cats, and has taken in more than 100 cats off the street.