Why You Need to Visit a Pet Café

And six spots where you can hang with adorable little animals.

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Japan may be home to the greatest variety of animal cafés—featuring everything from goats and snakes to penguins and owls—but other countries and cities are joining in on the trend for its contributions to well-being as much as the novelty. "Pet owners, on average, are better off health-wise than non-owners, especially when they have a higher-quality relationship with their pets," says pet researcher and psychology professor Allen R. McConnell, PhD. Numerous studies over the years have linked pet interactions to improved heart health, social skills, and stress management.

Here are six of the best pet cafés for enjoying some therapeutic time with cute animals, both in Japan and out: