Cats Sniff at Feline Wine

The release of a specialty wine just for cats this week in Japan got plenty of buzz, but cats themselves have been far less enthusiastic.

A cat eyes a glass of Nyan Nyan Nouveau, recently released in Japan especially for cats.

Nyan Nyan Nouveau is a non-alcoholic wine for cats whose owners want to share some quality time with them, and who will spend some money to do so. In Japanese, “nyan nyan” is the sound cats supposedly make, like “meow” in English.

A 180-milliter bottle of Nyan Nyan Nouveau sells for ¥399 ($4.10) over the Internet, and will be available in pet stores and supermarkets in time for the release of Beaujolais Nouveau in mid-November, according to Masahito Tsurumi, chief executive of B&H Lifes, the company that makes it. Based in Aichi prefecture, central Japan, and originally an offshoot of a sake brewer, B&H Lifes already sells supplement drinks, non-alcoholic beer, wine and sake for dogs.

Nyan Nyan Nouveau was created in response to requests from cat owners, Mr. Tsurumi said.

“Cat owners were complaining there was no gift they could give their pets, while dogs could get sunglasses, raincoats, and boots. Even though cats may not drink the wine, owners still want it for them,” he said, acknowledging that cats generally show little interest in liquids with unusual flavors. In tests, only one in 10 cats were willing to taste the wine, B&H Lifes found.

But never mind. Owners have been yowling for it.

“It’s just like a grandmother buying an unwanted toy for a grandchild,” Mr. Tsurumi laughed.

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