Last week I was visiting family in London and decided to visit one of the cat cafes there. I have to be totally open and honest with you all…….. I just can’t make up my mind whether I like cat cafes or not. So I’m going to tell you about what I like and don’t like…….
3 years ago I visited Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium in London and was very impressed, it had recently opened and everything was new and clean and the cats apart from 3 had all come from the same litter and Mum cat was there too. In total 11 cats, they were all very calm and in lovely healthy condition. There were rules that all cat cafes have to ensure the welfare of the cats. The litter trays were away from the public . The whole cafe was designed with the cats in mind to make their world as comfortable and stress free as possible. I came away feeling fairly positive…..
2 years later I went to see Meow Parlour in New York, this cat cafe was run much the same way as Dinah’s but the cats there are all rescue cats up for adoption. So if you live locally and fall in love with a feline friend over coffee, after a successful home check you can adopt! When I was there I was told they had adopted out over 200 cats! The cats appeared very calm and could get away from each other and the public by going via a cat flap to another room. I left there feeling overall positive but with a few concerns.
So last week I found myself in The London Cat Village, this cafe has had many negative reviews from people and reading between the lines, nearly all the complaints were from people that were looking at everything from a human point of view, with no concern about the cats welfare….sigh!
People moaning about having to wait to get in, you are booked into a time slot so there are not lots of people at once stressing the cats out!
People annoyed with the smell of cat pee and hairs! The cafe has 16 cats, so yes this will happen….. When I was there, I did get a slight whiff of pee and of course there were hairs, it’s a CAT cafe right?
Some people were not happy with not being allowed to touch the sleeping cats. Imagine sleeping and being touched all the time? Cats love to sleep ALOT!
Some people didn’t like the way there is a mesh door between you and the cafe when you first enter; this is to stop the cats getting outside to a busy street. So these moans to me are positives surely?
So what didn’t I like? With all of the 3 I visited the one thing that concerned me was the size of the premises, they didn’t seem big enough for the amount of cats.
I would much rather see rescue cats in them looking for new homes. London Cat Village has all breeds from breeders and no adoption policy. The other cafes have rescues, only Meow Parlour adopts out.
When all 3 of the cafes are full it seems a lot of people, all possibly strangers to the cats? Is this not stressful? Although I realise some cats are friendlier than others.
Litter trays were an issue for me, I saw covered ones in all the cat cafes and often this can be an issue for cats. When in multi cat households, cats often ambush each other when leaving the tray. Cats don’t need privacy like us. I would rather see uncovered ones in a more private area away from the public.
After my visit to the London Cat Village I did email the manager about my concerns and received a very interesting reply mentioning they are in the process of moving to bigger premises with a conservatory planned.
All of the cat cafes I visited were very welcoming and it was obvious all the staff I met cared very much for the cats. The cats all looked in good condition physically. The cafes had also all environmentally enriched the premises with cat shelves, trees and hiding places etc.
To sum up I’m still on the fence about cat cafes and I really want them to be positive and if they get homes for a cat, that’s good isn’t it? But are they, with the high numbers of cats always indoors, just stressing the cats? Should we as cat lovers instead visit cat themed cafes that feature posters of cats needing homes on their walls?
Thanks for reading x