When Alice sent me the link to the cafe‘s press night and asked if I wanted to go, I squealed a little and started counting down the days until the night. With the cafe offering up just 30 tickets to spend two hours meeting the cats, trying samples from their menu and finding out more about their ethos, I could immediately tell that this was a place that cared first and foremost about the needs of the cats above anything else.
The first thing we were asked to do when we walked in, waiting between the two door airlock system they have to stop the cats from escaping, was sanitise our hands and read their ‘Cat Care Rules’. They emphasised numerous times the importance of hygiene in the cafe, having seperate staff for handling food and handling cats. The rules including keeping your food to yourself and not feeding the cats, letting them come to you and not chasing them or waking sleeping cats, and not using flash while taking photos or making loud noises around the cats. Really just logical rules, but necessary to make sure the cats were comfortable.
We were greeted with champagne and invited to sit down in perhaps the cosiest room I’ve ever been in. With exposed brick, wooden furniture and floor, and cushions everywhere, it looked like the ideal place to spend an evening with cats. We were told that all the cats were in their microchip controlled private bedrooms, that they were hiding because of all the commotion while setting up but they would likely be out eventually now it was calmer. On a regular visit they will allow people to come back for free if no cats appear while they’re there – cats are picky animals, they do what they want!
It wasn’t long until some inquisitive cats came out – Clifford and Bear. Pause Cat Cafe have quite a few black cats and older cats (they’re less likely to be adopted) and the staff told us about them. For example, Bear always gets jealous of whatever Clifford is playing with, and demands to play with it too, even if he’d previously shown no interest in it! We were brought samples from their solely vegetarian and vegan menu while we were treated to live music, including bruschetta, avocado on toast with chilli flakes, and possibly the best chocolate and vanilla cheesecake ever. All of their food is locally sourced, sustainable and healthy, the latter really dependent on how much cheesecake you have while there.
Everything is thought out with the cats in mind, even the banisters have scratching pole material wrapped around them for the cats to scratch at. They’re all indoor cats so aren’t being kept inside when they’re used to going out, and they do actually have a giant hamster wheel that we were told they sometimes use… I can’t see any of my cats being too impressed with being encouraged to move! They’re passionate about the local community and want to use the cafe to help those who are in poverty, ill and disabled.
The cats have 24/7 monitoring in the form of trained animal care staff with them round the clock and cctv which staff can access via their phones. Without the cafe these cats would have faced spending the rest of their lives in a shelter without the love and affection they need, and they’re 100% for adoption over breeding. I’m only in support of places like this if the cats are put first and the priority, and it’s safe to say this cafe is possibly the loveliest place on the south coast for cats and cat lovers alike. I highly recommend going if you get a chance!