Nottingham’s first ever café for unwanted cats has opened to praise from cat lovers but condemnation from animal rights groups who have concerns over food hygiene and over-crowding.
The Kitty Café raised more than £5000 on online fundraising site, Kickstarter and there was an enthusiastic crowd at the official opening on Saturday (March 28).
Abandoned cats and kittens of all different sizes and ages are welcomed at Kitty Cafe and there are currently 19 staying there.
Café owners Oliver Richards and Kate Charles-Richards have brought the cats from rescue centres in Nottingham. They believe their café will increase the chances of the animals finding homes.
Kate says: “We are operating as a cat rescue and our number one concern is the welfare of the cats and we want to find them a permanent home.”
The opening of Kitty Cafe was delayed for three months because of building work problems and Kate says: “We would rather disappoint a few people than disappoint the cats. ”
Kitty Cafe has, however, been criticised by animal welfare groups. Cats Protection Nottingham Adoption Centre manager Kevan Owen claims that keeping cats, who are naturally solitary creatures, in a busy environment could damage their health.
Kate disagrees: “There are spaces for the cats to hide away in when it gets too crowded and we have an animal behaviourist onsite who has experience working with a colony of 120 cats.”
Other people have concerns about eating with cats in a cafe.
Foodies concerned with cat hair in their cake will be pleased to know that the food is prepared separately from the cat room.
Waiters will not be allowed to touch the cats because of the risk of contaminating the food .
To those who are still not convinced, Kate encourages them to visit the cafe in person.
She says: “Come down and find out what we’re all about. It will be a comfortable experience – you’ll fall in love with the cats!”
If you’d like to book a slot with the cats at Kitty Cafe , please visit http://kittycafe.co.uk/ for more information.