Have you heard about these 'Animal' Cafes? Do you bring your own pet? Are pets walking around off the lead?
Well to celebrate Afternoon Tea Week this year Chiara and I went to visit our local Cat Cafe to find out what all the meowing was all about!
What is a Cat Cafe?
The Cosy Cat Cafe is a charity supporting cafe located in Herne Bay and are open for afternoon tea, walk-ins, private hire and special events. They have 10 cats in residence - and 4 newborn kittens since we visited!
The cats are loved by all the staff, but during a working day they are looked after by the Cafe's 'Cat Nanny' who is trained to know the cats inside and out such as their likes, dislikes, favourite toys and how to tell if the cat is in any way at all unhappy, and know how to take them out of that situation if needs be. They will also help customers who cannot interact down on the floor with the cats by bringing over cats who love to cuddle up on a lap for a quick hello.
What are Cat Cafes trying to Achieve?
The Cosy Cat Cafe wants all cats to be given the chance to have a forever home. Its furry residents are cats who have been homed a few times due to unforeseen reasons and are seen as too fragile to be rehoused again. Therefore the cafe is their forever home, although the cafe does have a notice board with cats up for adoption from Thanet Cats in Crisis and help with advice on adoption and also arrange home visits to get to know the cats a little better.
Are Animal Cafe's Hygienic?
This was a question we were most eager to ask during our visit as I'm sure many are. When interviewing the staff, they informed us that none of the serving staff are allowed to pick up or move the cats because they will be handling food. The Cat Nanny is the only staff member who can move a cat, but equally the Cat Nanny is not allowed near the kitchen or around food prep areas. As like any Cafe or Restaurant surfaces such as tables are wiped down after every sitting. The animals are obviously not allowed in the kitchen or food prep areas.
How do they make sure a Cat doesn't go where it shouldn't?
Upon entering the Cafe we had to ring the doorbell as the door is locked. One of the staff then came to the shopfront door - whilst closing another behind her - and let us into the cat-themed waiting area. Once we were all inside the shop door was closed and locked again and the main door was opened. This is a 2 door failsafe so that none of the cats makes their way onto the high street.
There is a similar system for the staff to come to and fro from the kitchen. This is a three-door failsafe for extra care that the cats do not come into contact with the kitchen or the food prep area. A staff member must make sure that the door behind them is closed and that no cat is with them before they make their way to the next door.
Does that Mean that the Cats aren't Allowed Outside?
No not at all! In fact, the cats have their own area which guests are not allowed to visit so that they can have their own private time if they do not wish to interact with anyone. To get to this 'cats-only' area the cats have to go through a hole in the wall which takes them to a room with beds, food, drink and a cat-flap where they can roam the garden outside for fresh air.
How is the Food?
We LOVED it!
We opted for the afternoon tea option which meant that we had a selection of sandwiches, a pot of tea - though you can have any drink you wish - several cakes of varying flavours!
(The Red Velvet Cake was AMAZING! Like eating a tiny cloud!)
So yes if you are a cat lover or an animal lover in general, why not find an animal cafe near you and have a drink and a slice of cake, it will truly be an experience you won't forget!
Can you take Children to a Cat Cafe? This particular cafe does not allow children under 10. This is due to the history of particular cats at the cafe and is for the safety and comfort of the children and the cats. We advise checking with the cafe before attending.
Can you bring your own pet? Usually, for cat cafes you are not encouraged to bring your own pet, this is because the animals here are all familiar with one another and a new animal could upset them. Dog cafes on the other hand usually welcome you to bring your pet. Again we would advise checking with the cafe before visiting.
You can watch our full video tour of the cafe below:
Our Foggy Forest tags continue to be our bestselling products for a second week. We're currently seeing them fly out on keyrings, dog tags, bowls and mugs...all with your personalized best friends on them! Thank you SO much for continuing to support us - they look amazing!