Today is Caturday, which means it is the best time to share with you my adventure in Nottingham at The Kitty Café!!!
If you know anything about me, you will know that I am a total crazy cat lady! so when I found out that I could hang out with cats on our Nottingham trip, I was super excited to say the least!
“The Kitty Café is designed with felines in mind, with wide open spaces and lots of kitty toys – but that is not to say that humans are left out! Each table has comfortable sofas and armchairs to maximise your experience and relaxation! Come and say hello!” [source]
I love visiting zoos, aquariums, farms, nature parks, etc. but I am always in two minds about my love for these establishments. Are the animals happy? Is this ethical?
Without the conservation projects, and breeding programmes that are run, invested in, and facilitated by zoos, many species would already be extinct. Also, the animals that are born as a result of the breeding programmes are often then used to repopulate the wild populations. Unless we start treating our natural world better, zoos continue to be necessary.
Does that make it okay for me to enjoy them? I think my answer is yes. The education aspect of animal centres is vital to getting people to care about the environment, and the earth’s natural flora and fauna… and the best way for people to learn is through experiences that are fun and engaging. I love animals, so I enjoy visiting them and being able to see them first-hand… but it is also that love for animals that makes me question my own motives, as well as the motives of the institutions I am visiting. I think that is the important part of what this rambling blog post is trying to say!! Enjoy things, but be mindful of the moral questions behind your visit.
How does all of this relate to The Kitty Cafe?
My experience in the cafe was conflicted. I felt the cafe staff were providing great care for the fluffy felines within, as they were obviously healthy. I was delighted to discover that this cafe rescues all of their resident cats, and they use the money made from the cafe to nurse the rescue cats back to health, with the eventual goal for them to find their “forever homes” – leaving the cafe was rubbish, because I REALLY wanted to talk all of the cats home with me forever!!
My main concern was that I felt there were not enough staff to look out for the welfare of the cats while the cafe was open to the public. Upon entering, we were given a set of rules to read about how to behave with the cats, and were asked to sign an agreement to say that we were happy following them. The rules were all fairly simple, and common sense (do not pick up the cats, do not pester sleeping cats, do not fee the cats human food, etc.) yet, it was clear these rules were being broken. On more than one occasion I saw people picking up the cats, and with the centre having a few small kitten residents, they were easily picked up and trapped on people’s laps. Slightly more alarming, was when I saw one feeding the small kittens cake (which we reported to a staff member, who dealt with it really effectively). Also, watching small children chasing cats without their parents doing anything to stop them was rather dismaying.
All the staff were really friendly, and when we did speak to them ensured us the cats were their top priority… but I feel like the few staff members that were there to serve the busy cafe were too under pressure and focused on serving the customers food and drinks, that they were unable to focus on ensuring the safety of the cats from customers who were clearly incapable of reading the rules/had any common sense about how to treat cats properly.
Luckily, the cafe was decorated with lots of high spaces for cats to escape and sleep in. There were plenty of high up beds and tall cat trees, as well as a built walkway over the top of the customers heads, and luckily out of the reach of hoomans!
I think, with a few changes, the Kitty Cafe in Nottingham could be a fantastic cat cafe. The food was delicious, the tea was fantastic, the staff were really friendly, the decor was cute and kitsch, and I love the focus on rescue, rehabilitation, and adoption… but they need to ensure that the cats remain the top priority, and the human visitors need put in their place. At present, The Kitty Cafe fell short of my expectations, and I hope to see better if I ever have a chance to visit again in the future.
Nottingham Kitty Cafe at a glance…
Monday-Saturday = 10:00 – 20:00
Sunday = 10:00 – 18:00
Booking slots last 1 hour.
There is a £7 welfare charge per adult and £5 per child.
Food and drinks are charged additionally, click here to view the menu.
Address: 31- 37 Friar Lane, Nottingham, NG1 6DD OR use Google Maps here.
The cafe is family friendly with full changing facilities available on site.
The cafe is fully accessible, and easily accommodates wheelchairs.
To view the cats that are available for re-homing, please click here.