Do you have a cat lover on your hands? A Mini-Mumbler who LOVES felines but there just isn’t space for one at home?
My daughter is cat obsessed: wears cat ears every day and trains herself in the art of hunting like a cheetah and sitting like a lion. Every wish she makes, each list she writes to Santa, they’re all asking for a pet cat. But alas, we have no room (and my husband can’t stand them anyway) so every day, in her words, is just a little disappointing.
Enter Kitty Café. Here, you can spend an hour playing with one of their gorgeous rescue cats, while being fed and watered. And there are cats everywhere! The Leeds café has 20. Ranging from kittens to fully grown felines, they are from a range of backgrounds before being taken in by Kitty Café. Each is given training so that they have the right temperament to cope with a café full of eager children, and they are all utterly adorable.
We were greeted by friendly staff who took our conservation fee (£6 per adult, £4 per child – to help look after the cats) and gave our excited kids a chart to write the cats’ names on.
We were shown to our table and given menus, while the little ones got straight to business trying to tempt some cats out of hiding with toys and string.
This isn’t the type of café where you can keep yourself to yourself. As well as cats jumping up and down from your table (and they do, but you are given covers for your food), all the other patrons are wandering around trying to get their fill of the kitties too.
One lady was holding her family’s food plates above her heads as eager cats jumped to share them. Meanwhile, children played with the cats who weren’t resting, and adults reached up to the bridges to stroke the ones higher up.
Our daughter played with a sweet little black kitten called Sooty, while my son tickled a white one with a toy fish, in between bites of pizza. My husband – not a cat fan to put it lightly – spent the whole hour playing with and stroking the cats. He loved it just as much as the kids!
There are rules: you aren’t allowed to chase the cats, or pick them up – but you’re very welcome to play with them, and the waiting staff are very happy to chat and answer questions.
“We get lots of men who are allergic to cats. They sit there with their eyes streaming and say they’re only here because their girlfriends love cats,” laughed one. I told her I had expected to see litter trays and cat hair and be able to smell the animals – but it was impeccably clean, not a litter tray in sight and not a whiff of them either. She showed me the catholes in the wall, where the furry friends can disappear to visit their litter trays. The kitchen is sealed off so they can’t get in there either.
As an extra treat, we took the children to Leeds on the train, but if you choose to drive, there is plenty of parking nearby.
We’ll definitely be back, probably the next time the “can I have a cat?” conversation comes up!
Kitty Café, 8-9 Kirkgate, Leeds. Kitty Café gets very busy, please book in advance. 01132 449 222. www.kittycafe.co.uk