In August 2016 I went to visit the newly opened Cat Cafe in the heart of Manchester city centre.
Anyone who knows me, will know how much I love cats (and I’m often called the ‘crazy cat lady’), so this place is purrfect for me.
To visit the Cat Cafe, you can either book an hour slot, or turn up and pay as you get there. They operate on a 50% booked and 50% on the door system. For the welfare of the cats there is never more than 20 people in the cafe at any one time. When you book or pay at the door, you are paying for time rather than an entrance fee or drinks (drinks are included in the price!!). The Cat Cafe charge £1 for every 5 minutes, so if you book for one hour you are paying £12, but you have the option to stay longer and you are charged to the nearest five minutes. As I said, the drinks are included in that price and they have a wide range of hot and cold drinks (I had two glasses of yummy pineapple juice). They also have snacks and cakes which are charged at an extra price. There is no hot food available.
I had booked online for one hour from 10am. The Cat Cafe is in the Northern Quarter and I had arrived early (9.15am!). I went to the reception and they let me come in then so I didn’t have to wait until 10am. The lady at the reception was lovely, she told me about the rules which can be found on the FAQ page of their website. You are not allowed to pick any cats up or wake them if they’re sleeping. You also can’t give them any human food/drink and you have to either wear slippers or shoe coverings. Then you are asked to use the hand sanitiser and you can then go into the Cat Cafe!
For the safety of the cats, there are three doors between the actual cafe and the street, to make it difficult for the cats to escape.
There are plenty of chairs and tables, as well as sofas to relax on. The cats have a walk way which leads to a cat flap on the wall so they have a place to get away from humans if they need some time alone. There is also a book case with some books which you can read, and a large fish tank which I’m sure the cats love! You can see more photos of the Cat Cafe on their Facebook page.
Once I had found a place to sit (I was trying to find the best ‘cat place’!), I let the cats come to me. If a cat came over and sat on a nearby cushion or cat bed, or playing with the items near me, I would then go over and greet the cat, give them a bit of a fuss and play with them. I saw some people who were following the cats around the cafe which I didn’t think was fair on the cats.
The cats seemed happy and healthy and most of them didn’t seem to mind the human interaction. They have ten cats in total and you can see the Cat Cafe Family on their website. One cat in particular didn’t seem happy with the humans. Gemma the blue British Shorthair hissed and went to scratch people who went near her. She is described on the website as being in charge and is the oldest in the family. I feel like maybe if she was given some one to one attention from the staff she may change her behaviour, or the staff should let the humans know as they arrive at the cafe, as we all know how nasty a scratch from kitty claws can be!
The first cat I met was Aslan the Maine Coon, the youngest of the Cat Cafe family. He was chilled out on a cat bed and didn’t move from there for the whole time I was in the cafe! He looked very relaxed and I didn’t want to disturb him.
I met the other cats as they came near me, but the one I fell in love with the most was little Keira the Bengal. She is so tiny she looks like a 6 month old kitten, and (as I said to the cat nanny) she looks like she gets up to a lot of mischief! She was very playful and full of energy.
The Cat Cafe opens from 9am – 7pm, and from 7pm – 9pm they have events such as yoga classes, social nights and movie nights which you can find on their events page.
I will definitely be visiting the Cat Cafe again very soon, and I have a feeling this place could become my second home.
If anybody from the Cat Cafe is reading this, I want to say THANK YOU for bringing this to Manchester. I feel most at ease around cats and the staff are very friendly and welcoming. I look forward to seeing you all again soon!
The photos below were taken on iPhone 6, next time I visit I will take my Sony camera to get some better photos. You are allowed to take photos at the Cat Cafe as long as you don’t use the flash! A favourite photo that I took is the one of Keira walking along one of the window beds and it almost looks like she is a giant cat walking in the city.