What I Really Thought of Kitty Café Birmingham

For any of you fellow cat lovers out there, the idea of a café where you can eat, drink and be surrounded by feline friends may sound wonderful. I thought the same, until my very first visit to a cat café. 

Anybody who knows cats will be fully aware that a cat will give you their undying attention - but only when they feel like it. If you try and force effection on them they will turn on their hind legs, swish their tail and they’re off. That’s why I first felt sceptical about the idea of a cat café. But I am aware that Kitty Café in Birmingham provides a re-homing program for unwanted cats. This gave me a little more hope that cat cafés aren’t just a money making scheme, exploiting animals along the way. 

Myself and my mom took a trip to Birmingham’s Kitty Café, located in Grand Central Station. Upon entering, you pay a £6 entry fee and have the option of also popping money into a box to donate towards a cat charity, but I don’t recall seeing which one. 

When you first walk in, it’s very bright and colourful. There are rope bridges, climbing apparatus, along with heaps of cosy looking sofas and arm chairs. We were able to have a walk around whilst waiting to be seated for our 12.30pm booking. There really were some beautiful felines, some of which seemed quite relaxed and happy to pose for a photo. 

We ordered our food, nothing overly extravagant just a panini and a wrap. There are little food covers to protect your food if the cats are nearby, which I thought was a good idea. 

I noticed quite a few children in the café, who were of course excited to see the cats. What child doesn’t love cuddly kitties? But I did see a few children running after the cats (which the rules you read before going in stipulates is a no-go). Some of the younger cats appeared a lot more timid and were frantically running around trying to steer clear of contact with humans. The whole environment began to feel a little uncomfortable to me. 

Now don’t get me wrong, when a cat approached us as we were sat at our table we gave it a little stroke. But many times throughout our visit, you would see a cat settle in a comfy spot and someone would then approach it, wanting to fuss it or dangle a toy in it’s face. Up it gets, to try and seek another quiet spot in a somewhat chaotic space. I appreciate visitors want to interact with the cats. But as we all know, there comes a point when an animal has enough and after ten hours of visitors, I suspect that point comes quite quickly for the cats. 

We had a one hour slot, but probably only stayed for around 30 minutes of that. Whilst I enjoyed seeing all the different cats, I was reluctant to approach them and instead took photos (without a flash of course) so the cats could remain in their little space without me disturbing them. I still have a lot of unanswered questions about what really goes on at these places. Where do the cats go after closing time? Are they all up for adoption or are some of them purchased from breeders? Is this really the best environment for a cat?

The positive I am taking away from this experience is that the cats who have no homes, have the chance to be re-homed. But other than that, I don’t know if I will ever visit another cat café again. 

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