Kitty Cafes are a great idea, everyone wants to visit them to be surrounded by all the cute kitties. Well at least everyone who isn’t allergic to cats. But is the cafe actually a good place for the cats to be? Are we endangering the welfare of animals for our own personal gain?
I recently went to visit the Kitty Cafe in Nottingham and I was thinking of these questions while I was there. Am I wrong to enjoy this experience? So I did some further digging into the enterprise and found some answers that I think you might find interesting if you, too, are worried about the animals welfare.
1. Suitable Homes?
Some charities have said that Kitty Cafes are not actually suitable homes for cats. A Kitty Cafe is where the cats stay permanently, there isn’t a home for them to go when the work day is over like with us. So the cafe has to be suitable for them to be in 24/7, and charities are not convinced they are.
One issue is that they are cooped up indoors all day, everyday. We know cats to be very free animals, they wander as they please but these cats are stuck in that cafe all the time. They aren’t free to wander the streets and get up to mischief. I know there are indoor cats that are happy, but are all of the cats happy with that?
A second issue comes in that cats are not great with the whole group living. They don’t do well with a large number of cats in one place, and the Kitty Cafe in Nottingham had 23 cats in one place. The kittens were happy to play with each other but the adults were hid up away from everyone and all the other cats… what does that say?
Thirdly is the issue of strangers constantly coming into their home. How would we like it if we had to deal with hundreds of strangers walking into our house and trying to touch us all the time? We wouldn’t be the fan and neither are the cats.
A cat wants stability in their life according to the experts, they need a stable home. A home where they aren’t being touched by strangers all day – every day and can wander in and out as they please. Do Kitty Cafes provide this?
2. Welfare Requirements
Kitty Cafes apparently set their own welfare standards so it is up to them how well the cats are treated.
The government is only worried about the food safety aspect which is tricky with serving food in an area where animal hair is flying about. But a lot of cafes handle this well, making sure the food is always up to scratch, on the tables when the food is with you is another question though. Nothing is going to stop the cat from trying to steal your food and walking near it, so don’t be surprised if you find some cat hairs. It’s an occupational hazard.
Anyway, when you enter the premises the manager will present you with the rules of the establishment, normally that includes no trying to lift the animals up, and no feeding them. But the rules are up to them. So there is no standard for how well these animals need to be looked after; you’ll see that this can lead to problems.
3. Failed Accounts
There have been cases of Kitty Cafes failing and being shut down, this is normally when the animals have been poorly neglected. Which highly suggests that there should be rules put in place for the actual welfare of the animals.
There have been issues in Bangkok and San Antonio where the cats have died. There is also an issue in that when one cat gets sick, all of them get sick. 2 cats had to be taken away, while the rest were quarantined to make sure the sickness didn’t get out.
Closer to home, in Leicester, an establishment was closed because the cats were thought to have been neglected and the cafe smelt like urine and faeces.
A business that works with animals will always come with problems, rules need to be put in place to make sure everyone is looked after properly.
We are on to the positives of Kitty Cafes now, they can use their business to promote the adoption of the cats you see in the cafe. The Kitty Cafe in Nottingham is one of those that do this, and on their website you can scroll through all of their cats to see which you would like to adopt.
The cafe is seen as a good way to allow you to interact with the cats and see what their personality is, to see if it matches your own. This is of course a very wholesome way of running a business, but not everyone follows it like this.
There are some business that see it a profit before welfare, so you have to wait to adopt the cats until the business can get a replacement cat in. Or they only allow pure breeds to appear in their cafe so that they are all ‘beautiful’. These are not the business that you want to be supporting.
The main reason you want to visit Kitty Cafes is of course, the cats. They are all just so cute and it’s amazing to be surrounded by them all. It’s a great place to go to lift your spirits and relax when you can just watch kittens play together and occasionally you are the chosen one and they’ll come near you to let you fuss them.
If you go when its feeding time for the cats you get a better experience because you get all the cats come together to try and get the treats. If you are holding the treats yourself then you get a lot more love. Well until you run out of food.
Just be careful they don’t get too over excited, you are still at risk of being bitten, which is why some cafes don’t allow for certain ages to come in. Not just for their own protection, but also the cats as we don’t want the cats being petted to hard or being chased around the establishment.
6. When It’s Done Right
So what makes a good Kitty Cafe?
It’s basically one that has followed all of the points that have been pointed out through the article. If the cats look healthy and happy then chances are you are in a good Kitty Cafe. But how to make sure of that is to notice if there are some cross-breeds of cats, not just pure breeds, as well as some older cats so you know they aren’t a company based on aesthetics.
Other signs include a nice smell to the place and plenty of room for the cats to roam about. There should also be a space for the cats to go and get space from the people that are coming into the cafe so they don’t get overwhelmed or stressed.
The best sign of a Kitty Cafe done right is that you can adopt them. If the business is more interested in the welfare of the cats than the profits of the business you’ve got a good Kitty Cafe and one that you are good to support.