Nearly a month after openings its doors to the feline-loving public, Kitty Cafe Leeds has found itself inundated with visitors. Trainee reporter Sana Abubaker visited the Kirkgate cat mecca.
The cafe opened back in December and has been full almost every day. It is now fully booked on weekends until the end of February.
As well as having a bright and colourful dining space, the cafe also has its own rescue centre. They take in cats of all ages and backgrounds. All the cats are given constant love and attention in order to help them get used to human interaction.
After a few weeks in the cattery, if the cats are feeling confident, they are allowed to roam around in the cafe. They all have their own beds and are regularly checked by vets.
Kitty Cafe owner Kate Charles-Richards said:
“The most enjoyable thing about this is knowing that we are taking in cats who may have come from bad backgrounds and seeing them grow into lovely animals. It’s really great that we’ve been able to take in so many cats and be able to help them out.”
Cats are allowed to wander around next to customers, but they are politely asked not to pick the animals up.
“We have rules in place, not just for people but for the animals. We’re always very busy and if the cats were picked up by every person in the place, then it would be extremely restrictive for them.
“They wouldn’t be able to roam around or enter the cattery when they wanted, which could be distressing for them. We want to give the cats the choice as to what they want to do.”
The cafe has a system to prevent any cross-contamination with the food service areas.
Waiting staff are not allowed to touch any of the cats, while dedicated cat carers are on site to look after the pets. Covers are also provided in order to protect food.
In addition, the different staff have separate entrances and headquarters. Cats are able to enter the cattery whenever they wish and are kept well away from the kitchen.
“We have had some people express their concerns and we are fully aware that there is a standard, both for the food and for cat care. We have a five-star food rating at our branch in Nottingham and we intend to have the same in Leeds.
“We always aim above that standard to ensure that we are not only meeting the requirements, but we are well above it.”
The cattery has recently found homes for two of its cats, Moo Moo and Rocko.
Moo Moo, who is five and is a ginger cat, was given to the cattery from a previous owner who could no longer care for her. Two-year-old Rocko came from a rescue charity and has been adopted by one of the staff members in the Nottingham branch.
Despite its successful start, the cafe has had a few teething problems, as it had to close temporarily due to electrical faults. However, neighbouring businesses such as HSBC has praised the business for its quality of care and attention to detail.
The cafe aims to set the standard for all cat cafes, both nationally and internationally.
“We’ve had an excellent response from the Leeds public and it’s been a raging success so far.”