Kitty Cafe Leeds: All you need to know about Leeds' first cat cafe
Kitty Cafe Leeds has been broken into by heartless burglars who stole donations and staff tips.
The business on Kirkgate is Leeds' first and only cat cafe, although the Kitty Cafe brand has a site in Nottingham and is soon to open a branch in Birmingham.
None of the cats were harmed during the break-in on Thursday night, and the thieves took money from a donations tin and a staff tips box.
When did it open?
Kitty Cafe opened its doors in December 2017 after owner Kate Charles-Richards converted a former Yorkshire Bank unit on Kirkgate into a cat haven. The refurbishment cost around £500,000 and was one of the most unusual projects architecture firm CPMG had ever undertaken. Renovation work began in April 2017 with a planned opening for August, but it ended up being delayed by several months.
How many cats live there and what is their accommodation like?
The on-site cattery, where the cats live when the cafe is closed, can accommodate around 35 felines. They're all up for adoption and customers can enquire about re-homing them. The resident cats have access to a cat snug, bespoke play areas and the UK's largest scratching post, which is over two metres tall.
The cat snug is a private area where the cats can retreat to to rest and recuperate away from customers. Natural materials were used as much as possible and the air conditioning is set to a feline-friendly temperature.
Has it been a success?
50,000 people visited in the first six months, with some coming from as far afield as the USA, and 20 cats found new homes. Booking slots filled up within days of the Kitty Cafe announcing its opening date.
How can I visit?
You can only visit if you pre-book a table online - there's a booking fee on top of your food and drink bill. There's also a membership scheme that gives you access to unlimited visits in return for a subscription fee. Customers are expected to respect the house rules, which includes not feeding the cats, disturbing them when they're sleeping or picking them up.
Do they run special events?
The cafe also opens in the evenings for special events such as singles nights and games evenings. There are adult-only sessions and they've even applied for a licence to host weddings.