Leeds to get its first cat cafe

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After being one of the largest UK cities without a cat cafe, we can confirm that the concept is finally coming to Leeds this summer.

The owners of the Kitty Cafe in Nottingham have chosen Leeds city centre as the location of their second site, and plan to open their doors to the feline-loving public in August.

Katie Charles-Richards set up her first cat-themed venture in 2015, and after the Nottingham cafe proved a huge hit, she will be providing a home for 35 rescue cats that Leeds customers can pet.

"Nottingham has gone from strength to strength - people have really embraced it. We run a re-homing programme which has been really successful.

"We looked at various places when we decided to expand, and Leeds has a fantastic city centre, it's got a good community feel and it's a really friendly place where we think we'll be welcomed."

Although Katie is keeping quiet about the new cafe's precise location, it is in a pedestrianised area close to several of the city's big retailers. She has already contacted Leeds-based cat charities who can provide rescue animals.

"We have 30 resident cats in Nottingham, and as Leeds is a larger site we'll have 35 - they'll all be rescued. There will be wide open spaces, Chesterfield sofas, and customers can wander around and explore. The cats are well cared-for and there are lots of places for them to play - it's their playground.

"The kitchen is separate from the cats' area and we serve home-made food such as pizzas, salads and cakes, and 100 types of loose-leaf tea."

Cat lovers are advised to book in advance if they wish to visit, as slots at the Nottingham cafe have been reserved months ahead.

"When people arrive they usually order their food and then wander off to find the cats. They are lovely and friendly. We have special food covers so you can eat with the cats around you . We also have a five-star food hygiene rating."

Many of the resident cats are also available for adoption, and the cafe acts as a 'shop window' for animals in need of a new home.

"We've had hundreds of amazing re-homing stories. Some cats have come to us in an awful state, and have been rehabilitated and socialised and become well-rounded cats. Blue, our alpha male, was living feral, but he's now the ultimate lap cat. Panzer was in rescue for over a year because he's so old and needed an operation on his teeth. We took him, paid for the op, and a couple visiting the cafe took him home."

Kitty Cafe Leeds will be holding a launch event ahead of their official opening, and Katie hopes to expand the brand to more cities. Visit the Kitty Cafe Nottingham page on Facebook for updates.