YEP Letters: March 22

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Check out today’s YEP letters

They’re one of the most talked-about trends in millennial dining culture - and it could be that Leeds is now the largest city in the UK not to have a ‘cat cafe’. It’s just been announced that a coffee shop home to several felines is to open in Sheffield this spring - meaning the concept of the cat cafe will have arrived in Yorkshire for the first time. Food and drink are served in a regular cafe environment - but one where customers can also pet the cats who live on the premises. Hygiene rules are strict to keep them away from food preparation areas and many are rescue animals who can be officially adopted. Here’s how our readers reacted to the idea on Facebook and on our website...

Hayleen, via website

I love cats and I hope Leeds doesn’t get a cat cafe. I can’t see the point of it and it sounds cruel to me - keeping a number of cats shut in a confined space with complete strangers. Cats need freedom to enjoy the outdoors and a peaceful place to eat and sleep indoors. Leeds needs lots of things but a cat cafe is definitely not one of them!

John Cowling

How can they serve food and drink with stray cats and their fleas walking all over the place? Surely this has to be against hygiene laws.

Emma Louise Millward

I’d happily come and look at the cats and give them all my money if they brought it to Leeds. Save me going the one in Manchester.

Johnny Harmer

Why would you want to pay to eat, drink and get covered in hair, fleas and who knows what else?

Richard Jackson

I couldn’t think of anything worse.

Beryl Stobbart

They won’t get me in a cafe with cats prowling all over the place, this can not be hygienic.

Richard Edwards

Wow. So much cat hate here. Yet say anything remotely critical about dogs and woe betide you.

A dog might be ‘man’s best friend’ but some (myself included) find them too excitable and demanding to be around for long periods. Cats are much more chilled. They can be and are often incredibly loving and affectionate, but they also like their space which in my view makes them perfect, because so do I.

Spend some time with cats and you’ll soon realise what incredibly intelligent, loving companions they can be. They are independent animals that don’t depend on humans for walks, food etc. You know that when they curl up on you it’s because they trust you and have made a choice to do so. As an introverted type who finds dogs too boisterous, I find being around cats incredibly relaxing. Unfortunately, other commitments prevent me keeping a cat right now, so were this place to come to Leeds, they would certainly have at least one loyal customer in me!

Klio le Grice

There’s a cat cafe in Ghent, Belgium. The cats are apart from where they serve drinks. You can go in the cat play area and see the cats. The cats are all up for adoption. It’s a great idea.

Lottie Elizabeth

Lived in London for a decade and went to Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium in Shoreditch not long after it first opened and as a cat lover enjoyed cats coming for fussing.

Katy Geary, Regional Media Manager, Cats Protection, by email

In response to your article “Why doesn’t Leeds have a cat café?”, Cats Protection is keen to put forward its opposition to cat cafes on the grounds of feline welfare.

As the UK’s largest cat charity, we are concerned about the welfare implications of having a number of cats in a limited space with groups of people unknown to them coming and going throughout the day. We believe this kind of environment is not suitable for domestic cats because they have evolved as solitary animals and generally do not choose to live in social groups - unlike dogs which are a social species.

It is very likely that some or all of the cats involved will become stressed as a result of being in a confined space with a continually changing group of people.

This is because domestic cats have shared ancestry with the Africa wildcat so we still see a lot of these behaviours in our pet cats today. This is not an ‘outdated’ view – in fact, research into cat behaviour counters the opinion that cats living in groups do not suffer social stress.

Furthermore, if the intention is to home cats from the café, this would create a ‘rolling’ population of rescue cats – in a café, this would create even more stress and further compromise feline welfare because rescue cats need as stable an environment as possible to reduce the possibility of stress-related and infectious diseases such as over-grooming, urine spraying and cat ’flu.

Although Cats Protection does not have powers to prevent cafés like this from being set up, we believe that people who care about the wellbeing of cats would not want them to be exploited as a gimmick to sell coffee and would therefore not wish to encourage the launch of these establishments. Given our views, we are unable to accept proceeds or donations from cat cafes in any way.

Smokers are being warned about new rules on cigarettes and tobacco that are set to come into force. From May cigarettes and tobacco will no longer be sold in bright packs but in drab green packages. The packages will have large graphic images warning people about the health effects of smoking on the front and back of them. . Under the new laws ten-packs of cigarettes which are “particularly appealing to young age groups with limited spending power” will be banned. Hand rolling tobacco will also only be sold in a minimum of 30 gram packets. Here’s how our readers reacted to the changes on Facebook..

Ciara Gittins

The government need to get ecig ads banned the same as cigs. They were meant to be a healthier alternative for existing users or people trying to quit not a fashion statement for kids who have no need to touch them. They’re advertised like fashion accessories.

Karen Abbott

The government will never ban cigarettes or vaping because it’s virtually one of their biggest tax revenues.

Yes they make all the right noises but they don’t want people to stop and if they ever do make it illegal to smoke the tax they have lost will be put onto everyone to pay, so all the non smokers really should be thanking smokers because if they didn’t pay all that tax on cigs it would be coming out of other peoples taxes.

If they think banning packs of 10 will stop the young then they are dreaming. Two mates buying a pack of 10 will just club together with two more mates and buy 20. Twisted logic to me. If I was trying to cut down what I smoked I’d buy 10 cigs, now I still have to buy 20 and hope I’m not tempted in a day to go over my set limit.

Ian Thirkill

Why hasn’t it been banned yet? Would make quitting a lot easier if it wasn’t there in every shop. Worse for you than many illegal drugs, is highly addictive and serves no purpose other than profit for big business. It’s normal to ban selling poisons to people for profit ,why is it still allowed?

Brian Horner

Pics of pickled livers on alcohol? Pics of obese people on takeaways? I’m a smoker and it doesn’t bother me what pics they put on the packs, if I want to smoke then I’ll smoke! I could get knocked down by a bus and die but that won’t stop me crossing the road!

Lindsey Bell

If you can quit then quit, if you can’t try switching to e-cigs it’s 100 times better than cigarettes. Research has shown that smoking reduces life expectancy by seven to eight years. On average, each cigarette shortens your life anywhere from seven to 11 minutes! Just think about that next time you go for a five minute fag break.

Jules Kelly

A big money spinner for the government, forcing you to buy 20 cigs, or 30g and use children as an excuse. Ban them, because nothing will stop a smoker smoking not any horrific pictures or price, until they want to stop.