I sat, nestled in a bean bag, and was handed a tortoise-shell kitten named Piglet. After nibbling on my coat for a while, it pawed my lap, curled up and went to sleep. The pop-up Sydney Cat Cafe isn’t around for long and depending on its success raising funds through kick starter, it may be a permanent fixture in our Sydney landscape.
The cafe is light and bright and pastel pinks and soft greens. I expected it to smell like a cattery, but when I walked in, I was greeted by sweet vanilla incense and calm folk music, soothing in the background. It’s a complete sanctuary for people to spend half hours with kittens, it’s almost therapeutic. It felt like a bubble, away from the busy streets and car horns and erratic pulse of the city. For the half hour, slippery kittens and slinky cats were all that was important in the world.
The pop-up cafe itself was in a gallery space in Paddington, so the business partnered with a local cafe for the event, supplying beverages and food for a small cost. The plan for the permanent space is to have a cafe area and feline area on the same premises.
Personally, I was too distracted to think about anything other than kittens. The man opposite me had sunk into a deep cushion, cradled a hand-sized kitten on his chest, while a tiny ginger explored his shoulders and collar. The volunteers from Maggie’s Rescue were just as eager to see the cafe patrons as the resident felines were.
The Sydney Cat Cafe is part of a growing global phenomenon. However, unlike the cafes in Sydney, Melbourne, Taiwan, Japan and Thailand, this cafe has teamed up with Maggie’s Rescue, which is a cooperative of carers committed to Companion Animal Welfare. I think this partnership is an excellent idea to celebrate. Not only can humans get detox and destress through cuteness therapy, but the rescued cats have the exposure and potential to be found a new home.
The founder of the Sydney Cat Cafe, Veronica, said that she worked as a lawyer by day and joked about moonlighting as a crazy cat lady by night. Inspired by wanting to be around cats and share the excitement and peace that cats bring, her dream was realised when Maggie’s Rescue keenly came on board for the project. She was overwhelmed with the response from there public, after receiving over two thousand emails in the first forty-eight hours of booking, and hopes to see the kick starter campaign reach its goal to fund a permanent cafe in Sydney.
For now, all I can say is that I was totally smitten with the oodles of kittens that traipsed, tripped over, and tumbled into nap time. I hope the pop-up cafe returns at the end of June as planned, and I hope to see the Sydney Cat Cafe stay for good.
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