Every year in mid-autumn to early winter we take a break from travels far-far away. At this time we prefer to stay in Melbourne, visit museums and exhibitions, meet with friends and simply enjoy lazy weekends when we don't have to wake up early in the morning to go somewhere.
So on one of the lazy Saturday evenings we went to Cat Cafe. It's not a cafe in the sense that you could come here for a hearty lunch - Melbourne's food and drink laws won't allow it - but it's a fantastic place to have a reasonably cheap drink, enjoy a good book or two and have a few cats join you on the sofas.
Cat Cafes were first invented 15 years ago in Taiwan, before then spreading to the rest of Asia and Europe. The cafes offer a place to interact with cats in a fun, social, and comfortable environment, not to mention that interacting with cats is scientifically proven to lower stress, anxiety and high blood pressure.
We love our own two cats dearly, but we also enjoy the company of other cats. We knew that the cafe is not really a cafe at all - just a couple of rooms filled with cats and the option to grab a coffee in a take-away cup from a machine downstairs... So it wasn't a surprise for us to see a bunch of lazy cats sleeping or wondering around (all of whom don't really enjoy being petted, but we enjoyed ourself nonetheless).
I left my camera at home, so all photos were made using mobile phone.
The cafe is a small 2 storey building with the cats located in the various rooms upstairs. The cats have all been adopted from different animal shelters across Melbourne. The cats are really well looked after and seemed very happy - a credit to the cafe owners. You have to book in advance before going and can only spend 1hr there, but that's more than enough time. Cats being cats they were all asleep when we got there but quite a few woke up and they were very friendly. You can't pick them up but you can pat them.
Choosing to do this experience is really all about the cat-time you get (on their terms,of course - they are cats after all!) and enjoying what the owners have been able to achieve in terms of a "cat cafe" within Melbourne City Council's law. We give the owners a lot of credit and hope people visiting with these things in mind encourages them to steadily refine and grow their business. We enjoyed the visit but there is nothing there to make us go back again. If you don't like cats, don't go.
Cat Cafe Melbourne is located at 375 Queen Street, next to the Victoria Market. There is a $10 booking fee per person and you can book online. Visit their website for more information.