When you think Cat Cafe, what do you think of?
Well, let me clear some things up for you and I’ll strongly advise this is only my opinion from my own experience…
Melbourne’s Cat Cafe is nothing like what you’d probably expect.
Maybe I went in with high expectations. Really high expectations. After hearing stories from other people who have visited the cat cafes in Japan and Taipei and hearing them talk about how lovely it was to be around cats who would come up to you and sit with you I was expecting something similar.
Let me paint the picture for you:
To visit the Cat Cafe you have to book in and pay $10 admission for an hour visit. That all sounds reasonable. No issues there. The cats need upkeep and obviously you don’t want over crowding to occur. I’ve been told that different places run things differently. Take for instance a lady I know who frequently travels around Asia and visited the original cat cafe in Taipei. No admission was needed as well as no time limit. She said she had an amazing time and sat there for two hours as the cats went up to her and sat on the tables.
All fourteen cats are located upstairs. The “cafe” is a house. The cafe part of the business name is rather misleading. There is nothing in this place that is “cafe” in the slightest. The upstairs part of the building consists of four large Victorian rooms. Very large. There’s couches in each room with cat beds scattered around, some cat toys as well as beds that stick to the windows for the cats to get some sun. I found two small corner tables that would hold two people with two little stools in two rooms. The rest had couches to sit on. So, this is not a cafe at all. The best way I’d describe this arrangement is more…
walking into a cat hoarders house who may be a little down on finances and decided to charge an admission to view their cats to earn an extra buck.
It really is less of a cat cafe and more of a cat viewing room.
This isn’t a place you go to with six or so friends to hang out with cats and have a coffee. You wont be able to sit in a group and I haven’t even got started on the coffee which I guess is what makes it a “cafe”. You can buy coffee there *instant cafe!!!*
Now the coffee. If you drink your coffee lukewarm from an instant machine then you may like it. They also have the option for snacks. Pre-packaged snacks. So you pay $3 for a cold coffee from a machine and $3 for a snack from a box. I suppose the coffee is good considering where its dispensed from.
Let’s touch on the atmosphere. Again, not a cafe. It definitely wasn’t a social atmosphere. You could almost hear a pin drop in there. I know one of the rules was no loud noises but I didn’t know that included talking at a normal volume. People were whispering and tip toeing around to not startle the cats. Everyone was basically walking around after a cat hoping that they could possibly touch it or it would go up to them. The place really needs some background sound. There’s no music or noise to drown out the awkward silence.
The cats are lovely though. Of course they are. They’re cats. And if you like cats I’m sure you’d love them especially the one-eyed cat they have there. But one thing I’ve noticed about these cats is how jittery they are. They startle easy which I found a little strange. Maybe it’s because it’s so damn quiet in there that when they actually hear a sound its surprising.
The cats don’t really care too much for people either. They basically look at you and turn the other way. The must be so use to people trying to lure them over with little sounds and flinging toys that they can’t be bothered anymore. I would assume considering they have a group of twelve people coming in and out of the place every hour, daily, they would be a little more social. But unfortunately they aren’t. Of course no one can control the way the cats behave. But I would think for the sake of calling something a Cat cafe and conducting an actual business they would have picked cats who were more social who would actually enhance the experience for people.
One thing that made me laugh though was the fact that these cats were more like an amusement. It’s like people have never seen cats before. Maybe I’m a little bias. I have two cats myself and I do love cats. But I can’t recall getting excited to see one sleep. When you finally do find a cat you may want to touch there’s usually five other people trying to touch the same cat.
Then we had feeding time. It was like watching feeding at a zoo. Everyone stops what they’re doing and has to gather around with their phones out to take pics while going “awwww“.
I feel like they could have done so much more with the place. For starters how about some cat related decor? Nothing in there says ‘cats’ besides the fact that there’s actually cats in there with cat beds laying around.
How about putting up some cat related pics on the walls??
Even a tv going with cats or something would be fine. Everyone could watch the tv when they can’t get the chance to touch a cat.
Music in the background would make it feel less awkward when you’re sitting on a couch bored. I think it would also help the cats who are so easily startled by noise. They can get use to hearing something other then light footsteps and whispers.
All in all it’s a good place if you don’t get to see cats very often. Maybe you don’t have a cat and don’t know anyone who owns one? Or maybe you don’t have any strays in your area so you don’t get to see cats at all? You’d probably get the same response from these cats as you would from a stay. Next time you see a stray cat go get some food and put it on your front or back door *instant cat cafe* (just don’t forget the instant coffee).
I know this place has had many good reviews. In my opinion I’m not sure why. I think because it’s a novelty and nowhere else in Melbourne is doing it so it’s like “WOW LOOK REAL CATS!!”. I know a bookstore in Melbourne where the person who owns it has two cats that walk around all day. I wonder if they get more business because of it..??
For me personally I found it to be a waste of money. Go pet your neighbors cat. Hell, come to my house. I’ll book you in. You can contact me via the ‘contact’ page and I’ll schedule a time. Admission will be $5 (see what I did there, half price) and I’ll actually give you some Nespresso coffee from my pod machine with nice frothy milk if you’re into that. I’ll also provide snacks that will actually be homemade. Hope cupcakes and or cookies are sufficient. Bagels and cream cheese will also be on the menu.
So yeah. Glad I went but that’s all. At least I can now say I’ve been. Don’t let my opinion sway you though if you do want to go or in fact love the place. Maybe this was just an off day.