The Totnes Cat Cafe opened in 2013 as the U.K’s first ever cat cafe, a concept already popular in Japan, where people without pets could go in, have light refreshments and some feline company. Living locally (and missing my Mischa), I decided to try it out too.

My only regret is that I didn't visit them much sooner! I really enjoyed it. There are 6 cats in total:

RoloRolo - grey tabby. I didn't see much of him because he was snoozing in one of the "privacy igloos" (more on them later).

Lilac and Glee playin with a butter paper Lilac - grey and white. When you visit and order one of their lovely cakes or scones (I had a cheese scone), you need to watch out for Lilac, she can sniff out a cake or scone from the other side of the cafe, and she will be your best friend - but only until the food has gone, and someone else is about to start eating! She spent the rest of the time on her "throne" on top of the scratching post in the window, where she is admired by everyone passing by. 

Jet and Glee on the scroungeJet - solid black. He came to say hello, then spent the rest of the time in the other igloo.

Felix on his favourite chairFelix - black and white (just like the cat food cat!). He was lovely, very affectionate and spent some time on his back on Mrs Dyas's lap getting his tummy rubbed (which he loved - Mrs Dyas is the main human servant at the cafe, or "Staff" as Squirt would say). 

GleeGlee - tortie and white. She spent some time on the chair near me getting plenty of fuss and titbits from me and the other customers.

MangoMango - ginger and white. He spent nearly all the time on the back of the seat where I was, purring at me and enjoying a lot of fuss. I know I shouldn't have favourites but … let’s just say if I did, Mango would be the one! He is certainly the most laid back of the gang (while I was there anyway). 

You could tell from the cafe's atmosphere that it was more like visiting a large sitting room with pets rather than a more formal tea rooms, and that just made it all the more enjoyable. All the cats are well cared for and loved, and go home each evening and for 2 days off a week (they are open Tue - Sat from March 2014). They are also very serious about the cats’ safety and welfare while at the Cafe. They do not allow children under 16 inside and there is a maximum of 12 seats available at any one time (booking on their website totnescatscafe.org.uk is strongly advised if you are making a special journey to avoid disappointment, especially in the summer. Please check the opening times on the website as in the autumn and winter they may vary.)  

Lilac in her iglooThere are "privacy igloos" provided for them where they can go for peace and quiet, with a polite notice up asking people not to disturb the cats while they are in there. There are also 2 inner doors to prevent any escapes (they are electronically locked with release buttons, only 1 can be open at once and must be closed and locked before the other one can be opened - think of a spaceship airlock without the spacesuits!) plus a "normal" outer door. Plenty of toys, scratching posts etc ensure that these 6 must be some of the most pampered cats ever! 

They serve tea, coffee, hot chocolate and various cakes, biscuits and scones. For 50p, you can get a small container of cat treats which you can give to the cats, Mango took 2 from my hand really gently! Lilac came in like a guided missile for them, of course. They also sell a range of gifts, cards and mugs with "Frazzle" the mascot cat on them. 

All in all, it was a most enjoyable visit. If ever you are on holiday down here in Devon, put it on your visit list.  It won't be the last time I will be going either - perhaps next week.....and the week after.........and the week after that................!

5/5

Helen and GleeHelen Gale, Torquay. 

 

 

 Ed's Note: It is with great sadness that I report that the Totnes Cat Cafe has had to close. This is due to the Human Staff contracting an illness. It isn't known, at this time, if it will reopen. My thanks to Helen for this latest piece of information.    

One Cat is Company

"One cat is company.
Two cats are a conspiracy. 
Three cats is an attempted takeover.
Four or more cats is a complete coup!"

Shona Steele (Australia)

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