By Rhianna Busler
Cakes? Coffee? And cats?
Cat Cafe is the CBD’s first bistro that allows Melburnians to sip on a latte whilst patting an assortment of friendly four-legged pals.
With 16 different personalities strutting around, it’s a quirky place for a cuppa.
Anita Loughran first opened the cafe with her partner in 2014 on Queen St, before they relocated more recently to Guilford Lane.
“We’re not just an animal shelter, or a cafe, were a bit of both. We promote adoption and provide a space for people to be around animals in the city,” Ms Loughran said.
The cats are accepted from either The Lost Dogs Home in North Melbourne, or the Geelong Animal Welfare Society.
After first coming across the cat cafe idea in Japan on their honeymoon, the Loughrans decided to start their own here in the CBD.
“My husband said to me: what would you do if you could do anything? Then that was pretty much it. We got researching and now we’re doing our dream job,” Anita said.
With a small team of workers Ms Loughran said: “It’s not a business you franchise. It’s personal and we’re really happy as we are.”
The cafe works with a booking system that allows customers to pay $12 to hang around with the cats for an hour, with a break for the cats to have lunch by themselves.
On a weekday, the business can expect to see around 80 people, with as many as 150 on the weekends.
“People always stereotype cat lovers, but you are more than welcome to be the crazy cat lady at our cafe,” Anita said.
Although the business is happy with its 16 cats that are currently living at the cafe, Ms Loughran said her team constantly measures the animals’ personality and if they felt the cat was no longer happy, then adoption was usually the next step.
“If the cat’s personality changes, we do what we think is best for the animal and set up interviews with potential new owners,” Ms Loughran said.
Adding an animal-friendly vibe to the heart of Melbourne, Cat Cafe aims to give locals the company of pets.
“I think people should be allowed to put down a pet bond when renting apartments here in the CBD. It’s a shame that a lot of people have to sacrifice the companionship of an animal to live in the city,” Ms Loughran said.
Cat fanatic employee, Sophie, described the cafe as “magical cat heaven”.