On Monday My man friend asked me if I was free on Friday. Of course I was free on Friday, I’m 4.5 months pregnant, can’t trust myself to go to a cocktail bar without wanting to consume all the margaritas, rarely want to do anything other than sleep and have had very little work on this month… there are no conflicting events filling this calendar.
Within 5 minutes I’d worked out a visit to Paws Cat Cafe was on the cards. I knew it was opening that week, obvs am a big time crazy cat lady and where else was he going to take me? It was that or an all you can eat buffet… half asleep the next morning I thought it was Friday, realised it wasn’t and couldn’t go back to sleep.. spent the next few days wondering what to wear for the cat-tastic selfies I intended to take, and I can safely say I haven’t been that excited since I was five and preparing for Disney Land (Paris obvs, this is not that kind of blog :-p ). Does that make this a truly superb treat or have I just finally lost it? You decide.
But when the day came, I overslept, was grumpy, favoured breakfast over washing so looked a state and was severely peed off about not being woken up with more than a ten minute warning to leave the house and make the trek to Shrewsbury via the cross country school run. However I am happy to say it was worth it for 1 hour 5 mins in puss cat paradise…
Paws Cat Cafe, situated on Mardol street… so a short walk from the train station should you wish to make a special trip to this special place. Is cool, quirky chill spot where you can really feel at home. We booked a time slot as would be quite a drive for a wasted journey, but you can just show up and see if you get lucky with a walk in too should they have space. On arrival they give you a funky lanyard (so you feel VIP) and they get you to sign a form to presumably stop you from running off with any of the residents. They also get you to take off your shoes so you don’t contaminate the puss cats with the outdoors. I found this a bit of a faff but once inside on the soft carpet in my cosy socks felt it made me feel even more at home. Hot and soft drinks are complimentary throughout your stay and they do some pretty tasty coffee and tea pigs tea. Anything else, cakes and merch etc, are written on the card in your lanyard and you pay on the way out. There is booze but I’m not sure they’ve worked out the pricing structure for that yet as unlimited prosecco and puss cats would be just too good to be true.
Then comes the magic. Lovely decor, cosy seats and lots of chill areas for the kitties. There are 11 cats in total, kittens at present so even more cuteness as they discover the new world around them, and most of them apart from a couple who are still settling in and chilling upstairs are keen to be stroked, fussed and played with. There’s a good supply of cat toys to entice them with and because of person to pussy ratio in terms of how many peeps they have in at one time there are plenty of loves and snugs to go round.
Admittedly it’s a bit of a novelty but also very fun and therapeutic. I’d never met a sphinx cat before and there there was one jumping on my lap… turns out they’re very warm and friendly! Then there’s the two Bengal twins who just want to play, Elsa the fiesty snuggle monster and this gorgeous smokey blue badass who just a few days in has already discovered the joy of cake and loves to jump up in the hope you might share your crumbs…clever kitty cat!
I remember when news of the first cat cafe coming to London hit, I was working in film PR at the time (R.I.P monthly salary) and I remember us joking in slight bemusement as to how does it work… do you turn up and go “pot of tea and a tabby please love” but in the five years that have passed it really is a viable business model as simple as turn up, get comfy and pay for your time.
The downside is it’s not cheap. I like a cafe where I can sit for a couple of hours and get some work done… add in the bonus of kitty company and I’m sold! But this just wouldn’t be viable here. An hour or so (minus 5 mins faff time) for two and a must have (£1.50) souvenir coaster came to £25 without food. You pay £1 for every 5 mins with a 30min minimum stay but you will want to stay longer unless you have a soul of coal, I promise! They do a 10% student discount which is handy and you can quaff as much coffee as you want but for that price it really is a novel treat to enjoy now and again rather than the kind of place where you can look forward to becoming a local.
I appreciate that 11 cats, some of which are pedigree, need quite the budget to keep them in food, fuss and vet care so understand there has to be more of a premium than your regular cafe and in the early days this most certainly won’t detract the many people looking forward to a cuddle and cake, but as the months go on in a town that doesn’t get quite as much tourist traffic as the big cities I wonder whether a slightly more economic pricing plan might need to be introduced. Flat rate for ‘kitty loves and lunch,’ ‘pawtastic prosecco meet and greet’, ‘high paw happy hour’ you get the gist…
Anyway, for someone who finds very little enjoyment in anything right now, it was literally the best hour I’ve had in a long time, so worth it if you want to introduce some kitty themed TLC into your week and a fabulous date idea whether it’s a first date or just an attempt to get your significant other out of the house- Believe me it will work wonders!
To get your kitty time you can get in touch and book using their Facebook page they’re open Thursday – Sunday and I’m just jealous we don’t live closer…