Recently a café opened in Paris called the Café des Chats – the idea is that customers can play with or stroke a cat while they have a cup of coffee.
It’s not a new idea – there are lots of cat cafés around the world (in fact there are 150 in Japan alone!) but it is the first time for Paris.
This has given me food for thought.
I have 5 stray cats and I have a horrible feeling there might be more. Don’t get me wrong, I love my cats to bits. I hate to see a distressed animal and there are a lot of stray cats where I live in the countryside of the Seven Valleys so when one turns up on my doorstep it just sort of happens that they end up living in my house!
So, I was thinking, I could open a cat café in rural France!
There are though a two big issues to overcome.
1. I live in a village of 146 souls and the nearest town with shops is 8 miles away so passing trade might be an issue.
2. Pretty much everyone here has cats already so I’d need to attract the tourist trade but living in the middle of nowhere might not help.
3. My cats.
I don’t know how they get round this problem in the Paris cat café or any of the other cat cafés in the world but… when my cats dont want to play or be stroked or interact with a human in anyway – there is no way to change that.
I can briefly bribe them with treats but if they don’t want to do something there is absolutely nothing that will encourage, blackmail, bribe or make them be good or amicable.
Winston is cranky and unfriendly. I found him under a van in Boulogne as a kitten. He was so young he was still blind, covered in blood where he’d been attacked by another cat and terrified. I took him home, fed him with a pipette and against the odds he survived. He loves me to bits but runs a mile if he sees another human being – at night he sleeps cuddled up to a sheep in a field close by – smells a bit farmyard. Probably not a good contender for a cat café then.
‘Enry Cooper came next. I was in London visiting my Dad, when I came back a little raggy haired kitten was living in the kitchen. Apparently he’d turned up at the back door and my Other Half felt sorry for this little scrap (he was about 4 weeks old) and fed him and ‘Enry Cooper never left. He is feisty, funny and a real character. He sits on the wall in the front garden watching the tractors go past. When the post lady comes he runs to greet her. He is wilful, naughty, haughty and gorgeous. I’m thinking he’d pass an interview for the cat café but his reviews might be mixed.
Then came Loulou. I met a family at a flea market who had a box of kittens they were desperate to get rid of, Loulou was the last and we couldn’t bear for her to be left. She is sweet but territorial and only allows anyone to stroke her when SHE is in the mood. Fail for the cat café review.
Ginger Roger is all my fault! He was a deaf ginger tom who used to run in the house and eat the cat food for my cats and run away. He was terrified of everything because he can’t hear anyone creeping up behind him. I coaxed him for months to trust me and now he won’t go out but spends all day screaming (he doesn’t make a normal cat meow) to be picked up. The other cats creep up behind him at every opportunity to make him jump and scream really loud. He runs away from everyone who comes in the house but if you have food he will grab it. Won’t hear the phone call for the cat café interview… another fail.
Finally Shadow. We went for dinner at a friend’s house. The friend’s cat had kittens, the dog had puppies and Shadow was a stray who had just appeared and stayed – it was mayhem. Shadow jumped on the OH’s lap and looked into his eyes, the friend begged us to take her and that night she came home with us. She bites me at every opportunity, clings to my legs with her sharp little claws, my hands are covered in scratches. She adores ‘Enry Cooper and he is teaching her all of his worst habits. Far too naughty to be a cat café candidate.
So, what do you think?
A cat café in the middle of nowhere with cats who are wild, wicked and wilful?
Perhaps not – though I do have some friendly chickens, geese and ducks – a bird café – now that might work!