You may have heard of the cat cafe craze which is incredibly popular in Japan; where living space is so limited that having pets at home is just not an option. You go to a cafe and sip your coffee surrounded by feline friends who you can stroke and play with; a perfect way to reduce stress after a nightmare day in the office.
Mog on the Tyne, on Pudding Chare in the centre of Newcastle; opened up last month and has been flooded with bookings ever since. It is the brainchild of Katie Jane Glazier, a fashion design graduate who has worked for over a year to make her dream reality. The cafe is home to 10 cats who have been brought from local shelter Westgate Ark and adopted as permanent residents. Fresh food is brought on site daily (they can’t produce on site due to health and safety legislation) along with cakes from local bakery Pet Lamb Patisserie.
As soon as bookings opened; I reserved a slot for a Friday evening and then sweet talked James into coming along with me. I have wanted a cat for a lifetime; but as we don’t have one (yet) I was very excited by the thought of spending an hour surrounded by them in this quirky little place.
As we queued up to take our slot, ourselves and everyone else in the queue entertained ourselves by watching a couple of the cats pawing the window, walking up and down in front of the glass staring at their next subjects. Make no mistake, the cats rule this joint! As you go in, you are asked to remove your shoes (take note, remember socks – I didn’t!) and take a pair of slippers if you so wish. You walk in to a catty paradise. A far wall is taken over by a painting of a cat in a top hat. Climbing ropes hang from the ceiling and, in the middle of the room, sits the largest cat play pen/scratch post/house my eyes have ever seen. You look around the place, taking it all in, and start to pick out the residents. Some are easy to spot; snoozing on the cat palace or claiming a chair by the window as the best place for a cat nap. Others are rather more adept at camouflaging themselves under tables and in corners, so you’re forever spotting new ones!
We claimed ourselves a spot on the sofa and ordered a pawnini to share (oh yes, there are puns!). The cats are very relaxed around their adoring fans and a number of them will come up and sit beside you or crawl on your lap….particularly if you’re eating some tasty morsel of food. We were given treats to feed them with and left to enjoy the atmosphere. It really is very relaxing, even if you’re just watching them play with each other or chase a ball around the room. James says that he found the whole thing a bit weird to begin with; but he also felt calm and chilled by the time we left.
The hour goes by very quickly when you’re distracted by cute little balls of fluff; and I definitely didn’t feel ready to leave. I will be back…. but probably not until next month, as they are completely booked up! I am also very excited to see what goodies pop up in their online shop….cat shaped teapot, anyone?