THE WHIS­PERER

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - PETS - Anne Box­hall Email abox­hall@big­pond.com

TAS­MA­NIAN cat lovers en­joy­ing a shop­ping or footy week­end in Mel­bourne have a new rea­son to smile with the open­ing of Aus­tralia’s fi rst cat cafe.

Lo­cated in Queen St, in the CBD, trav­ellers need­ing a cat fi x can drop in for a play, a cud­dle and a cuppa.

So pop­u­lar is the cafe, the on­line book­ing sys­tem can be full up to fi ve days ahead.

There’s a wait­ing list to meet de­mand and book­ing ahead is a must.

The cafe is home to 11 friendly cats who live there per­ma­nently, hap­pily lap­ping up all the af­fec­tion. Th­ese cats were pre­vi­ously res­i­dents of shel­ters and pounds and are now liv­ing the good life as star at­trac­tions at the cafe.

Cat Cafe raises money to do­nate back to shel­ters and pro­motes cat adop­tion in the quest to fi nd car­ing and per­ma­nent homes for more cats.

The fee for re­lax­ing with the cafe cats is $ 10 an hour. In line with Aus­tralia’s food reg­u­la­tions, cat canoodling takes place in a sep­a­rate room away from the food prepa­ra­tion area, al­though pa­trons can take their drinks and snacks in.

Other rules in­clude no fl ash pho­tog­ra­phy, no dis­turb­ing sleep­ing cats and no kids younger than eight.

De­signed pri­mar­ily for peo­ple who love cats but don’t have one, the cafe meets a need for those who are away from home or whose life­style or liv­ing ar­range­ments does not ac­com­mo­date pet own­er­ship.

Cat cafes fi rst popped up in Taipei, then Ja­pan, the US, and Europe be­fore Aus­tralia. It’s not sur­pris­ing the con­cept has taken off, given the vast amount of stud­ies on in­ter­ac­tion with cats and the re­sult­ing re­duc­tion in our stress and anx­i­ety lev­els.

For more on Cat Cafe, visit cat­cafemel­bourne.com

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