Hello and Welcome!
Today’s post is going to be a little different, and more of a lifestyle post. I’ll be discussing my experience of, and thoughts on, a cat café in Bristol Called You&Meow.
Now it’s no secret that I absolutely love cats (okay okay fine, I love all animals)! If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter you’ll always see cats lingering around – whether it’s cats photo-bombing my outfit photos, me posting on my Instagram stories about either my cats or my boyfriend’s cat, or me liking lord knows how many cat photos and videos on Twitter, cats are a big part of my life.
It was actually on my very first date with my boyfriend that we spoke about this café, we had been drinking in a bar nearby and I said how much I’d love to go to the café and how amazing it sounded (I couldn’t quite believe that there was a cat café in Bristol and that I didn’t already know about it).
So, this year we stayed in a hotel in Bristol as a little break and decided to go to You&Meow. We booked ahead of time so that we’d be sure there would be space for us, and were so excited about it!
It feels like forever ago now, since we did go in May, yet it’s still so clear in my mind.
For anyone who doesn’t know what a cat café is, I’ll give a little information, as well as some information specifically about You&Meow, before I talk about my experience there.
What is a Cat Café?!
It’s pretty much how it sounds – a café with cats. From my experience, you can get coffee, tea, hot chocolates, smoothies, and sweet treats, whilst being surrounded by feline friends. During your time there you can play with, and pet the cats whilst enjoying the normal things you can expect in a café. Of course, you’re probably going here more for the cats, than the café part, but it’s still nice to have a drink and a snack.
From what I’ve seen from researching, these cat cafés specifically have rescue cats (who are usually also up for adoption).
The following has been taken from You&Meow’s about page:
‘You&Meow opened its doors in February 2017 through hard work, passion & dedication to bring this unique place of well-being, to all our cat loving friends. We are very proud to achieve this through our successful Crowdfunding campaign & are truly grateful to be supported by so many people who believed in us to create this unique destination in the vibrant & wonderful city of Bristol.
You&Meow’s interior has been inspired by Japanese design, particularly zen gardens. The cafe is a place of peace, calm & serenity, & our design aims to emphasise that.’
The Cat Café Controversy
Before getting into my experience, since animal welfare is extremely important to me, I want to address some of the controversies about cat cafés. There has been some criticism, mostly from the RSPCA, about the café environment and it’s suitability for cats. They have said that cats tend to be solitary animals and may experience stress from interacting with the different people. They also argue that the rehoming of cats from the group and introduction of new cats could cause further stress.
I do see both sides of the story. On the one hand I understand the appeal of cat cafés (which is why I went to this one), however I can see why it may seem negative for the cats. As I will explain more in my experience though, I think it ultimately comes down to how the cats are treated and you can’t really judge from the outside.
Whilst I understand that cats like to go outside, which these cats don’t get to, there are plenty of people who keep cats as indoor pets. Additionally, although cats may prefer being alone, many people have multiple cats living under the same roof (hell, I have three).
It’s a difficult line between ensuring the cats are happy, whilst still having the café aspect that people enjoy.
My personal experience from the time that I went was extremely positive. There’s two doors to get through (like an air lock) to ensure that the cats are safe inside and won’t escape. Before even getting to the cats attendees are encouraged to wash their hands and are given a briefing about how to treat the cats. We were told not to pick them up and not to disturb them whilst they’re sleeping, not to give them any food (especially any cake that we may be eating), and just generally to respect each cat.
When we were shown to our table, a cat was asleep in my seat (of course) so we had to get an extra chair, then I got up to play with a couple of the cats and another cat jumped into my second seat and went to sleep, so we had to get another chair.
Generally the cats seemed well looked after, the staff were very attentive to every cat and were always watching them to make sure they were okay. One of the cats got their claw stuck in a curtain (as they do) and within seconds a member of staff was helping out.
Some of the cats slept the whole time, some of them wanted to play the entire time, some liked being pet, some slinked away to avoid it, they were all different. There was no hissing, no fighting, no staring, no signs that any of the cats were unhappy with each other, their surroundings, or the people, and they were certainly never bored. There was plenty of stimulation in the way of toys, and climbing places, as well as places they could go to hide and have some space.
The menu also had pretty good choice, I ordered a smoothie and my boyfriend got a white hot chocolate, and we shared a slice of cake. Everything was delicious, but the white hot chocolate was particularly amazing (albeit very hot in temperature).
Overall, the experience was wonderful and I would definitely go back there and take my mum or a friend. I’d definitely recommend going to You&Meow if you’re ever in Bristol. If you are interested though, I’d really encourage you to book online as it’s not guaranteed that there will be room if you just turn up when you like. They have time slots and a very limited capacity.
You can find more out about what packages they offer, and how to book, on their website here. Okay so this is the end of this post!
I really hope that you enjoyed it after my one month blogging hiatus. I’ve had a lot going on (when don’t I) but I’m really trying to pull it back together this week so keep a look out for more posts!
Charlotte (Multibendybeauty) Follow me on Instagram
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