Finally, the cat café concept has reached Newcastle upon Tyne – hurrah! The Mog on the Tyne is a brand new cat café which opened a few weeks ago in the middle of our noble city. Featuring ten cats and kittens rescued from the Westgate Ark cat and kitten rehoming centre, the cat café provides a friendly cat cocoon environment where you can stroke and interact with a little gang of charming feline friends. Why not while away an hour partaking of a drink and a snack at your leisure and get a furry fix at the same time? Cat people will know what that is.
All humans are welcome!
So far, the café has proved a huge success with bookings already weeks ahead. It is the brainchild of former fashion student Katie Jane Glazier who started researching her idea two years ago and travelled to London and Japan to check out cat cafes from other parts to see how they worked. It was important that her cats be rescue cats as she wanted that to be a part of her business ethic and already some people have been inspired to give an unwanted moggie a forever home as a result of visiting the cat café here. She used crowd funding to help raise the cash to start her pet project (get it?)
Cat café reception
Of course, it’s very lovely that all the cats get on in their little tribe, and while some of them are related, not all of them are. As a multiple cat owner myself I know that it is not a foregone conclusion that cats will get on with each other. My adorable tortoiseshell cat Monica (Monica Shirley Wilson to give her full title) was my feline soul mate, but she never forgave me for bringing a second cat (Sherbet) into our house, and could never tolerate his presence for even a moment.
To make sure that this would not happen and that all would be harmony, Katie chose her cats carefully. She had them living together as a group before they moved to the café and even after they had moved in she lived with them there fora month so they would settle in. They certainly looked like as happy and unstressed a bunch of animals as I have ever seen.
The café is decorated in a jolly cat related manner and there are numerous climbing frames and toys to satisfy cats need for exercise and lots of high spots for the cats to retreat to when they’ve had enough of the fawning humans.
Stan is the boss. He is the oldest and largest of the cats there and mainly interested in food. His tongue sticks out a bit most of the time as he was in a car accident and had to have his jaw wired up. He did seem to think there might be something interesting to eat in my bag. Tirion the little black and white kitten who was cuddling up to Jaffa, one of the two ginger brothers, apparently follows Stan around most of the time and just wants to be him. It’s good to have a role model I always think.
Stan investigates my bag
Owning a pet makes us healthier and happier, but for many of us, long hours at work, tight budgets and small flats means it’s just not feasible. The international phenomenon originated in Taipei, Taiwan where the world’s first feline café, Cat Flower Garden, opened in 1998. Curious tourists soon discovered the pet paradise and brought the concept over to Japan. The first Japanese cat café opened in Osaka in 2005, and now there are now said to be nearly 40 in Tokyo alone.
Japan has now gone far beyond the original concept, and some of the trendiest places to visit nowadays have owls, rabbits and goats hanging around. Tokyo’s Fukuro no Mise, which means the ‘Shop of Owls’ have full guests lists for up to two months.
Meanwhile back in Newcastle just off the Bigg Market in Pudding Chare, Maggie is relaxing in a sort of cat hammock unconcerned by the eager attention of the visitors who are all desperate for a cuddle. You can go on the website and see a little picture and profile of each cat and maybe pick a favourite. You book in for an hour and the time just flies by. I went with my friend Kaye who’s boyfriend commented ‘why do you want to go to a cat café when you have two cats and kettle at home?’ Talk about missing the point! All you cat lovers – get down to Mog on the Tyne now!