Maison de Moggy, 17 West Port, Edinburgh.
A bus journey into Edinburgh, to a destination I never thought I’d be heading for.I’ve heard about it. It sounds novel, but I’d never really considered actually going before. Well, today is the day.
We reach our destination and there is a queue out the door. We go to the end and peer through the window, hands shielding the sun’s glare. At the other side of the glass are two Bengals lounging in the sun. Philippe and Marcel. They stretch and roll over, enjoying the warmth. Soon we are welcomed into the cat cafe.
And it’s not what I expected.
I pictured a normal cafe; chairs, tables, little menus and cups of tea. Just with a few cats about your feet. No. Instead, it’s like one of those kids play centres where there are tables at the edge for the parents to sit, but a huge soft play in the middle. Aimed at the kids, but with tea and coffee to suit the bored parents. I guess it’s a bit like that. The cafe is split into two sections. On the lower level, there are a few tables and sofas (some occupied by cats,) with shelves and walkways lining the walls, and toys littered across the floor. On entering, you take off your shoes and immerse yourself into what can only be describes as a cats play area. And it’s brilliant.
Moving through the cafe to the upper level, there is a large structure for them to climb and sleep in or on. On these walls too, there are shelves with cat beds on them, connected to the structure by walkways and bridges. It’s the ultimate toy. Coco sleeps inside the structure, but not so far in that you can’t give him the tummy runs he loves. (Though don’t push it, he’ll let you know when he wants left alone!)
A sleepy Coco (he has the most beautiful yellow/gold eyes)
Up on the walkway, just out of reach, lies the furriest, most beautiful, white Persian. His paw dangles through the slats, and his tail swishes above us. Standing on my tiptoes, I can just reach to confirm, yes, he is incredibly soft. I don’t know his real name but I decide he looks like a Flopsy.
‘Flopsy’ chilling on the bridge
We have an hour in the cafe and spend it stroking every cat we possibly can. Drinks and cake are forgotten, replaced by a need to make friends with the furry masses around us. Though not all are puff balls. One little girl is quite the opposite. The Sphinx cat is much smaller than the others. In a mix of Norwegian Forest cats, British shorthairs and Ragdolls, she certainly stands out. But my does her personality make up for it. Jumping up into people’s laps, she perches on the end of their knees, trying to get at their food or drink. While the others ignore most of whats going on, preferring to nap, she jumps around playfully, catching all the crumbs she can! I’ve certainly judged Sphyinx cats harshly in the past – there are incredibly ugly, there’s no doubt about it. I mean, they look like oversized pink raisins. I certainly didn’t expect her to feel like velvet when I stroked her, that’s for sure. While she just looks like a baldy, she is incredibly soft, though a tad bony. And she was one of the friendliest cats there. Bold and cheeky, yes, but also playful and soft. My opinion truly has been changed after meeting her.
There are also little beds for them around the corner, one above the other attached to the wall. It reminds me of the seven dwarves. About ten of us are in the cafe together, all competing for the attention of the cats, though they’re more interested in sleeping. Until the treats come out anyway.
Soon our hour is up, and I sneak in a quick cuddle with Alain. He’s the rag doll with the splodge on his nose. He’s been sat in the same spot of the sofa the whole time, even when the treats were out he stayed put, knowing we would go to him.
All of the cats are just wonderful, and very well cared for. They have the opportunity to stay out of reach if they so wished, or can relish in the constant attention. Having never planned on going, I’m glad I did. The only negative thing I can say about my experience is that I was expecting the cats to be your common moggies. Yes, it was lovely seeing and interacting with the pedigree cats BUT I think I would have preferred the cats to be rescue cats, ones that couldn’t find a home. To me, that would have made the experience far more enjoyable. I would still recommend going, it’s certainly is something different to do as a one-off – just don’t sit in Alain’s spot.
-Maison de Moggy, West Port, Edinburgh