Melbourne is a city with a tremendous amount of variety and there’s even something for the cat lover looking for a fix. Cat Cafe Melbourne opened in 2014 with the aim of creating a calm and relaxing environment where people could come share some affection with their 14 resident cats. Cat cafés got their start in Taiwan and Japan and have been experiencing rapid growth in popularity over the last few years. Melbourne’s Cat Café is the first to open in Australia.
The first thing I noticed even before I went inside is how charming it feels. The café’s home is a historic bluestone building not far from Queen Victoria Market and full of character.
Inside, it has a light playful feeling and it’s really more of a cat playground than a café. Being more of a cat lover than a coffee drinker, that didn’t bother me much. The cats have free reign of the entire second floor and can move about as they wish between any of the four rooms or even retreat to their own private area free of visitors. There are lots of toys to play with, tunnels to run through, shelves to perch upon and survey the world below, scratching posts to tear apart, nice soft beds to nap in, and many nooks and crannies to explore. There are even a few bird feeders just outside the window to provide endless entertainment.
All of the cats are well cared for. They look happy and healthy with soft fur coats and a clean living space. Most importantly, they all seem to enjoy having visitors and being stroked for hours on end. You have to have a good dose of tolerance to be a cat living in a cat café.
I’ve been in Melbourne for the last four weeks, exploring different neighbourhoods and getting to know the city a bit like a local. The Cat Cafe is one of my favourite finds and somewhere I’d happy go back to. It’s one of those places that just puts a smile on your face… and a cat on your lap.