Ever since I found out there was a cat café in Brisbane called Cat Cuddle Café, I’ve been dying to go. Numerous trips to Japan over the past 14 years have enabled me to experience my fair share of Japanese cat cafés, but an Australian cat café? Now that would be a first! But could it possibly compare to the amazing cat cafés of Japan?
The Cat Cuddle Café was established in mid-2015 as a space for cat enthusiasts who may not have a feline of their own to come and enjoy the company of kitties. Of course, like any proper café, they also offer coffee and baked goods that can be enjoyed in the same area as the cats (full food menu unavailable due to local food laws). Bookings are highly recommended, so a friend and I made sure to select a time using their online booking form in advance, opting to for the minimum of 1 hour for $10 (approximately $6.95 USD at the current exchange rate).
When you first enter the café, you’re greeted by a paraphernalia of cat merchandise and decor, almost all of which is for sale! Then it’s down a set of stairs to the register where you give your name if you have a booking, go over the guidelines of the café, and order any food or drink you desire. In the interest of getting the full café experience, I placed an order for a flat white (basically a latte with less foam) and headed into the cat room.
My first thought upon entering was, “Boy, that’s a lot of cats!” The website states that there can be up to 20 cats in the café at one time, 10 adults and 10 kittens under 3 months of age. Here are the “cuddle stars” on duty when I visited:
For comparison, here are the cats my favorite cat café in Kobe had on staff:
As you can imagine, I really was floored by how many cats the Cat Cuddle Café had out and about for you to interact with! But by far the most amazing aspect of the Cat Cuddle Café is that it is run by Pussies Galore Rescue, which means that all of the cats in the café are available for adoption! And I can tell you, by the end of the hour I was ready to take one home myself…
This was one of the first cats I became acquainted with, and they sure loved a good chin scratch! I came back over to see how they were doing later on in my visit and found them like this:
Despite the café being quite busy with people, this cat seemed perfectly content to zonk out!
There were tons of toys for the cats to interact with, including this giant wheel!
As you can see in the background, my friend and I were by far the only ones in the café at 11 am on Tuesday, though I think schools were currently on summer holiday, which may have contributed to the crowd. In addition to the large indoor section, there was also a small outdoor patio for cats and humans alike.
This gorgeous cat stole my chair when I wasn’t looking, but with a face like that, I couldn’t stay mad! After a few minutes interacting with the cats in the café, the barista brought in my flat white, which tasted great and made the whole experience that much more enjoyable.
By far my favorite kitty of the day was this gorgeous gal Maggie! I went over to say hello while she was resting in a chair, and when I was done she followed me back to my seat and made herself comfortable on this nearby cushion.
Comfortable, indeed! I was so delighted to hear just days after I visited the café that she was adopted by a retired teacher. Well, I’m delighted for her new family, but sad that I won’t be able to visit her again!
In addition to the option to adopt any one of the cuddle stars on staff, the Cat Cuddle Café stood out from the Japanese cafes I’ve visited in that you are much more free to pick up the cats, as long as you handle them gently and with respect. In general, Japanese cat cafés request that you do not pick up the cats at all!
Though I always enjoyed visiting Café Nyanny in Kobe, Cat Cuddle Café has already shot to the top of my favorite cat cafés due to the emphasis they place on adoption. For those of us who can’t adopt, it also offers a great way to get in some kitty cuddles in an inviting environment, so it’s win/win! If you’d like to support the Cat Cuddle Café’s efforts but don’t live in Brisbane, their website lists a number of ways to do so, and I highly recommend checking it out. I know I’ll be visiting again in the very near future!