Tuesday, 17 May 2016

The cat in the window cafe (Aberdeen): Here kitty kitty

An afternoon spent with some furry friends is an afternoon well spent. When you love animals as much as I do, the thought of spending some quality time with the cutest cats in town really does sound right up my street. So when my boyfriend invited me to check out Aberdeen's first cat cafe with his friends, I couldn't resist tagging along to see what all the fuss was about.
The first recommendation I'm going to make before I continue is book in advance, especially if there's a big group of you and your looking to visit the cafe at peak times - Saturday's and Sunday's are insane. With limited spaces available you want to ensure you've secured a spot before rocking up - and yes, before you ask, we'd booked in advance. Thank God.

Arriving five minutes, ahead of our booked time slot, we were greeted by the lovely owner, Heather Lynch, who is clearly very passionate about the cat's wellbeing, ensuring they, as well as the guests, are well looked after throughout the experience.

In total there are eight cats who reside at the cafe, four of which decided to show face and come out to play whilst we were there. Graced by the gorgeous Napoleon, a fluffy male chinchilla Persian, Theodore, an adorable cream tabby male Scottish fold, Pancake, a beautiful female silver tabby exotic shorthair, and Boo, a black male moggy who slept the whole time on a cosy rug. Our feline friends were a little quieter than originally anticipated, however, it was 5pm on a Sunday, and quite frankly, I'm usually slouched on the sofa catching up on the latest reality TV show I've missed the previous week - touché.

If you're looking for some thrilling play time with the cats then it is recommended that guests visit the cafe first thing in the morning. Later on in the afternoon they tend to be a little more mellow, and much more relaxed - hence we got the cold shoulder from the other four cats who decided to hide away in their separate relaxing space throughout our visit. I don't think I know anyone else who would be allowed to sleep on the job, trust me,  a late afternoon nap would be greatly welcomed in the working work, however, I'll just have to leave the napping to the cats.

Although the cats were more lethargic in the afternoon, Napoleon, Theodore and Pancake were very much up for keeping us all amused throughout the hour we had with them.
I'm not usually a but person, but...I'm going to be the bearer of a wee bit of not so positive news...I wasn't too impressed with the cakes at The Cat in the Window Cafe. I know, it breaks my heart to say it, however being the monstrous foodie I am, getting the food and drink element of an establishment is a must for me. I don't know if it was because we visited the cafe nearer the time of its initial opening, or if it was because we had visited later on in the day, but the cakes my boyfriends pals allowed me to try weren't that great. It's possible that since my visit they've made a few changes to the bakes and brought their cake game back, but sadly the cakes really weren't up to scratch in my opinion, and I had to pass on the offer of a second taster - heartbreaking.

However, that said, and on a more positive note, the coffee and tea's we were offered were great, and I thoroughly enjoyed my hot chocolate too. All of the drinks at the cafe come equipped with a cat protector - a drinks topper to all you individuals who are unfamiliar with the cat cafe concept. I was really pleased about this as it ensured I could relax knowing no foreign mouths were going to be sneaking a taste of my drink. 
The interiors were gorgeous and on arrival I instantly felt relaxed in the modern, chic cafe. With accents of neutral colours throughout, fluffy rugs and pillows, bean bags to lounge on and natural wooden tones throughout, I could have easily fallen asleep in this haven of pure relaxation.

The cafe was very clean and on arrival, you are immediately asked to take off your shoes at the front door, so having a pair of socks in your bag is a definite! The design of the cafe is open plan, however, the area (main cafe) where the cats stay and the guests interact with them is strictly locked once guests are inside, ensuring the cats are kept safe in a controlled, relaxed environment. Staff lock guests into the room and prepare the coffee's and cakes in the separate entrance room. Staff are always on hand to take orders and answer any questions, and also interact with the cats to encourage them to approach the guests. There is a quiet room for the cats where they can escape to eat and drink, and get away from the main cafe if they choose, which is great as it means they can interact with guests at their own leisure.

Overall my experience at The Cat in the Window Cafe was pleasant and very much filled with joy - happy endorphins and all that. The cats are all very well looked after and the owner seems perfectly polite and educated on how to care for the cats, which I enjoy a lot. I would definitely recommend heading along to the cafe, especially if you've never experienced the concept before. I hear they are now offering milkshakes too so it sounds like a second visit will be needed very soon!

Due to only four cats coming out to play, Heather offered everyone in our session a 50% discount which was very generous of her and was totally unnecessary - a good way to do business in my eyes and very much appreciated by all guests.

My five top tips on how to survive your first cat cafe experience:

1. Be prepared to be rejected...if you can't handle the cat's not wanting to play with you then it's maybe best you don't go...they can be heartbreakers after all, but are total sweethearts when they do come play.
2. Purchase a hot chocolate. With all the excitement of kitty's roaming around half way through your visit you may need to invest in a sugar rush, and what better way than to replenish with a hot chocolate!? Especially when they come fully equipped with a cute cup topper!
3. Warning, cats do bite and scratch and are animals that like their own space. Don't get needy and don't get upset with them. You wouldn't get sassy with someone else visiting your home so don't be a diva in theirs.
4. Understand that you can't take them home. I know they are gorgeous and oh-so-fluffy, but you can't take them home as much as you'd love to. And yes, before you ask...they will be able to see the wriggling fluff ball in your bag..if you want to return, it's not a good idea.
5. Have fun. Even if you dislike cats you're bound to have fun watching these wee cuties roam around having a ball!

  For Now...

Just Julia


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