A small number of cat cafés have started to pop up across the UK, following a craze that originated in Taiwan.
A cat café is a café that sells the usual assortment of beverages and snacks, but with a resident population of cats to interact with and be stroked by the customers.
With a cat café now due to open imminently in Bristol, and as Bristol’s largest animal welfare charity, we want to share our concerns about the welfare of the cats involved. We have joined up with the National RSPCA and Cats Protection to provide the following statement:
The RSPCA and cat charity Cats Protection are opposed to cat cafes on the grounds of feline welfare.
We are concerned about the welfare implications of having a number of cats in a limited space with groups of people unknown to them coming and going throughout the day. We believe this kind of environment is not suitable for domestic cats because they have evolved as solitary animals and generally do not choose to live in social groups - unlike dogs which are a social species.
It is very likely that some or all of the cats involved will become stressed as a result of being in a confined space with other cats and a continually changing group of people. Furthermore, if the intention is to home cats from the café, this would create a 'rolling' population of rescue cats – the introduction of new cats into the group could create even more stress and further compromise feline welfare. Rescue cats need as stable an environment as possible to reduce the possibility of stress-related behaviours and infectious diseases such as over-grooming, urine spraying and cat ’flu.
Multi-cat households: Keeping the peace
For further information about the stress which domestic cats can experience when living in groups, including in family homes, please see our latest newsletter where we have put together a helpful article with useful information and top tips to help multi-cat households care for their feline friends, see pages 12 - 13 of our Winter Newsletter here: