Following my last post in support of the proposed London cat cafe, Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium, it’s been brought to my attention that other animal rescue organisations were approached with a view to rehoming cats to the cafe, and that these organisations have declined due to concerns over animal welfare.
My support for Lauren Pears’ proposed cat cafe is based entirely on the fact that Lauren is intending to ‘staff’ the cafe with rescue cats, and that she plans to have the on-going involvement of The Mayhew Animal Home. I feel that if Lauren doesn’t open a cat cafe someone else will – it is after all a potentially lucrative business venture – and that another entrepreneur may well choose to ‘staff’ the cafe with pedigree breeds, chosen for aesthetic reasons, rather than selecting cats on the basis of personalities which are be able to cope with a busy cafe environment. Cat cafes who choose not to rehome rescue cats are also less likely to have their welfare policies and health care plans overseen by an animal welfare charity.
That’s what I think, but am I right? As I’ve already mentioned, other animal welfare organisations have not come out in support of the cat cafe; in fact some are appalled by the idea. These organisations have real concerns about the welfare of the cats who will be living in the cafe, and feel that even the most friendly of cats will be put under stress by the attentions of a constant and ever-changing stream of people 6 days a week. It’s also felt that introducing a large group of cats to each other, and then asking them to share what will be a relatively small territory, will cause additional stress problems: a pecking order will always develop amongst any group of cats, with those lower down the heirachy often severely bullied by the top cats. Finally, it’s thought that despite the fact that the cafe will be adopting rescue cats, it won’t actually be playing a very important rescue role: the sort of super-friendly, laid-back moggies that the cafe requires are really easy to rehome as family pets, and generally spend very little time waiting in rescue centres anyway.
I should also point out that many cat rescue charities welcome the assistance of volunteers to socialise their cats. Socialising provides a vital role in reducing stress levels for cats waiting for new homes, and also helps more timid cats to gain confidence and so become easier to rehome. So if you are unable to keep a cat of your own, but would still like a nice cat cuddle, why not volunteer at your local rescue centre? You’ll even get a cuppa thrown in for free!
Right, now you’ve heard both sides of the argument: what do you think?