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Cat-ppuccino? Café where moggies will get a warm welcome

Java Whiskers, in Fitzrovia, plans to ‘entice cat lovers with a winning formula of food and feline therapy’

14 March, 2020 — By The Xtra Diary

Up to nine cats at a time are fostered at the café until new homes can be found

AS any user of social media knows, there’s nothing like a picture of a kitty-cat to cheer you up. And, in these troubling times, Diary is happy to offer you a couple.

They are courtesy of a new cat café, set to open in Fitzrovia, where you can stroke real live Moggies over a cuppa.

Called Java Whiskers, it opens its doors in April and is the third such feline eaterie to open in London.

Owners of the cafe, in Great Portland Street, say they plan to “entice cat lovers with a winning formula of food and feline therapy”.

The idea springs from the cat-worshipping minds of three Swedish friends – Jon Bäcklund, Tobias Larsson and Joakim Wessman.

They launched their first branch in their home country last year and now are spreading the feline love to London.

The trio are not averse to odd acts of entrepre­neurship and are also behind Sweden’s first trampoline park, called Yoump.

Tobias told Diary: “We wanted to find a business that is doing something good. We want to create a great environment for both cats and humans that is calm and comfortable but also very healing.

“The café has two primary objectives: to improve the mental health and well­being of its visitors and to reduce the rate of cat homeless­ness.”

He added: “We are very happy and proud of the difference we have made for homeless cats in Sweden and also how much our visitors love our concept so we are super excited to be opening in the UK now.”

Java Whiskers have worked out a deal with The Scratching Post Cat Rescue shelter, in Waltham Abbey, whereby they take in for fostering nine kitties at any one time, until suitable new homes can be found among its customers. The purpose-built cattery has been a labour of love for Susan Delaney for 15 years.

Susan said she saw this as a new opportunity to help tackle the growing number of unwanted cats.

She added: “I thought it a fantastic idea. It is the first time we will have worked with a cat café.

“We felt it was such a wonderful opportunity to move the charity forward by rehoming to people who will see the cats’ personalities and fall in love. This will help us rescue more cats. There is an ever-growing population of unwanted cats in and around London.”

And the interior of the café has been designed as an adventure playground for our furry friends. It includes elevated shelves and walkways, and plenty of quiet spaces for the animals to chill out in and take their required cat naps.

Guests will have to agree to a number of cat-friendly rules. You have to be over 12 to get in and it’s a strictly shoes-off kind of place.

Other guidelines include: no running, keeping the noise down (no barking, no doubt) and no picking up the resident kitties. You can’t feed them or wake them up. They also have the run of a basement area which no diner can access.

• The Scratching Post can be contacted at: www.scratchingpost.co.uk and Java Whiskers at www.javawhiskers.co.uk

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