Oh well. Do you know those places you put your faith in it, and at the same time, you still don’t know what to make of it? That was me about the Kitty Café – a new addition to Grand Central, in Birmingham.
I knew it would be hype, just for the fact we needed to book a table way before its opening on May 20th.
The truth is that I was intrigued as well. We know that big cities like Tokyo, Seoul, and London have cat cafes, but it was too good to be true to put Birmingham on this map as well.
Anyways, we booked our table for last weekend and the day of visiting the place has come, but…my first visit wasn’t like I expected.
But first things first. To the ones not familiar with the place, the Kitty Café Birmingham is an addition to the other two other ones already located in Nottingham and Leeds.
Their mission is bringing cats to full health and happiness and then re-homing the feline friends; which is a wonderful initiative indeed.
They keep the kittens for adoption, and you can have a look at the beauties that are waiting for a forever home.
You can understand more about the whole adoption procedure here. Not just the idea behind it, but the café itself is quite attractive. The colourful entrance and the merchandise available at the door were already telling us the brand is strong.
What I didn’t know is that there was a £6 fee to be paid “for the whole experience” before stepping inside the café itself.
Nobody told us that when we booked the table two months before. It was a surprise, really. I thought that we were already doing this when consuming something to drink or eat in the establishment.
After already using my debit card at the entrance, we also found out that we are just allowed to stay one hour inside the place. It’s understandable. Okay.
All things and fees agreed, we were invited to follow one smiling staff to our table.
The place was packed, as I imagined. They reserved a beautiful and colourful set of sofas for us. The décor is quite expressive, all cat-friendly, of course.
As one of our friends was a bit late, they also offered us “15 minutes” adding to our stay. What it was fair enough, considering that people can get stuck in traffic sometimes.
The place was spotless. It has to be to guarantee the safety of the cats. But you can see staff all around making sure everything is working smoothly.
I was excited to see the cats but also knew that time is precious there, so we asked for food and drinks first. It’s a good place to train some time management, by the way.
The staffs were again friendly and helpful, and also enquiring if we were already served.
The cats are adorable. But people visiting, not the best match. I’m afraid. There are some customers giving a bad name for the crazy cat ladies out there. Jesus. And I will tell you why in a minute.
At the first look, it sounds like Mexican style. But there are more than quesadillas, nachos to go for. They also serve pizzas, paninis, and jacket potatoes. The mocktails with names such as cat-titude and ca-tastrophy are also popular drinks.
Food sorted, it was out time to check the kittens. Most of them are chilling in one of the several bridges, cat posts, towels, and tunnels placed in the spacious café. Everything is done for their leisure. Fair enough.
You can track some of the cats around, but I did prefer to leave them chill or visit us when they wanted. After all, cats do what they want to do.
It doesn’t seem some people understand it. Some of the customers wanted to grab the kittens from the floor just to you know, have that selfie sorted.
That is when my concept about “crazy about cats” people were deconstructed. Some of them were annoying, to be fair. And as a cat owner, I know my cat’s limit.
Our drinks arrived, while we were observing the buzzing around. You can imagine that there are a lot of things going on in a place that offers food with cats. I have asked for an espresso while my friends went for the hipster mocktails.
No food served though. We were waiting for the food for a while. One of my friends asked for a single piece of cheesecake that took ages to be served. And we started to be worried about the time.
Something was telling me that maybe it’s not the best place to go for food. Maybe it was enough just asking for something to drink and stick with the cats if you want to enjoy the whole cat café experience.
But the real adventure started when quesadillas and wraps were delivered to our table. There is a huge food cage to protect the food, but the cats are faster than us. I am afraid.
As soon as it was placed on the table, the felines started to “visit us”.
They were in their element, looking for food and the smell of the pepperoni didn’t help at all. And in seconds, my friend’s wrap was on the floor grabbed by a tiny kitten’s paw. It was so fast that took me a while to understand what was happening.
I found the whole thing funny because that is the beauty of having cats around. They are cheeky! That’s what we like about them. However, they can’t eat that kind of food. So, we also did everything that was able to don’t let them eat it, and we managed it.
But one customer – the one that gives “crazy cat people a bad name”, remember? – that was at the table next to us didn’t agree with it.
She quickly invaded our space to clean the floor “properly”, moaning a bit and letting us know that “that was not acceptable”. The kind of attitude that may put people off when deciding to visit a place like this.
Funny to say she was the one “grabbing” the kitten from the floor to take that selfish selfie minutes before. Not good when one of the rules in this place is to “not pick the kittens up”.
Oh well, we didn’t eat the food. But it was time to leave anyway because there were a group of ladies around our table that now was their table for the next hour.
Overall thoughts on it: Not for me, sorry. I like the idea of helping vulnerable cats that need a forever home. But there is too much happening all the time, food, selfies, time-limited, fees at the entrance.
They will need to find a balance to things work properly. It looks like the staffs have a lot to do and manage. They try hard and they are quite friendly. And again, the cats are brilliant. But some people that visit it may be a bit rude. Prepare yourself to be judged by strangers in case you drop the salad on the floor.