It’s been a long time coming, but the Kitty Cafe finally opens its doors on Monday 11th December 2017 – and you can book a spot now!
Gosh, doesn’t time fly? It feels like just yesterday we were telling you that the Kitty Cafe had finally announced an opening date. But here we are, two months later, ready to spill the beans on their new Leeds venue which opens next week. It’s one of the most hotly anticipated openings of the year, and we’ve got all the details, so make yourself a cuppa and get to ready to hear about the city’s latest opening.
The Kitty Cafe is part-rescue centre and part-cafe, or in the words of founder, Katy Charles-Richards, ‘it’s a business with heart’. They take on cats from the local community that people can’t care for anymore, including full litters of kittens, as well as helping to take overflow from local rescue centres – and they have a fully operational adoption service. So if you’re looking to adopt a cat yourself, you can come along, get a little taster and get the ball rolling. Don’t worry, it’s all above board, they do home checks and none of their animals leave until they’ve been neutered, injected, micro-chipped and had a full veterinary check.
Katy started the Kitty Cafe with her husband. He’s always worked in the animal rescue business, while her own background was in child protection, but when they had kids, they wanted a new project that they could work on together. Katy took her inspiration from the cat cafes in Tokyo and decided that they could make it work here in the UK. They opened their first cafe in Nottingham and it was a raging success – Leeds will be their second and it was the obvious choice.
“We spent a lot of time researching different cities and different buildings,” Katy explained. “But when I came to Leeds I was just amazed at how beautiful and how lovely the city centre was, it is a very lovely city, the people of Leeds were so friendly and chatty, and I just thought it would be a fantastic place to open our second venture, which is going to be our showcase for franchising across the UK.”
They’re opening on Kirkgate, the city’s oldest street, but they’ve found a spot right at the top, just behind Debenhams, so they really are right in the heart of the city. You’ll be able to do your shopping and then stop for an hour to grab a bite to eat, while you play with the cats – that’s how it works you see. You book an hour-long slot, which will cost £6 for adults and £4 for kids, or you can become a member for £72 a year, which will get you in for free, although you’ll still need to book a slot. And because your money goes towards their work rehabilitating and rehoming cats, it comes with added feel good.
Once inside, you can sit anywhere. In fact, they encourage you to move around and meet as many cats as you can. The cafe has been designed to be comfortable for you, but also for the cats, so its got lots of nooks and crannies for them to hide in. They’ve got big colourful Chesterfield sofas and a quirky living room vibe, with lots of open spaces – but the highlight is the cat playground. It’s been custom-built for the cafe and it’ll provide a lot of the entertainment while you’re there, as kitties explore their surroundings between meeting their new guests.
They’ve already found most of the cats that you’ll be meeting at the Kitty Cafe – and they’re coming from a variety of places. They’re bringing a few over from their Nottingham cafe, simply because they’ll be a good influence on the others. Moo Moo is one of them, she’s beautiful 5-year-old ginger cat, a seasoned pro you might say – look out for her while you’re there. She’ll be joined by an entire litter of kittens, who you’ll soon be able to help name, as well as a mix of rescue cats and kitties from the local community who needed to be urgently rehomed.
But it’s not just about the cats – this is a cafe too. The kitchen is completely separate from the kitty area, so the cats can’t get in there and they have a 5 star hygiene rating at their Nottingham cafe, which they plan to replicate here in Leeds. And just because the cats are the main attraction, doesn’t mean they’re going to shortchange you on the food – in fact, what they specialise in here, is taking ordinary dishes to the next level.
And by that, we mean they do a mean baked potato. Sure, you can top it with cheese and baked beans, but they actually offer 21 different toppings, so you can turn it into something a lot more exciting. Fancy sautéed mushrooms, olives and mozzarella? You got it. Want pepperoni, red onion and peppers? No problem. The pizza, pasta, paninis, salads and sandwiches are equally flexible, so you can make your DIY lunch.
And if you don’t want a full meal, there are cakes (so many cakes). You could get the Rocky Road, a chocolate sponge topped with cherry pulp, marshmallows and chocolate fudge, or go with something a little more traditional like a slice of Carrot Cake, loaded with sultanas and walnut pieces then topped with creamy frosting.
The drinks are a just as diverse. “We offer a huge range of high-quality loose teas, so there are actually 100 different flavours,” Kay told us. “I have tried them all, it was quite a mission – I was jittery for a long time afterwards! I don’t like rhubarb tea, but I was determined to try everything. We’ve got various different coffees too, and all our staff are barista trained by our Italian kitchen manager in Nottingham.”
They also have their own range of Kitty Mocktails. You can have Catty McCat Face, a mix of lemon and blue curaçao sours, whipped up with cherry and pineapple juice. Or why not sample the Cat-astrophy? This bubblegum flavoured mocktail brings together strawberry, lemon and apple juice.
Kitty Cafe is guaranteed to be a roaring success. It’s had cat-lovers in a tizz since it was first announced and slots are going fast, so if you want to be one of the first to meet their feline friends when they open next week, you’ll have to be quick.
Kitty Cafe, 8-9 Kirkgate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6BZ.