Cat cafes paw for dominance

Amanda Hoh
Hollie Torrington with an 8-week old kitten in Sydney.
Hollie Torrington with an 8-week old kitten in Sydney. Photo: Peter Rae

"Good meowning everyone! Welcome to the cat cafe."

With black furry ears perched on her head, wearing a sweater with a tabby printed on the front and sporting a polka dot apron, there's no mistaking which animal is Veronica Morland's favourite as she greets her customers with the first of her many cat puns.

"So that you can have a pawsome time, we have some house rules to avoid any cat...asrophes," she says.

Self-proclaimed 'crazy cat lady', Veronica Morland, is setting up a pop-up cat cafe in Paddington  to launch a campaign ...
Self-proclaimed 'crazy cat lady', Veronica Morland, is setting up a pop-up cat cafe in Paddington to launch a campaign to raise money for a permanent Sydney cat cafe. Photo: Peter Rae

Ms Morland, 26, founder of Sydney's first pop-up cat cafe in Paddington's William St Gallery this weekend is a self-proclaimed "crazy cat lady".

Having experienced the difficulties of owning a cat while working full-time as a commercial lawyer and renting homes that prohibits pets, Ms Morland launched the four-day temporary cafe on Thursday.

"It's a place for people who want to to own a pet but can't, come and spend time with these beautiful animals," she said.

"I think the business is really going to take off and there might be a transition to full-time crazy cat lady in the works."

For five dollars each, groups of 15 people in half hour sessions can order takeaway coffees, relax and play with kittens ranging from ages eight to 12 weeks old, donated by animal welfare charity Maggie's Rescue.

Ms Morland hopes the Sydney Cat Cafe will kickstart her campaign to raise $15,000 to assist in the opening of a permanent business in September.

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But she will have some furry competition. The honours of being Sydney's first cat cafe went to the Chatswood Cat Palace in March when it added Cafe Purrfection to their grooming and boarding clinic, while the much anticipated space-themed cat cafe Catmosphere, is set to open in Surry Hills on July 24.

"I assure you there will be no cat fights, we're on very diplomatic terms with the catsronauts" Ms Morland said.

Catmosphere co-founder Thomas Derricott agrees and says there is no rivalry between the upcoming cat cafes who all operate through a "feline of love".

"Sydneysiders are crazy for cats," said Mr Derricott, who is holding an adopt-a-cat day at the Foveaux St cafe next Saturday.

"I think there's room for more cat cafes in Sydney."

Mr Derricott was inspired to open Catmosphere after visiting the original cafe in Thailand. However, while the Chiang Mai branch is a "scene of anarchy" with furry creatures roaming around the room as patrons drink and eat, Mr Derricott said stringent council regulations mean cats will be kept in separate food-free rooms, patrons will have to pass through airlock doors and animal charities ensured the business install furniture suitable for cat welfare.

The preparations though will be worth it, according to Mr Derricott.

"I think for a long time dogs have enjoyed the spotlight simply because they're flamboyant and energetic," he said.

"Cats are a lot more subtle. You really need to work for their attention however thanks to our friends on the internet a spotlight has been shone on cats and cat interest has skyrocketed."