I’m not a cat person. And here are the sure-fire symptoms. I’m not the one walking down the street like the pied piper having cats follow me.
When I walk up to cats and say hello they don’t say hello back. Quite the opposite.
So it was with some reluctance that I let myself be talked into going to the Cat Cafe Melbourne. At that time, I thought it would be nice for my son to see something different about Melbourne. I didn’t think it would turn out for me at all.
The Cat Cafe. The name says it all : a place for coffee and a place where cats roam free.
We called ahead and booked for the late evening just for an hour.
We appeared at the appointed time.
Downstairs the Cat Cafe looks like a combined pet shop and cafe.
We went down the back and announced ourselves. I paid the money. Then we had to read the rules. Having had cats as pets before there were almost no surprises. Except for the ban on flash photography. I knew that. Having had cats I knew that no cat put up its paw when you went searching for them with a torch.
At the appointed hour a group of us were ushered upstairs to meet the cats. As it was late evening it was almost closing time for the resident cats. Surprisingly for a bunch of sleepy felines, there were no prima donna antics from them at all. They were serenity itself.
I didn’t go near them. Remember I’m not a cat person. My son showed no hesitation at all. Straight away he went over to the first cat. he introduced himself. He patted her head.
Only much later I realised we both had the same gap in cat years. When I moved and then he and the rest of the family moved out one cat was let behind. There’s been no cat since.
Watching him with these cats brings to mind my recent cat encounter. There’s a cat who lives round the corner. A friendly one. When I walk past he goes out of his way to say hello. He would jump up on the fence and say hello. A quick pat and I was on my way.
When I remembered him, it all came flooding back.
I still didn’t think I was a cat person.But as was said to me, it depends on the cat.
And the ones at the Cat Cafe reminded me of my favourites.
First was Benny who was a little kitten when we got him. I would pick him up and he would literally twirl himself around my arm like silk. Not long after that he would start purring. He was friendly and affectionate and quite personable. His favourite party trick was letting himself in to the house by opening the screen door. He would climb the door, jump onto the handle and pull it down. The door would swing out and open. He jumped to the ground and sidled in as if it was perfectly normal. Sadly one day he disappeared. He was either catnapped being too friendly or worse.
But the original family cat was Whisky. She was a beautiful tortoiseshell cat. She who was born under the house we were living at the time. She was the only one of the litter who was kept. I don’t know what happened. As a child I came home and we went from four cats to one.
In time, she became the family cat and lived a long and affectionate life. She also was the only animal that seemed to like me. She would sleep on my bed of a night. She would come into my room and soften up my blankets by pushing her paws down. Sometimes she would get her claws out push down too hard and wake me up.
Remembering all that. I reached out to the cats. Nearly all were sleepy or fast asleep. A gentle touch was all that was required. To see a cat stir slightly before falling asleep after relaxing at your touch was quite therapeutic.
I wandered around the different rooms. Most of the cats were asleep and one had curled up in the top of a cat tree and couldn’t be easily found. I peeked in on him, smiled and marvelled to myself at his cleverness. Then I left him undisturbed.
I went into the last room. A cat was in a basket half deciding whether to go to sleep or to watch the fish on the TV screen. I sat with him and watched him peacefully drift off to sleep.
An hour had passed seeming like a few minutes. I think I might just be a cat person after all. But as said to me, I think it still depends on the cats.