The owners of Catastrophe Cat Cafe in Needham Market, Suffolk, Laura Moyes and Gemma Whitehouse, say that they were forced to close because of a hate campaign. My research confirms this. The campaigners may have been well intended but I’m not sure whether it was fair. Mistakes were certainly made however. The café was opened with crowdfunding money.
Those against the café created a Facebook page called The Truth behind Catastrophe Cat Cafe. In addition a petition was started online against the cafe. Both had the objective of closing the café down. It may well be that the same person or persons were behind both campaigns.
These problems were compounded by failing to comply with food safety regulations. All in all the café closed in May of this year. The fact that the cats were allowed to roam freely is probably immaterial to the outcome. There is no mention that their presence constituted a hygiene problem.
However, with respect to health and safety, one of the cats, an elderly cat, died on the premises. His name was Jasper. The Facebook page of The Truth behind Catastrophe Cat Cafe tells us that Jasper was allowed to die at the café with no veterinary care, no medications and no pain relief. I am unable to confirm if that is true.
This group who are against the café were themselves, they claim, harassed and hounded by the café owners. It is claim that too many cats passed through the cafe during the 10 months that it was open indicating a failure to provide proper care.
“Even before opening, the local rescue community was alarmed by the actions of the owners. It was evident within a few days of opening that the café was not suitable for cats, the café owners had no idea what they were doing, & that they did not have the cats welfare at the heart of the business.” – The Truth behind Catastrophe Cat Cafe – Not: the owners say they had the cats’ welfare at heart.
Those who campaigned against the café said that they had received lots of reports from customers which convinced them that the café had to be closed. You can read about them on the Facebook page as you wish. In addition, the landlord of the building concerned was also harassed, apparently.
A Trip Advisor review of 15 September 2017 said that there was a very strong smell of cat litter in the café. The review also complained about the £5 charge per head on top of the charge for food and drink. They considered the amount exorbitant. In response the owners said that the money went into the care of the cats which was a good thing. As for the litter odour they said that they were investigating that and looking for a better litter. IN truth there was no satisfactory solution because the premises was too small.
I suspect that the cafe premises was too small and therefore it was impossible to avoid cat litter odours on the premises.
The story is an example of what can go wrong at the cat café. The kitchen was too small and the owners were unable to prepare food properly for the customers and within regulations.