Plans to open cinema where guests can enjoy a film while cuddling a cat

Lap cats in cinema for therapy
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Photo (annotated by Michael): Leo Hidalgo

This seems to be a variation on the cat café. It certainly seems to have been inspired by the cat café but it is not going to work. The idea is that people can go to the cinema and watch a film with a cat on their lap which they can pet etc..

This is the brainchild of Paula Siedlecka, 25, and William Piper, 24, who say it will provide therapy to people suffering from mental health problems, serious illness or learning difficulties.

This is pie in the sky as far as I am concerned but I don’t wish to pour scorn on the idea (but I am!). I just want to be realistic. Or am I being too negative and cynical?

There are several issues from the outset. The first is that you have to select rescue cats who are dedicated lap cats and of course highly socialised. Not all cats are lap cats. Even then they are asking cats to go onto the lap of a stranger, in the dark, and stay there for quite a long time. This I find very unlikely to happen.

Useful links
Anxiety - reduce it
FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
Children and cats - important

Also, as mentioned, it will be dark in the cinema. We can’t expect cats to be in the dark all the time. That would be cruel. Further, as it is dark in a cinema, it would stimulate the cat’s desire to hunt as cats are crepuscular. They hunt in the dark and at dusk and dawn. A hunting cat is not going to want to sit on someone’s lap but it will keep the mice population down and rats away. Great.

If a cinemagoer wanted to find a cat to place on their lap, how are they doing to do it in the dark? Perhaps they’ll have a room off the auditorium where the cats are and visitors can carry a cat back to their seat and place the cat on their lap. This won’t work. Cats don’t like to be ‘told what to do’. We all know that even people who don’t care for a cat. Cats are independent-minded creatures. That’s one of their attractions.

Also cinemas have no windows. Even if the cats are kept in another room it is likely to be windowless. This is unacceptable from a cat welfare point of view.

Finally, if cats are wandering around a cinema in the dark you are liable to trip over one and break your neck.

Source: London Evening Standard.

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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3 Responses

  1. Sandra Murphey, No. CA, USA says:

    I agree with all you said, and think it’s an irrational, not well thought out idea. There’s got to be a more sane way to provide cat cuddling and therapy. I volunteered as a “cat cuddler” in our local shelter, during the time I was suffering from depression. It was very therapeutic, and I highly recommend it.

  2. Honestly Michael.I feel this scheme of watching a film with a lap cat won’t work in a theatre. Its common for cats to watch the “T.V” in the house along with the family members as do my cats and seems some entrepreneur is trying to replicate the same in a large theatre.The cats or cats would panic in the dark and in the presence of strangers creating chaos.This is my personal opinion and hope i am wrong.

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