When I heard from colleagues about the first cat cafe to be opened in Edinburgh, I was excited. I was under the impression that it was a way for cat owners to bring their furbies to cafes to meet other cats and socialise. Boy, was I wrong.
Any experienced cat owner would know that it takes time for cats to familiarise themselves with others, although some seem to get on well with others, Nala’s learned from Tigger to be cautious around new cats. On reading articles about Maison de Moggy, I was interested and curious to know how it would all work. Owner Laura O’Neill brought the idea back from her holidays in Japan and since it’s grand opening day on 18th January, the cafe has proved to be a huge hit with local residents.
I confess I’m not much into different breeds of cats, I’m still quite partial to bengals, but the OH’s mum wanted to visit so we decided to go and have a look. Tucked away on Hamilton Place amongst other shops in Stockbridge, the hustle and bustle of the market did not affect the quiet solitude of the cafe where the cats were happily strolling around the cafe.
Visitors are to arrive 15 minutes before the scheduled hour-slot (this can be booked online for an hour on the hour). On arriving, you need to ring the bell to alert one of the staff and you’re let in as small groups as the entry is not that big. The member of staff will give you a brief rundown of house rules before you’re let through the cat-proof fence-like gate to remove your shoes (or use their shoe covers if you prefer not to remove them) and coat. After a quick read through of their visitor etiquette and a squirt of their antibacterial foam, you’re welcomed into the kitty nursery.
It’s clear from the popularity of cat cafes in Japan that it is starting to take off in Europe and the US. Research has been conducted to show that socialising with pets can help relieve stress and increases hormones related to feelings of happiness.
There are 2 areas visitors can enter: the main cafe area and through the ‘fence’ where the kitchen is and down the stairs, you can visit the ‘Kitty Room’, a quiet darkened room for the cats to enjoy quiet away from the busy cafe area if it gets to be too much.
The cats are all quite happy to socialise and play with each other as well as the visitors. The kittens have all been socialised together to ensure they get on well before they were introduced to the new environment of the cafe. It’s most evident to the OH, his mum and I that the cats were quite happy to let you stroke, play and cuddle with them when Tigger and Nala are used to running away from you when they are too distracted with playing for human socialising time!
All the kittens are still quite young, Jacque, a Norwegian Forest, at 2 years of age is the eldest of the group of 10.
Marcel, Spotted Bengal
Phillippe, Marbled Bengal
Guillaume, Chinchilla Persian
Pauline, the polydactyl Maine Coon sweetheart
Coco, British Shorthair
Amelie, Alain’s Ragdoll sister
Local suppliers for tea and coffee are also available
We were there for an hour and felt that was a suitable length of time to spend at the cafe. We had plenty of time to sit with Alain and Amelie in the quiet room (while trying run quickly out of the room without them running out. Boy do kittens run fast!) and meeting the others in the main cafe area. The three of us were quite biased mainly because we love the markings and temperament of the bengal, but Pauline andd Guillaume were also favourites of mine…To be honest, I think it’s because I spent a quite a bit of time photographing and stroking them, but they’re all really well mannered (apart from trying to steal visitor’s cakes!) and well behaved.
I would definitely think about going back some time with other friends!
Maison de Moggy is currently a pop up cafe and can be found at 26 Hamilton Place in Stockbridge. The cafe will be available for the next few months at this location until they can source a more permanent location.
Have you been to Maison de Moggy? Have you maybe visited another cat cafe somewhere else? What do you think of these cafes?