After much anticipation and excitement Hobart Cat Cafe is ready to open for business in under a week! From the start of July you’ll be able to enjoy some fine food and beverages surrounded by even finer feline company. It’s a simple but brilliant concept first seen in Taiwan and then popularised in Japan before spreading around the globe and finally reaching Tasmania.
Like many I was incredibly curious about this new venture so tracked down co-owners Adam and Sarah who were kind enough to take time out to go into some detail. After speaking with them I can’t wait to go in and try!
What inspired the idea behind the Hobart Cat Cafe?
Hobart Cat Cafe came about as the result of a wine filled Winter evening about two years ago whilst watching cat videos on Youtube. Eventually, as they always do, the playlist featured a cat cafe and we realised we could totally do that! We didn’t realise how long it would take (we anticipated a late 2014 or early 2015 opening) or how windy the road would be but we did quickly establish too strong a following to back out!
What can people expect from a booking?
Bookings at the cat cafe involve a quick run through of the requirements to enter the cat room, such as no flash photography, no pulling tails and so on and a flash of some ID to match our visitors with their booking and then it’s a quick trip through the ‘cat lock’ into 45 minutes of kitty heaven!
Each session is limited to 10 visitors to ensure it’s not the human/cat equivalent of a sausagefest and lasts 45 minutes. Customers are more than welcome to take their food and beverages into the cat room and will have access to free wifi, a selection of books, board games and a range of kid friendly/distracting activities.
How’s the food and drink menu looking? What are the stand out dishes?
We’re passionate about cats and animals firstly but also love the idea of reintroducing quality Tasmanian products into a menu without the pretentious vibe that a lot of new cafes and restaurants have adopted. We’re featuring local companies such as Art of Tea, Villino coffee, Healthy Treats by Mrs Rees, RAW Dealer, Sush and a variety of other suppliers as well as using cruelty-free and free-range products whenever possible. We also have an extensive range of gluten-free, vegetarian/vegan and other dietary sensitive choices available. Reducing our menu down to what you’ll actually see when you come in it will be a fairly standard but high quality cafe menu with breakfasts, toasted sandwiches/paninis, pastas and risottos, antipasto and cheese platters, soups and so on, as well as the odd dinner for special events.
Who’s the team behind the cafe and what are their backgrounds?
As a team we’re a slightly mixed bunch but it welds together to make the perfect cat cafe! I’ve worked in hospitality for the last 16 years, as a barista for the last nine, and with a few years here and there working in wildlife conservation whilst Sarah has worked in community services before looking after our daughter Israel for the last seven. Our kitchen and waitstaff contingent consists of ‘locally sourced’ individuals who I have worked with during my time in Tasmania as well as some new hires we’ve come across.
What qualities make a great resident cat?
Our cats are individually selected through local animal welfare organisations such as RSPCA Tasmania, Rescue Cats Safe Haven and Small Paws Animal Rescue, who will also be helping us run a variety of responsible cat care and animal welfare classes. Each cat is screened to ensure he or she gets along with other cats as well as being comfortable with new groups of people moving through during cafe hours. The resulting furry staff members are the friendliest, snuggliest cats you’ll meet in Tasmania though of course being cats they may choose to ignore you entirely during your visit and sleep with their back to you in a corner!
Hobart Cat Cafe purrs onto the scene July 1st at 269 Elizabeth Street. Bookings are advised to spend time with the cats or there’s a separate area if you’re just after some great food and coffee.
Website (With bookings)