A new café has hit Bournemouth’s high street in the last week but it has a ‘therapeutic’ twist – it’s home to seven rescue cats.
Pause Cat Café launched on the World Cat Day – celebrated on February 17th in Europe – and has already proved a hit with Bournemouth’s locals as customers have been piling through their front door.
Speaking to owner Jaya Da Costa, she said: “For us, it’s an opportunity to give a home to 12 rescue cats, we’ve got seven at the moment and they’ve all come from different backgrounds and we just really love the fact they have a loving home where they can get the attention they want and need”.
She went on to reveal some of the inspiration behind Pause – behind the name and the ethos.
“I have my own rescue cat who I’ve had for six years and he has given me a lot of healing and I’ve given him a lot of healing, he was a very traumatised cat, I was going through a very difficult time and so that mutually beneficial relationship I noticed was really good and I wanted to share that with other people.
“I also happened to walk past a cat in a window in Milan and I noticed it was a cat café and I went inside and it was the happiest experience of my life and I had to share it with people here
“We’re trying to make this place really calm, really inviting, really therapeutic and so we want people to come back. It’s called ‘Pause’ because we want people to chill, take a minute and just reconnect”.
Pause cat café was launched on the back of a £25k crowdsourcing project, which has helped to refurbish an old estate agents into the feline paradise it is today complete with the double door entrance, the cat bedroom and all the cat must-haves: anything they can sleep on, scratch, crawl on or chase.
The money also ensures they have full-time, expert veterinary attention so they are well looked after at all times as their welfare is Jaya’s top priority.
In addition to this, the café also promotes a healthy range of food and drink options from a locally sourced, sustainable, vegetarian and vegan menu.
“I think people really like it here. There’s some people who were expecting a bit more of a circus experience so they want the cats to perform and they want more cats but that’s not really what we’re about here,” says Jaya. “We’re a rescue home for our cats, they come first. If they want to be in their private bedrooms relaxing, they can, if they want to be asleep, they can. So, cats first customers second unfortunately.”
And with their new home on Old Christchurch Road open to the public cat lovers, the cats seem to be settling in well and lapping up all the extra fuss and attention:
“Some of the cats have been here a month and adjusted really well. They love all the attention – in fact when we have Mondays off, they just drive me mad because they really want love and cuddles and playing all the time which is great, but I also have other things to do and seven cats all wanting attention at once does get in the way of that a little bit.
“There’s three that arrived two weeks ago and they’ve just started to get into it, they’re enjoying all the play equipment and one that arrived last week and she’s just a little bit nervous but she has come out to see the customers.”
Looking to the future, she said: “We would really like to do a lot more charity work, we’re already working with a lot of charities, we have lots of people with disabilities coming here, lots of isolated elderly people, we also have volunteers who are recovering from alcohol and other conditions and mental health problems so we want to do a lot more of that.
“We’re offering counselling, yoga, mindfulness workshops, even knitting classes for the cats which could be quite fun with yarn and the cats playing with it – that remains to be seen. We’re also doing singles nights.”
Pause works on a pay-per-hour booking schedule, so head online to their website and reserve your table if you don’t want to miss out on a coffee date with Clifford, Petrus and co.
Alternatively, you can also make donations or sponsor a cat, or even apply to be part of the growing team with both volunteer and paid positions available.
As for the big question, is Jaya a cat person?
“Actually I’m a dog person! But I’m a real animal lover of every type, cats are amazing, all animals are amazing”.
Jaya speaks to Buzz below too: