A few weeks ago a friend tagged me on Facebook in a news article about a new cat cafe opening in Stratford upon Avon. Cat cafes are very popular in Japan and they’re slowly making their way over here. Until now the nearest one I knew of is in London, in fact, this one claims to be the only cat cafe in the Midlands. Obviously I had to book it tout suite and today was the day.
The cafe is called Shakespaw Cat Cafe. Get it? It’s in Stratford, birthplace of Shakespeare, cats have paws. Couldn’t really be called anything else could it?
The cafe has a double door to stop the cats escaping on to the street (much like our house has for the same reason) and you have to ring a bell to get let in. Once inside, the cafe is super cute. The tablecloths are Cath Kidston style made from oilcloth and the chairs are all mismatched but eclectic. There are multiple shelves around for the cats to lounge on and several cat beds and toys dotted around.
We were seated upstairs but told to feel free to roam around and go downstairs to where there were more cats, and were given menus to choose our food. There’s a cover charge of £5 per person to make your reservation and anything you order from the menu is charged on top of that. There’s no obligation to order anything other than a drink if you don’t want to so it doesn’t have to be an expensive outing.
Note the cat themed drink names like catte and cat white. He he! Ordinarily I’d take any opportunity to enjoy an afternoon tea, but given the amount of food we’ve eaten over Christmas we decided to go for a sandwich and soft drink each. That’s not to say that I didn’t indulge in a cake for dessert.
The food preparation area is strictly cat free for obvious reasons.
There are various rules to comply by for the safety and welfare of the cats. They are pointed out on entry to the cafe and are also displayed by the food prep area.
Finally, on to the stars of the show, the beautiful cats. There was a tiny eleven week old black and white kitten, two pure white sisters, a mackerel tabby called Viola, a squishy faced and very vocal Persian (I think) and a beautiful ragdoll. I got photos of most of them.
When our hour and a half allotted time was up we settled up our bill and waved farewell to the fluffy felines. What a lovely way to while away a lunchtime.
The cafe’s in the centre of Stratford, so within a couple of minutes we were back by the river, the banks of which were buzzing with people. The Christmas break and relatively mild weather must’ve brought the crowds out for a bit of fresh air and exercise. I had to snap a couple of pics as we wandered across the bridge to our next destination. Stratford is so pretty. We vowed to go back in the summer and go on a boat trip and eat an ice cream and meander along that river in the sun – doesn’t that just sound dreamy?
What was our next destination, you ask?
I have to admit, much as I love butterflies (who doesn’t, right?) part of the draw of visiting the butterfly farm was the promise of 25°, tropical conditions. I miss the summer! I miss daylight and I’m fed up of walking round in a SAD induced fog. Anyway, let’s not dwell on that. Butterflies!
Nature’s pretty clever. See what looks for all the world like a leaf at the bottom of the black bananas? It’s actually a cleverly camouflaged butterfly.
See its little legs?
The brown one sitting on the orange. Pretty stunning eh? Wait till it opens its wings.
The butterfly farm doesn’t only have butterflies. There are moths, ants, iguanas, beetles, tarantulas, snakes and, oh look …..
The lesser spotted hooded human!