A new charity-run cat café is opening in Wirral
4 weeks ago
A new cat café is coming to Wirral, giving cat lovers a chance to spend time with the residents and maybe offer a home to their rescue friends.
Jackson’s Rescue Cat Café is opening on Market Street in Hoylake, raising much-needed funds for two centres run by Jackson’s Animal Rescue charity.
Between 10 and 15 cats will be free to roam around three floors including the upper one which has been specially converted into a big play and chill area exclusively for them.
Café sessions will last either one or three hours so everyone will be able to enjoy plenty of cat time.
And, although the live-in cats won’t be up for adoption straight away to give them chance to settle in and bond, they will be doing their best to help their furry pals at Jackson’s in Mold to find a forever home.
The new cat café is scheduled to have a staggered opening, with reduced capacity, from mid-March and founder of the charity Steph Oliver says they’ve already had lots of bookings from keen cat people.
She explains: “We have a wildlife rescue in Wirral, at Larton Liveries in Frankby, that is predominantly for hedgehogs and baby wild rabbits in the summer. At the moment there are 150 hedgehogs in our care who’ve all been poorly or injured and are waiting for good weather to be released. We’ve also got our domestic animal rescue just over the Wlesh border in Mold and that is always at capacity as well.
“Last year we had to do some quite urgent appeals because we were honestly thinking we might to have to close one of our centres. We’re only eight years old which is quite young for a charity and our vet bills just on the domestic side average £4k a month.
“We’ve had to do some drastic fundraising but we don’t like to just beg for money, we’d rather give something back, so that’s why we decided on the cat café.”
Steph says they’ve been fortunate to have a lot of support with building work at the site, and they’ve been able to reuse a lot of materials and furniture to keep costs down.
“Everything’s been done sustainably so we’re using recycled pallet wood and all our furniture has been donated or repurposed including benches which were in here from the previous Thai restaurant which we’ve reused to make booths.
“We also got a very generous deal with the lease, and we’ve wrangled deals from builders merchants to get huge discounts on materials, so we’ve been able to do it on the smallest budget possible.”
With the idea taking shape, Steph spent hours researching cat cafes across the country to find out what worked best.
“Our priority is the cats, we’re a rescue so they come first, so our age restriction will be 11-plus and there must be one adult per two children.
“We’ll also be planning educational sessions for younger children about respecting cats and taking care of them and parents will be involved in those too.
“We’ll have between 10 and 15 cats here, they’ll be able to go wherever they want whenever they want on the property and they’ll live here when the café is closed. They’re not forced to interact, so if they don’t want to be downstairs they can hang out upstairs.
“Those cats won’t be up for adoption immediately because if we had a revolving door of cats who were getting adopted every couple of weeks it would cause stress to their social dynamic. Instead we’re having a bonded group of cats – we’ll be doing sleepovers to make sure they’re best friends – and they’ll stay here for 1-2 years before they go to their forever homes.
“In the meantime they will be helping us promote the available cats at the rescue so wherever you sit in the café you’ll be able to see a TV screen showing a video of the cats and there’ll be information on tables. Staff will be clued up as well to point people towards a suitable cat if they’re thinking of adopting and guide them through the process.”
Steph wants the cat café to not only make people consider giving a home to a rescue cat rather than buying a pedigree, but to promote the need to neuter too.
“We really hope we’re going to get a lot more people interested in what we do. They might not follow us on social already or be interested in the work of rescues but they want to hang out at a cat café because it’s a really cool place to be. Then that gets them interested in our work and if we can make them think about neutering their pets or to adopt not shop, that’s what we’re setting out to do.”
Tickets for sessions starting on March 11 and gift vouchers are on sale via the website. There will be three quiet hour sessions a week for anyone who prefers that and Steph is planning events including a cats and board games night in April and a cats and quiz night in May.