Calls for cat café to ban children over concerns animals are being 'harassed'

Kitty Cafe in Birmingham Grand Central
-Credit: (Image: Graham Young/Birmingham Mail)

Customers at a popular cat café in Birmingham have called for children to be banned over concerns they're 'harassing' the animals. Kitty Café in Grand Central, located 40 minutes from Coventry, has spoken out following negative reviews in which visitors called for the age restrictions to be enforced.

The diner allows visitors to interact with the felines while eating and drinking. BirminghamLive reported that floods of low reviews on Google show concerned visitors suggesting that young children are 'loud' around the animals, with some suggesting they run around harassing the 'terrified' cats.

However, the Kitty Café says they have a 'dedicated and qualified team' to ensure the 'welfare of the cats' and who 'discreetly' address rule-breaking with adults and children.

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Emma Beckett gave Kitty Café a two-star review this week, writing: "Nice concept but the reality is that rescue cats (some of who haven't had the best experience of humans so far in life) are getting practically mauled by feral 2-year-olds, whilst the parents sit there, smile and drink their coffee. The cats have more discipline than the kids in here. An age limit is definitely needed, feel sorry for the cats."

Kiera Gill gave the diner a one-star rating and said: "When we arrived, we saw children running after and harassing the cats, scaring them away. And the staff didn’t even attempt to stop this. Because of this, the cats were terrified to come near anyone."

Kat Parsons added: "Unfortunately, the amount of kids being allowed to run around screaming, chasing cats, and climbing over me and my friend while the cats were hiding down beside us completely ruined it for me. On one hand, it was the parent's ignorance but on the other, it was the employee's lack of responsibility to tell the adults to control their children.

"I feel sorry for the cats who have to put up with being cornered, chased, and poked every day and disappointed in every member of staff who walked past and ignored it."

A spokesperson for the Kitty Café said that the majority of interaction between the customers and cats is 'hugely positive' for the animals and a vital part of the socialisation for rehoming'.

They said: "We have a dedicated and qualified team who ensure the welfare of the cats in the customer-facing areas including discreetly addressing rule-breaking with any customers (adult as well as child) that may happen.

"Even in this extremely difficult economic climate for businesses and certainly for us, we continue to invest heavily in ensuring the best for the cats even with the minor amount of rule-breaking we experience. Next week we are closing down at points over two weeks to redesign the floor environments to remove 'blind spots' and create more barriers for people that cats can move through and eliminate lengths in which running can occur.

"We inherited this layout and is not our usual design which is why we have been keen to get into our usual format that is successful at other locations. We are implementing higher levels of tech which is monitored seven days a week remotely to allow full visual coverage, something we have done at all our locations."

The spokesperson added that the branch was investing in going cashless to 'free up the team for more monitoring than processing'.

They said: "This is on top of the current design of the café where the cats can move up out of reach at any point in the café and access cat-only areas off the customer-facing floor without having to pass people. The cats can leave the floor whenever they want, which they do, usually for more food and therefore the cats on the floor have chosen to be there.

"We are vigilant on rule enforcement for all ages and will continue to invest in the well-being of the cats."

Some reviewers loved the Kitty Café when they visited. Katie Paxton, who gave it five stars, wrote: "Super cute cat café! Well priced and the staff are really friendly and helpful. The cats all seem well looked after and have a space to be away from customers. The cats are friendly and comfortable in the busy environment too. Had a lovely afternoon tea too while there, the food was well presented, tasty, and quick to arrive."

Maram Al-Khalaileh said: "We enjoyed our time at the Kitty Café. They do a great job looking after abandoned cats. We had a great time petting all the different cats."

Jennifer Boyle added: "Well worth a visit if you're a cat lover. The entrance fee goes towards caring for/feeding the cats. Lovely atmosphere and good choice of food and drinks."

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