'Vet bills are going to kill us' - North Tyneside cat café continues to feel squeeze of cost of living crisis

Rescue cats at the Bad Cat Café in Wallsend
Rescue cats at the Bad Cat Café in Wallsend -Credit:Craig Connor/ChronicleLive

A North Tyneside cat café says that its vet bills "are going to kill us" amid the seemingly never-ending cost of living crisis.

The Bad Cat Café opened in Wallsend in August 2022 and has rehomed 87 cats in that time, 15 of those in the first four months of 2022. Many of the cats come from shelters in other parts of the country and even from abroad - and its owners hope to reach their 100th adoption in the coming months.

However, the cafe's owners Tasmin Hirst and Roxanne Scott, who run the café alongside working full-time jobs, are really feeling the squeeze with their vet bills gradually rising again. They are now facing bills of £140 to neuter and microchip male cats, and £170 for females to be spayed and microchipped.

This is higher than the cafe's adoption fee of £130, which includes vaccinations, microchipping, neutering/spaying and flea and worm treatments. At the moment, seven cats are awaiting treatment and Tasmin says she "doesn't know where the money is coming from."

She told ChronicleLive: "We have really big plans for this place but we opened at such a bad time, as prices were going up and people couldn't afford to do anything anymore. We're stuck in a rut and we daren't put our prices up because people don't understand why they have to pay admission and things like that."

Tasmin Hirst, left and Roxanne Scott, right who run The Bad Cat Cafe in Wallsend, North Tyneside.
Tasmin Hirst, left and Roxanne Scott, right who run The Bad Cat Cafe in Wallsend, North Tyneside. -Credit:Craig Connor/ChronicleLive

The café recently registered as a community interest company, in the hope it would open them up to more grants. They have also tried quiz nights, fundraisers, and car boot sales but these have proven no more fruitful than getting a few customers through the doors of the café

Tasmin hopes that the grants they may be able to apply could be a long-term solution, but for now, they have been left relying on adoption fees, café visitors, and regular and one-off donations. They have also had to occasionally launch fundraising pages for vet treatment for particular cats - such as Dolores, who was in another shelter for two-and-a-half years and needs to have her teeth removed.

Tasmin finished: "We don't just want to take the really easy-to-adopt cats, we take some hard cases too. We don't take any money out of the café, and we know we'll continue even if we have to cut down on the amount of cats we take in.

"The cats take a lot of work, and we put time into it as well as money. We're grateful to the people who support us but at the minute it's a massive struggle."