‘Strength to strength’ - Cat cafe owners hoping to move to bigger premises
PUBLISHED: 11:11 14 October 2020 | UPDATED: 11:11 14 October 2020
A cat cafe where animal lovers can stroke and chat to feline friends is hoping to expand by moving to a new and bigger home.
Darling Darlings opened last year on Howard Street South and, according to owner Caroline Graham, the business has been going from “strength to strength”, even during the pandemic, with people visiting the place for support.
At the heart of the cafe are its four cats - Coconut and Teddy, both trained therapy cats, Stanley, who is almost fully trained, and the most recent arrival, a Sphinx named Maverick.
“Maverick has taken the place by storm,” Ms Graham, 37, said.
Stanley is almost signed off as, and Maverick is also training to be, a therapy cat, she added.
Interest in the cafe, with bookings coming thick and fast, is such that the ultimate goal of its owners, a desire to connect with vulnerable people such as children with autism or older people with dementia who benefit from contact with animals, would be better served by relocating to a bigger premises, Ms Graham said.
Currently the café can accommodate two groups of six people for a 45 minute slot, with the café cleaned between bookings.
“Being a little community hub people can come and feel safe, especially during these times,” Ms Graham said.
The lockdown has led to more people contacting the owners on their Facebook page us after visiting the cafe, she said.
“A lot of people have been developing mental health issues. Knowing we are there, they’ve come to us for support.
“But we are looking at trying to move somewhere else, so we can continue with what we are doing.
“By having somewhere bigger we can be safe for visitors,” she said.
“Getting the [government] grant has been great, but the money is dwindling.
“It would be nice to find somewhere a bit bigger, to provide for more people.”
The cafe reopened after lockdown on July 4 and is now open Wednesday to Saturday from 10am to 3pm.
“We want something big enough but not too big, in the borough, in a good area for parking, with toilet and kitchen facilities,” Ms Graham said.
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