This week Melbourne got to show off its café culture to some new friends – 12 rescue cats.
Australia’s first cat café opened in the heart of Melbourne and the novel idea has struck a chord with customers, with the café booked out for the next few weeks.
Cat cafes are hugely popular in countries such as Japan and a number of European cities, where people who cannot own a pet due to their small apartments and long working hours can still enjoy animal affection.
Owner Anita Loughran and her partner raised over $20,000 through crowdfunding and overcame a series of unique challenges to get their small business off the ground, including a social media stoush and finding a landlord happy enough to house 12 cats on the premises.
Loughran also struggled with Australia’s strict health and safety laws, which initially prevented her from serving food and drink with the cats.
The café is now able to serve food and drink downstairs, which patrons can take upstairs when they pet the cats.
Loughran sits down with SmartCompany to tell us how the journey has been so far.