Saturday At The Cat Cafe!

My 8 year old son and I had a long-awaited visit to Melbourne’s only Cat Cafe on Saturday. It is situated in Guildford lane, only a few minutes walk from Melbourne Central Station. Due to all the railway works going on at the moment, we travelled on the Sandringham line and alighted at Flinders Street station, catching a 59 (Airport West) tram from Elizabeth Street up to Melbourne Central. We could have taken a train from platforms 1, 2 or 3 to stations in the City Loop instead.

I booked online a couple of months in advance, securing an 11am session. You pay for entry and if you would like basic food (such as a muffin) or a drink, this is extra or included in a package deal. Whilst they accept walk-ins during quiet periods on weekdays, it is advisable to book to avoid disappointment. We confirmed our food order (it is brought out at a certain time so that the cats don’t find it first!) and had it upstairs halfway through the one hour session. There are 2 hour and 3 hour sessions available too, but it is best to try one hour first to see if you like it there.

Upon arrival, we were greeted by a young lady of gentle temperament and spotted three spoilt felines “on duty”. Arnold (half Maine Coon) guarded the little containers of cat biscuits which can be purchased for $2, knocking a few off unapologetically as he made himself comfortable on the reception desk. Ruby looked like she was constantly winking at me, but it turned out that she had only one eye! We perused the little souvenir shop and waited until it was time to enter, making sure that no kitties escaped when we did go through.

The bottom level had low chairs to sit in as well as some regular sized ones, all positioned around the edge of the room, enabling the cats to move about freely. I was struck by the ambience in the room; the quiet meditative music and the soft lighting including Christmas tree lights. There was no shortage of cat trees for the cats to play in or sleep on top of. A number of cat toys were available to entice the cats and kittens to play and it was relaxing patting them and seeing them move about freely. Visitors are asked not to pick up the cats but can gently pat them if the cats don’t mind.

On our way to the top level, we came out to the reception desk and had the option of washing our hands at the little wash basin there before eating or there was alchohol cleaner in pump packs on the desk. We walked up the stairs and there were a couple of cats sitting on the stairs, much to my son’s amusement. One strode along the top of the stair landing, very much in ownership of the place!

The cats could move between the two levels through a little hole at the top of the stairs (little shelves built into the wall which they could climb on). Up the top level were more cats (some were sleeping and others walking around). Daylight streamed in through a number of windows and the cats could even sit on a balcony protected by strong chicken wire if they desired. There was a bridge across the roof enabling the cats to move from the steps on the wall to the cat trees on the other side. There was also a wooden tree in the middle with cosy cat beds at the bottom. It was fun to read the profiles of the resident cats on the wall and to sit in multiple places on that level, taking it all in.

The hour went too quickly but it was just enough to slow down and enjoy the simple pleasure of patting and playing with beautiful rescued cats. It was a well run establishment and the cats are so fortunate to have had a new start in life. The cats did not clamber onto me (apart from when I deliberately put a couple of cat biscuits on my lap!) and it was a non-threatening environment for my son to observe and befriend some cats. He wanted to go back as soon as possible and at least once a year!

Though there seemed to be some indication on the web about the Cat Cafe moving in June, this was not the case according to the receptionist and it is highly unlikely to relocate in the next 12 months. I recommend this place to every cat lover. It is a hidden gem in a tiny pedestrian lane, but well worth the visit.

PHOTOS TO FOLLOW! (See this later post for the pictures )

The Cat Cafe

Several years ago I planned to go the Cat Cafe in Guildford Lane, Melbourne, but never got around to it. Knowing that my son had to be old enough to go, I have waited till then, and also wanted to make sure he would enjoy going as much as I would. We love our little public transport adventures; over the years we have caught buses, trains and trams, all in the name of discovering something fun to do. With some major public transport works, it will be a little more difficult, but that won’t deter us. Check it out, if you should be in Melbourne and you love cats. If you a taking a child, they need to be 8+ . You also need to book ahead of time. Stay tuned for my review this week!

Picture from the Cat Cafe Melbourne website Nov 2019

When the Cage Door Is Open But You’re Still On The Perch!

Have you ever found that change has had a blockage in your life, having little to do with a lack of information or opportunity? You have been to the seminars, read the books, googled many thoughts on the topic, yet you can’t quite move forward? I have had this happen to me at various points in my life, and this time, it’s to do with weightloss. Whilst I am starting to win in other areas, like being more organised and spending more quality time with the kids, I find it incredibly difficult to stick out a whole day of good eating, even when I prepare the foods I need. Many times I come unstuck, even when I have pre-prepared my lunch and snacks. I don’t have time to calorie track and exercise is difficult with an injury I’m dealing with. I wonder what it is that holds back necessary change? I ended up borrowing Rick Kausman’s book “If not dieting, then what” and concluded that my battle with food has a lot to do with psychological matters and not so much with knowledge of what is helpful for me to put into my body. I am truly stumped though. Why am I not able to choose long-term commitment and looking for a quick solution on this one? Past weight-loss efforts have been tied to big things like my wedding. Rewards these days seem a little too elusive to aim for. I wish I could do something for myself and not have my efforts tied up in what another person thinks.

What has worked for you? What have you used to motivate you towards lasting change? It doesn’t have to be weightloss, but maybe you have a general principle I can apply in my case?

(By the way, the image included in this post is a much younger me, deliberately blurry so it just gives you an idea of what I look like!).

The Fight

She packed away the baby things,

And with that, her hope took flight-

Not many knew the grief she had carried –

The desperation and the fight.

Not only were the final years slipping away,

But it seemed that the possibility was none;

Her dream of having a little girl

Left as quickly as it had begun.

She screamed and sobbed;

It was not fair that depression had robbed her of much –

Nothing could bring back those younger years,

And the struggle to conceive was such,

That pain upon pain would grow and strangle

With the lies that surrounded her head –

Nothing and no one could pull her out;

It felt like even God was not there;

Yet at the eleventh hour He seemed

To unveil His loving care.

It had held her through the hardest of times –

It had wept with her as she let go –

It had tenderly embraced her as a dear friend prayed

And laid on hands while she didn’t know,

That right about then a little life

Was blooming precious and strong –

What an amazing miracle of God

Who now lives her life in song.

And so for all who suffer still

In pain too great to bear –

My story stands as testament

To make you now aware –

That always One stands willingly

To hold you in darkest night,

And because He bled and took your place

He has power to win your fight.

© M.R.P. 2019