We can all agree it’s pretty unreasonable to try to operate a sanitary bar with 24 cats roaming, grooming, and mewing their way around. 15 is a much more sensible number.
Or so decided the owner of Bag o’ Nails, the so-called “cat pub” in Bristol, where, alongside a respectable 100 different kinds of beer on the menu, the ambiance is enriched by the gentle purr of 15 mainstay cats, all of whom were born in the pub itself.
“The reaction is mostly positive,” bar owner Luke Daniels told The Bristol Post. “Occasionally you might have some people walking in and leaving and some might be allergic to cats, but people love it.” Surprising, maybe, as the cats are very much “involved” in the life of the bar, stepping over pint glasses, luxuriating in what spots of sun the pub atmosphere affords. “Some of them,” says Daniels, “come and sit on your lap.”
Concerns arise, of course, in terms of sanitary issues (Bag o’ Nails currently doesn’t sell food, but there are plans to incorporate pub fare) and the health of the cats themselves. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (basically the UK version of the ASPCA) has already had a few things to say about the cat pub. As an RSPCA spokesman told The Telegraph, “Some cats might not enjoy being handled by strangers and generally we do not recommend keeping a lot of cats in one place,” not least because keeping up with 15 cats in the midst of running a bustling business could easily overwhelm.
And then they point out the slightly overlooked obvious: this is a pub, where alcohol is served and tempers are generally relaxed. “We certainly wouldn’t recommend drinkers sharing their favourite tipple with the cats, as alcohol is a poison which can cause them serious harm and suffering.”
Reports of intoxicated and/or cats somehow harmed at the “cat pub” have yet to surface, and based on a variety of Instagram photos, it looks as if patrons are joining in the general community effort of looking after the cats.
Cat cafés, of course, aren’t an entirely new concept. They began in the 90s’ in Asia, allowing would-be pet owners, restricted by apartment size/rules, to go cuddle with cats. The idea spread across the globe, even to New York, where Meow Parlour enables patrons to socialize with an adoptable feline population. And while Meow Parlour certainly isn’t a pub, they do allow you to bring food and beverage. So maybe the idea of a cat pub isn’t entirely too outrageous?