With the internet overfilling with cat-related content, including those utterly adorable videos of cats on Youtube, Sydney has finally taken the trend that first originated from Taiwan and that is a cafe that allows customers to interact with cats, what a puurr-fect idea! The street of Foveaux in Surry Hills now holds a special space-infused cat cafe, franchising 'Catmosphere Cafe' from Thailand to here. For the standard visit, it includes a hot beverage, cat-shaped cookie and a tactile experience with the kittens or cats.
Walking straight from Central Station to the cafe was quick and soon enough, we were greeted with an enthusiastic barista with an infectious smile who asked for our orders. With a hot chocolate and cappuccino, we sat on the table nearby the counter, sipping and chatting. Once we downed our hot beverages, the kind barista offered to keep our small backpacks behind the counter while we progressed upstairs to the enclosure of the cats.
The cafe takes careful precaution of hygiene with the cats where a sink and anti-bacterial soap lies under the stairs along with hand sanitizers found on the counter and upstairs in the room of cats. As we entered the enclosed area, the sunlit and shaded room encased furniture for the cats and visitors, cat toys, a sitting table with several cat-related books, sleeping areas and food/litter boxes at the back of the room. Some cats were shy, some were sleepy and some were roaming around soaking in the attention.
The cats were incredibly friendly and gentle! There were several others in the room and were chatting with the cat handler and he mentioned that there were 17 cats in the room; the sneaky ones were hiding in the nooks and cranies. For those concerned with food touching animals, the beverages are enclosed in a closed cup and food is to be eaten in a separate room (beverages are allowed in the Space Cat Room) with airlock doors, thereby preventing unwanted particles from entering. Catmosphere selects only sociable cats that are comfortable with human presence and touch, all are rescues that are fostered by the World League for Protection of Animals.
Won-fur-ful capture of cat hearing the snaps of my camera
For those seeking parking, the street of Foveaux was filled with parked cars in the early afternoon; if the street is packed, try St Margaret's Car Park with the first parking hour for free (second hour is $10) which is 7 minutes away, or Waterloo Street Car Park which is 3 minutes away form the cafe. The best times to see the cats/kittens are during the mornings as they aren't as tired of interacting with people and it is recommended to book your session since the weekend is busy and the cafe is limited to 10-12 people an hour. But, if you are visiting the cat cafe on a weekday, booking might not be an essential part as the cafe is less occupied with customers.
To summarise the visit, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience with the cats and the service from the cat helper/barista was superb. However, I do think the hot beverage was slightly overpriced based on the size and the smell of the room was musky with the scent of the litter boxes, but I will disregard that as it is to be expected. There are four different sessions, hot beverage and cookie with either the 'kittens cadets' or 'catstronauts' (Catstronauts is more accessible), yoga session with the 'catstronauts' and Cat Trivia, both on Thursday nights; visit Catmosphere Sydney for prices. A terrific day to relax and spend with these delightful feline creatures!
ALTERNATIVE: Visit the Chatswood Cat Palace, Urban Cat Cafe at Erskineville or Cafe Purrfection in Roseville
TIPS: Mention that you're also visiting the cats/kittens to the barista, that'll add to $20 (Catstonauts) / $22 (Kitten Cadets) when you're purchasing your drink. I think the barista separated the hot beverage and the 'Catstronaut' package (which includes beverage), meaning we paid more than $20.
I emailed Catmosphere asking whether with customers were allowed to swap a hot beverage to a cold beverage for 'Coffee Cookies with Catstronauts' or 'Coffee with the Kitten Cadets'. In response, you do have the option of a cold beverage such as the 'Ice Coffee, Chocolate or Tea instead, or you can swap for a soda drink.'
Did you know there is a second Catmosphere in Chiang mai Thailand? I recently wrote a weekendnotes article on it too. You might be interested to check it out. Luckily at the sister shop in Chiang Mai you don't have to book.