Jerry Lam and Amelia Wang love cats. As owners of Adelaide’s first cat cafe, it’s certainly helpful. “We’d been to cat cafes in Sydney and Melbourne and thought, ‘Why don’t we bring it to Adelaide?’” Lam says. A few YouTube deep dives into the Taiwanese and Japanese origins of the global trend further emboldened the couple to open their own.
It’s been a surprisingly easy project to get off the ground. “The council was really helpful,” Lam says. “A cat cafe was something they didn’t really have set rules for.”
For Wang and Lam – who previously owned Sir Cafe on Rundle Street – the cafe serves a duel purpose; it allows them to take in more unloved cats than they can feasibly house at home, and it gives local cat lovers their feline fix. It’s especially pertinent for international students or animal-loving renters foiled by the whims of their landlords, Lam explains.
“Some people love cats, but just can’t have one. Overseas students might be here for two years and want to get a cat, but what happens once their course is over? We want this to be the place for those people to come and enjoy time with animals, relieve some stress and pat a cat but in a responsible way.”
Focussing on desserts, tea and coffee, the space is split down the middle by a long glass window. Out front is the cats’ home and play area. The front windows are painted white to shield the cats from the commotion of Payneham Road traffic. Entry to the cat area is limited to eight patrons at a time (admission is $6 for 30 minutes) to keep the furry residentss calm and happy.
On the other side of the key-code-operated door, folks can grab waffles and ice-cream or a cup of joe over a board game and admire the abundance of cat-inspired art.
The nine current residents – Ted, Coco, Milk, Converse, Stacy, Ping Ping, Fifi, Leopard and Puss – are a combination of Lam and Wang’s own pets and rescue cats adopted from the Animal Welfare League and homes that could no longer keep them. Each night they take three old mates home with them, keeping a close eye on how each cat is travelling day to day. But don’t be surprised if many of them are having a cheeky snooze when you visit – a cat in a cafe is, after all, still a cat.
499A Payneham Road, Felixstow
(08) 8123 5446
Tue to Fri 2pm–9pm
Sat & Sun 12pm–10pm