You should know by now that I’m a huge animal lover – my post on alpaca walking in Hampshire is a great example of this – and a couple of years ago, we discovered the Paws for Thought cafe in Romsey.
After seeing photos and videos from animal cafes around the world, I was thrilled to discover there would be one just 15 minutes down the road!
This was our third trip to Paws for Thought and I was so excited. Our previous two trips has been great; our first had been for the afternoon tea experience and the second time, we took some friends with us.
We simply fell in love with the place, and this trip was a long-awaited birthday voucher from my mum.
A warm welcome
The staff that run the cafe are incredibly friendly and passionate about the cats.
In fact, I met Emma – the founder of the cafe – on our first visit and it was clear to see how much she loved the cats, and how much she enjoyed running the cafe. And it’s this energy you see in all the staff.
Are table was already set up and waiting for us, it was just a case of taking our drinks orders. The Afternoon Tea experience comes with an unlimited selection of tea and coffee, which put me in my element. And you can’t not enjoy the themed drinks when they arrive.
What a treat
For those enjoying Afternoon Tea, your table is set up in the conservatory which gives you a great view of the outdoor enclosure and the favoured hammock. When it’s warm, the conservatory is a favourite spot where you’ll find several of the cats lounging, snoozing and warming themselves in the sun.
It was a dreary, rainy day, so our companion a sleepy cat on one of the cat trees while the others roamed and napped in other areas of the cafe. It’s like a game of hide and seek, trying to find them all. Some will be asleep on shelves positioned high up in the corners, while others will be tucked up in little cosy spaces.
There’s seven cats in total, and each table comes with a little booklet telling you about them, their personalities, their favourite spots in the cafe and their favourite toys – did I mention there’s a toy box in the corner?
We ate a few sandwiches from the selection and enjoyed our hot drinks before I got up to explore and find the other cats.
The atmosphere in the cafe is amazing. It’s calm, serene and really peaceful. Guests are welcome to wander round and encouraged to interact with the cats, with some strict rules in place to make sure they’re not bothered too much.
The cats happily roam the cafe; this is their kingdom, and will often come to say hi. They’re really friendly and love the attention and affection.
After exploring the cafe, I sat back down to enjoy a few cakes, drink more tea and take some photos.
We got chatting to the couple at the other table who have travelled considerably further than us to visit; they had a cat at home and this too was a birthday treat. The whole afternoon was really relaxing and – quite frankly – good for the soul.
We got to a point where we literally couldn’t eat any more. The amount of food we’d had was crazy and we’d literally been eating pretty much non-stop for at least an hour. By this point I was stuffed to the brim.
We sat, enjoyed our hot drinks and the company of the cats for another half an hour or so before getting up to leave. The staff boxed up the leftover cakes for us to take away and we said our goodbyes.
The purrfect treat
The whole afternoon was lovely. We left Paws for Thought vowing to return, and asking ourselves why we don’t visit more often.
It’s clear the cats are well looked after, and content with their lives. They have numerous escape areas if they’ve had enough of people, with a private area where they can really get away from it all. The outdoor enclosure is spacious and cat friendly, and there is more than enough to keep them entertained all day, every day.
Each cat is a rescue, and the cafe works hard to support rehoming cats, bereaving pet owners and provide information about cat adoption – it’s a great place that works hard to give back to the cat community.
The overall Afternoon Tea experience costs £25 per person, which includes their usual £5 per person fee which goes towards the upkeep of the cats and the important work they do rehoming those they rescue.
Considering this cost comes with unlimited tea and coffee, and a wide selection of cakes, I’d say that’s pretty good value for money.
If you’ve considered a trip to a cat cafe before, but never been, I would highly recommend. And if you’re in the local area – this is a definite must-visit.
You can find out more about the cafe through their website.