You might not have a cat but want one, or you might need to get away from it all and cuddle up to a little furball. Whatever your needs are, Melbourne's cat cafés can probably ease your woes.
Don clothes you don't mind getting fur on, grab a snack or a drink and choose the perfect spot for you. You can spend an hour a day or find your fur-ever friend and adopt a kitty at some of these venues.
The Best Cat Cafés in Melbourne
Already have a four-legged feline? Hit up one of Melbourne's cat-friendly cafés, hotels or beaches.
Japan does two things better than anywhere else on the planet: sushi and crazy. It’s a country full of bars with sexy robots and icy dens where penguins waddle around while you drink.
Japan didn’t invent Cat Cafés – you can thank Taiwan for the pay-to-play-with-cats concept – but Japan did embrace the idea hard, and it was while on a trip there that Melbourne couple Anita and Myles Loughran were inspired to start one of their own.
The pair were unsure how it would go. But when they launched an Indiegogo campaign, the internet went predictably insane. It turns out Melbourne is very, very OK with the idea of having cats and cafés combined.
But now it’s up and running. What's it like? During our session, we find that it’s less about the caféand more about the cats.
Bookings are taken for hour-long visits, at $10 ahead, with only 15 people allowed at a time. Strict guidelines are in place for the health and safety of both the cats and the visiting humans.
Upon arrival, guests are asked to read and sign a set of fairly straightforward rules: no feeding, mistreating or picking up the cats, and no loud noises or flash photography. You’ll be asked to wash your hands, and then you’re ready to head upstairs into the cat domain.
Once upstairs, take your pick of rooms – each one is a playground with toys for the cats. Once you’ve found a cat-watching spot, order coffee and snacks from their menu.
Unfortunately, Australia is a total killjoy on the health and safety front. So the café can only serve pre-packaged foods (chips, chocolate bars, biscuits) and low-risk drinks (aka soft drinks, tea, instant coffee and hot chocolate with powdered milk).
The regulations are a bummer for anyone who pictured this as a bustling café with bonus live-action cat antics – as YouTube came to life. Instead, it’s a pretty low-key environment for the cats to enjoy the space while you enjoy their company.
The 13 cats that call this café home have all been adopted from shelters around Melbourne and are being cared for and loved when they might otherwise have been forgotten. Some have scars on the outside to tell the tale.
Others have them on the inside, and they’re not always up for a rumble and may choose to hide out in the off-limits room. During those times, we’d probably like some music or magazines to break the slightly awkward silence, but from an animal welfare point of view, this is the way it should be.
Neko Cat Rescue HQ
This cat rescue organisation has a ‘cat lounge’ where you can hang out with, pat and play with the animals up for adoption. It’s sort of like a cat café without the café. And that’s not to say there is no food – you can buy treats at the shop to serve the cats.
Fifty-minute sessions cost $15 every Friday and Saturday and are worth every dollar. If you fall in love while you are there, you can adopt any cats and give them a forever home. One or two children under four years old are free to join you.
Cashmere Cat Café
There are more than 25 cats and kittens to be found at Cashmere Cat Café. Also, based in the CBD, it's open from noon to 6 pm every day. Book in a one-hour session with a free soft drink for $19, or go for a day pass for six hours, priced at $60 per person. Students can receive a discounted day pass at $45.
The Cashmere Cat Café proudly offers one of the most enjoyable and unique cat café experiences for all animal lovers throughout Australia. You can choose to either book a day pass which lasts for six hours, or you can book a one-hour session.
With a modern and spacious area of over 160 square metres, the Cashmere Cat Café has areas for customers to enjoy the company of their adorable cats while also providing personal areas for the cats to retire to.
Boasting over 25 cats and kittens to play with under one roof, each cat has been carefully selected and slowly introduced to each other to ensure a calm, relaxed and enjoyable environment.
As Australia has such high restrictions on serving food and drinks inside spaces where animals are present, the only available items are pre-packaged. Although, most likely, you will be visiting a cat café to cuddle up with a cute and soft kitty, which you won’t have any issues with here!
Bring yourself and nuzzle up to a furry four-legged friend.
Australia's first cat cafe opens in Melbourne.
Is the love of cats and coffee mutually exclusive? We hope so. Australia's first cat cafe opens in Melbourne today, but coffee snobs should paw for thought – the cafe component is distinctly pared back. More cat playrooms than cafes, only instant coffee and tea ($2.50), bottled drinks, and baked goods ($3-$3.50) will be served.
The absence of single-origin, first-quality roasted beans doesn't appear to be a problem so far, with the Cat Cafe's website showing its feline-friendly rooms are booked out until Sunday.
Cat Cafe Melbourne owners Anita and Myles Loughran visited Japanese cat cafes on their honeymoon and decided to bring the concept to Australia. "It was amazing. It's like nothing we have in Australia," Loughran says. "In Japan, cafes [the cats are] purebreds and are quite unfriendly. They're not chosen for their personality."
The Loughrans' cats are instead adopted from local shelters, The Lost Dogs' Home and Geelong Animal Welfare Society. The 12 resident felines have free reign of the upstairs rooms in the heritage-listed bluestone building near Queen Victoria Market, with plenty of toys, tunnels, Astroturf shelves, scratching poles, shaggy rugs, and nooks and crannies to keep them occupied. Shy scaredy-cats may retreat through the cat flaps to their private cattery.
Beverages from downstairs can be enjoyed in the cat area, provided you keep a lid on to prevent puss from lapping it up.
Where are the cafes… and cats?
Cat cafes are popping up everywhere, with more and more planned for the future. Here’s a rundown of cafes with a difference, right across the country.
- Sydney – Catmosphere - Catmosphere is home to the loveliest cats in the universe. Get your fill of cat cuddles over cookies and coffee, and perhaps even adopt a kitten. Yoga and party bookings are also available.
- Melbourne – Cat Café Melbourne - As Australia’s first cat café, these guys have everything down pat. With a primary focus on the wellbeing of their residents, this café is home to a range of cats who roam freely between two floors.
- Brisbane – Lucky Cat Café - As well as great food and cats to play with, this delightful café offers cat lovers a range of experiences. From tiny hat making to yoga with the resident cats, there’s something for everyone.
- Adelaide – Hashtag Meow - The couple who run this café share their own three cats and six rescue cats with you. Spend time with them for a mere $6, with a range of snacks, drinks and even board games on offer.
- Perth – Purrth - This fun café is filled with cats rescued from the Cat Haven shelter. So whether you want a cuddle, a coffee or a gift from their online shop, you’ll be happy knowing that all proceeds go to animal welfare.
A definitive list of the best cat cafes in Australia
The most purrfect places to drink coffee – and cuddle with a feline.
Sydney has three of them. There are two in Brisbane. And Melbourne claims the original. Cat cafes are on the prowl across Australia, with Perth and Adelaide joining the moggie movement.
Aside from the excuse to make catty puns, cat cafes are resonating with people who’d love a pet of their own, but circumstance – their rental rules, travelling lifestyle or fur-allergic partner – means they can’t. Others go for the companionship and good vibes that animal interaction delivers. Or, in my case, pure entertainment.
Catmosphere Cafe Sydney
One hundred per cent dedicated to supporting and caring for rescue cats and kittens, Catmosphere Cafe partners with various rescue groups to provide a haven for displaced felines.
They are provided with everything they need during their time at the cafe until they find they are forever home.
Visitors to the cafe can sip their coffee while interacting with the cats or choose to experience ‘Cat Cinema‘, a chance to interact with the felines while enjoying a film. You’ll also get a caramel popcorn milkshake, a comfy bean bag and some of the cutest company you could ask for.
Sydney Cat Cafe
Sydney Cat Cafe hosts pop-up events, such as the sold-out ‘Cats on Mats’ yoga – and are regularly popping up at different locations so that everyone can enjoy the magic of spending time with cats!
Cat Cafe Melbourne
Open six days a week. Cat Cafe Melbourne is one of the premier cat cafes in the area. The furry rescue residents have everything they could want at their ‘paw-tips’, and visitors are invited to enjoy coffee and snacks as they spend time with the felines.
You’re also invited to move freely between the cafe’s peaceful, spacious two floors, mingling with all the inhabitants at your leisure.
Coming in at just $12, this is a great, affordable way for cat lovers to spend an afternoon.
Lucky Cat Cafe
Providing a mix of “coffee, cats and chill”, Lucky Cat Cafe in Brisbane invites guests to spend time in their chilled out cat paradise.
They also offer yoga with cats, and craft and cats – which currently consists of acrylic brooch painting, so you can take home a miniature acrylic version of your favourite feline companion of the day!
Cat Cuddle Cafe
Cat Cuddle Cafe in Brisbane offers visitors the chance to meet and mingle with a slew of rescue cats in a cool cafe environment.
They also run amazing fundraisers like ‘Cat Bingo with Cats’, as well as an Animal Rescue Support Network Op-Shop via Facebook, with all proceeds going towards saving the lives of the rescue animals.
Hashtag Meow Cafe
$6 will buy you 30 minutes with the beautiful cats residing at Hashtag Meow Cafe. For $12, you’ll get to spend an hour – and get a free beverage.
The team at Hashtag Meow strive to provide a soothing environment for customers to unwind with other cat lovers and the furry felines themselves in a home-style setting.
The funds go directly to pay for food and vet bills, as well as other essentials to keep these furry creatures living the good life, as we all know cats like to do!
The Cat Cafe Perth
The Cat Cafe Purrth features a cat lounge, and for $15, sells tickets that invite you to hang out with the 12 resident rescue cats. Part of the proceeds goes towards Cat Haven, and the space is described as a sanctuary for cats and people. Their mantra is ‘adopt, don’t shop.’
On their website, you’ll find ‘awesome’ cat merchandise that true feline fans will love. You can also buy a 12-visit pass if multiple visits are likely to be in your future.
Whether you are wanting to adopt, thinking about getting a cat or just wanting to cuddle up with a cute little furball, cat cafés are perfect! There are only a few located in Melbourne. We’ve put together a complete guide of Melbourne’s cat cafés and where to find them.
Cat Café Melbourne, Melbourne CBD
Cat Café Melbourne was hailed as the first and original cat café in Australia back in 2014. It provides a unique and calming experience for customers to grab a cup of their favourite coffee, enjoy a snack, and sit back and relax with their many cute and fluffy cats.
Cat Café Melbourne is split over two floors. The ground floor is their cat lounge, where their cats get to hang out and relax and move freely using a unique internal staircase that allows them to move between the two floors. The first floor is their café lounge, where customers can enjoy delicious drinks and great food while surrounded by the most adorable felines!
With a strong commitment and passion for giving animals from shelters a second chance, they work closely with non-profit organisations to ensure each of their cats get this second chance. They have a section on their website to see which of their cats are currently looking for a new home. If you or someone you know is looking to give their cat away for any reason, Cat Café Melbourne also provides a free re-homing service to make sure each cat finds the right home for them.
Address: 30 Guildford Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000
Grounded Paws Cat Café, Traralgon
Just under 2 hours outside of Melbourne in Traralgon is where you will find Grounded Paws Cat Café. As a not-for-profit rescue group called Grounded Paws Animal Rescue, they work closely with animal pounds. They are dedicated to ensuring that impounded animals on death row gain a second chance at living with a loving and caring family.
With an Alice in Wonderland theme, their cat lounge is filled with some of the most precious, cute and lovable kittens and cats you will ever meet – which are all available for adoption if one manages to steal your heart. Customers can sit back and relax with a nice cappuccino or latte while enjoying their company. They also offer a selection of yummy pies, including mixed berry and custard, chickpea curry, Mexican and apple.
The friendly staff can also answer all your questions regarding the cats and the adoption process. You can also find out more information about how to adopt an animal section on their website. You can adopt a cat or a dog, and each animal has been thoroughly vaccinated, parasite treated, desexed, microchipped and had a health check by a veterinarian.
Address: 23 McMahon St, Traralgon VIC 3844
FAQs About Melbourne Cafes
Although cat cafés attract patrons who want to enjoy a coffee while surrounded by cute cats, they also serve a deeper and more meaningful purpose. Many cat cafés partner with organisations and local cat rescues to ensure their cats find a good home and can be adopted by the right type of owner.
As the name suggests, cat cafés allow you to enjoy a coffee and a snack while playing with or enjoying the company of cats. You can get up close with them. However, each cat café will have its own set of rules, such as prohibiting lifting up the cats or creating loud noises.
There is some debate over whether cafés are a harsh environment for cats. However, many cat café owners are strongly focused on the welfare of their cats. Many have rules to ensure the cats aren’t exposed to an unsafe environment and have the main goal of finding their cats a nice home with loving owners.
Not. Cat cafés go through rigorous cleaning and maintenance to ensure the safety and hygiene of not only their cats but of their customers as well. There are designated areas such as litter areas situated far from the café area to ensure the cat café doesn’t end up smelling like a zoo.
Of course! Many cats have been taken in from shelters where they have been the victims of abuse from their previous owners. Cat cafés ensure their cats are well-groomed, have an area for their own space and are treated with care and love so they can be rehabilitated into a loving family.
Which is many cat cafés' main goal. If you feel a special bond forming with one of their cats, you have the option to adopt and bring them home with you. If you fall in love with a cute little furball, talk to the staff about their adoption process, and they will gladly explain what is required.
Cats have the unique ability to enrich our lives, providing us with love, cuddles and affection when we need it the most.
If you have been thinking about getting a cat or wanting to experience the fun atmosphere of having lots of adorable cats and kittens wander around you, then visit one of these awesome cat cafés in Melbourne.