Leicester cat cafe closes after hygiene concerns

Cat looking at the menu inside Cats, Cakes and Coffee Image copyright Clarendon Spark
Image caption Cats, Cakes and Coffee opened at the start of August

A cat cafe offering animal lovers the chance to "snuggle" pets while having a snack has closed down after receiving a food hygiene rating of just one.

Hygiene concerns about Cats, Cakes and Coffee were raised shortly after it opened in Leicester in August.

A hygiene rating of one means "major improvement necessary".

But owner Lisa Rivers insisted she was only given the low rating because of a paperwork problem, and closed the cafe due to her own ill health.

"The cats are all back at their home, and happy and healthy," said Ms Rivers.

"The rating of one was given purely because I didn't have the paperwork on the premises on the day the environmental health visited."

Leicester City Council, which inspected the cafe, received several reports from concerned members of the public.

Image copyright Twitter
Image caption Dominic Shellard, vice chancellor of De Montfort University in Leicester, tweeted his concerns

Dominic Shellard, vice chancellor of De Montfort University in Leicester, tweeted that he was "very disturbed" when he visited the cafe describing an "overpowering smell of cat faeces".

But Ms Rivers insisted the cafe was hygienic and the cats were happy.

The charity Cats Protection has concerns about cat cafes, and said there are "welfare implications of having a number of cats in a limited space with groups of people unknown to them coming and going throughout the day".

Image copyright Clarendon Spark
Image caption Owner Lisa Rivers used her ten pet cats as attractions at the cafe

The world's first cat cafe is thought to have opened in Taiwan in 1998, and the concept then became popular in Japan.

The idea has spread around the world in recent years, with cat cafes in Paris and London attracting long waiting lists.

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