The manager of Manchester’s very first cat cafe says she has been overwhelmed by support from well-wishers after an early morning arson attack.
A blaze started outside the venue in the Northern Quarter shortly before 2am on Monday and ended up causing thousands worth of damage to its exterior.
Police are saying that no arrests have been made, but investigations are continuing. The 11 cats based in the cafe were not hurt but were said to be quite shaken by the incident.
Cat Cafe manager Emma Higgins explained that she has been heartened by messages of support, with hundreds of readers taking to the M.E.N’s Facebook page to offer their best wishes.
Emma stated: “We have had so many messages come through on Facebook and on email, people have been so nice and just want to help. The support has been really lovely.
“It was such a shock that it happened in the first place. It has gone from all of the publicity of opening to the shock and sadness of the fire, it has been a strange experience.
“It shows how much people care about us in Manchester, and we want to thank everybody.
“The staff were in shock, but they were amazing and just carried on. We could have taken a leaf out of the cats’ book! They were here during the whole thing and were just as normal.”
The cafe, which is based in High Street, has been able to remain open as normal following the incident, however, owners Ellie and Sarah Close now face an expensive repair bill.
Miss Higgins estimated that just replacing the glass pane damaged in the fire could cost about $6,500.
It is now believed that someone tried to smash the window before setting fire to a pile of trash outside, causing the glass to crack.
Many followers of the M.E.N’s Facebook page described the arsonists as “sick idiots”.
Jess Golden stated: “Why can’t people just let humanity have nice things?
“One of the best things to happen to this city in my eyes, a bold start up business introducing a group of beautiful cats to the citizens of Manchester and providing a comfortable and happy place to chill with cats and drink tea.
“Literally what reason does anyone have to dislike what this business is and does?”
Kerri Winborne stated: “Why do people deliberately want to ruin others livelihood, businesses and especially all these amazing animals.
“So sad that this world is filled with sick idiots with nothing more productive to do.”
Kay Brockbank went on to add: “Why would anyone want to do that? What have the cats done to deserve being put in so much danger?
“If a business gets damaged it can be relocated and re-started with a lot of hard work and effort, but you can’t replace the cats.
“Such an idiotic thing to do. Let’s hope they were caught on CCTV and get far more than rapped knuckles and a telling off.”