Belfast’s First Cat Cafe Could Be on Its Way

BELFAST, IRELAND – Caitlin McClelland, who lives in South Belfast, started her campaign last week

A Co Antrim woman has begun a campaign to open Belfast first cat cafe.

Caitlin McClelland, who currently lives in South Belfast , has started a KickStarter campaign to raise £20,000 to open the cafe.

The 25-year-old wishes to open Kittywinkles Cat Lounge in the city and is appealing to the public to support her business plan.

Caitlin McClelland

Caitlin McClelland

Speaking to Belfast Live, Caitlin stated: “I thought about setting it up before but thought it was not really popular. I had heard about them in Asia and I thought it would be hard to do here, perhaps there were different laws.

“But then I saw them popping up in the UK with one in London, so last year I did a Prince’s Trust course about setting up your own business and I spoke to people who came to talk to us about my idea and they made it seem possible.

“I started looking into it and checking with the council about legislation but there’s no problem surrounding that, just as long as it follows the same lay out as existing ones in that’s it is two separate rooms.

“We want Kittywinkles to be a cat lounge, you do not have to come and get tea and a bun. It’s like having a second living room except you are kept company by a lot of friendly cats who want tummy rubs and attention.”

Caitlin McClelland as a child with her cats

Caitlin McClelland as a child with her cats

Caitlin, who owns two cats herself – Biggie Smalls and Lil Kitty – has already been looking at various locations in Ormeau and Ballyhackamore after her KickStarter campaign raised almost £4,000 in less than a week.

She wants her cafe to be the kind of place where friends can come and chill out, play board games and get a bun and tea – all surrounded by cats.

But instead of aiming to fill Kittywinkles with 50 plus cats, as other cat cafes do, Caitlin is aiming for a modest eight to 10.

“I do not think I could handle 50, I am aiming for eight, nine, 10,” she said.

“It’s not overwhelming and you can keep high standards of care and hygiene. The health and happiness of the cats is a priority.”

Caitlin's cats Biggie Smalls and Lil Kitty

Caitlin’s cats Biggie Smalls and Lil Kitty

Caitlin, who originally hails from Glenavy outside Lisburn , studied to become a veterinary nurse before turning her attention to her cat cafe plan.

She concluded: “I think Belfast is a good setting for it and everyone has been so excited for it.”