Melbourne Cat Cafe

As someone who has been in Melbourne since the beginning of May, and I hate to admit that it’s taken me all this time to finally get myself into the Cat Cafe.

It hadn’t really been my plan to end up there – but with so many of the things I do I suppose that’s a very common thing. Spontaneity is my sport, and I will win any of your competitions at it!

Anyway. Melbourne Cat Cafe! Today was a no phone/camera day – and as a result I don’t have any photos to provide you but there are certainly plenty of them out there. (OnĀ Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and tumblr.)

I’d never been to a cat cafe before, and I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, but my experience was definitely an enjoyable one. My first recommendation for anyone hoping to go to this one specifically is to try and get yourself in at a time when it’s relatively quiet. For every time I’d hunted for information about the place it was the first thing I picked up on.

Today I was one of five when I arrived.

To say that it was much bigger than I’d expected is an understatement! I was so impressed with the space on offer here, and the provision for ‘play’ for the cats was so impressive – I don’t think there was anything else I could have offered to improve their little lives.

They have a Nintendo Wii, a room with an entire bookshelves of very varied texts to peruse, and a room where the radio was playing some classical music. It makes for a very calming atmosphere which definitely seems to suit the kitties as much as it suited me. I’ll definitely be returning if only to sit with the laptop and try to get some motivation going because I feel like I could quite happily sit there away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Getting there really is a doddle. If it’s walking weather, just cut from Elizabeth Street onto Queen street and keep walking up from Flinders on the left hand side of the road until you get the roundabout. If it’s rainy, hop on the tram at the Flinder’s end of Elizabeth Street and jump on the tram all the way up to the Melbourne Central stop – cut through to Queen’s Street and then on up you go.

$10 gets you an hour with the cats, and I believe it goes toward all the expenses required to keep these content cats in their little (BIG) home. The building itself is absolutely gorgeous, and it really is a shame that they are limited to only 15 cats in the house at a time because the staff do a very good job of making sure the place is clean, smelling fresh and as far as I could see, there wasn’t a sign of kitten-damage to anything that wasn’t for cats! (I was looking)

The staff who were there at the time were very helpful and friendly, and there’s always someone at hand to ply with your questions, even the ones that seemed most common were dealt with as if it was the first time they’d been asked, which was lovely. It’s very clear that the people working there love each of the cats, and care for them as best they can. I didn’t feel pressured to buy a drink, or snacks, and there were plenty of places to sit, and even a few tables and chairs if you wanted to get on with something in the relative quiet of the building.

Fundraising happens here for a multitude of causes, and only last month they held a donation drive to provide food for the local shelters, which is wonderful!

If you’re in Melbourne, and you like cats, I would highly recommend paying the Cafe a visit. There’s a peace that you can experience there that differs so much from the type of ‘peace’ I get with my headphones on and a cup of coffee in any other cafe I’ve been to! (There was a point when I felt like I could curl up on the couch and go to sleep right there.)

I will definitely be going again, and they’ve catered for that possibility too, with a loyalty card that rewards you both for the coffee you drink there, and the number of visits you make. One of the best things I’ve done in a while.


When things are steady

Yesterday was the busiest day for me in weeks, and I didn’t actually ‘accomplish’ anything that I’d set out for myself.

A friend from Brisbane was in the city, and along with two other mutual friends of ours from Melbourne, we spent the day together. Despite the huge amount of things on offer in Melbourne we ended up doing the very thing that I think Melbourne should probably be most famous for.

‘Brunch’ was an instant requirement. Melbourne Central has a really convenient food hall, so that was where we headed first. I think I’ve had food from most of the food establishments that have set up shop there, but I tried out Oporto. I try to avoid burgers, mostly because unless you go somewhere like Grill’d you have no choice but to have their wheat-full bread buns. I’m not a coeliac, but I’m intolerant and usually I pay for it for the rest of the day but it was a risk I took. (I think I’m paying for it now it’s ‘the next day’ actually, which is unusual, but I suppose that’s just how your body works sometimes.) I actually really enjoyed it, but I could have quite easily just done with the burger rather than the chips and drink I added. Why am I always hooked in by meal deals??

After that we went to look at the Little Library. There were far fewer books than normal, which made me wonder if the school holidays had anything to do with diminishing numbers of books. I wish there were an easy way to count how many books there are there… or maybe I ought to start a book counting project. I love numbers, but without a regular count it’s just figures without any pattern. (Still, it might be fun!)

After that we went for Froyo. This is easily one of my favourite things. I love the stuff, and even though I have the same thing every time (with the singular difference in what kind of yoghurt I choose) I still really enjoyed it. There’s something about strawberries and white chocolate chips that I really love, and despite trying to recreate this at home, there’s something about frozen yogurt that sets it apart from yoghurt out of the fridge. It’s a rather expensive habit, to be honest. I rarely manage to pay under A$10!

We debated for a long time what to do with the rest of our day. The weather wasn’t particularly awesome, and we were hoping to avoid anywhere that was terribly expensive. Walking was quickly knocked off our list of top-ten things to do after finding out what one of our number had kicked a thing and hurt her toe so we went to EB Games. This, was unfortunately, a disappointment. I love the Nintendo Experience in EB Games on Swanston St, mostly because it’s the only place I can get free wifi for my 3DS automatically, which means my gaming experience is vastly improved! We attempted to play on one of the Wii U units they had on display – but the two old Wii controllers severely lacked battery power and with no obvious method of recharging them we were left sitting around discussing the state of our friend’s food, whether one of our friends who was clearly incredibly tired was asleep or not, and occasionally talking about a few games we played and what we liked about them.

Inevitably, our stay didn’t last long.

In the hope of inspiration we took a trip on the Number 35 tram. It’s a free ‘circle’ tram that takes you right the way around the CBD in a loop. We spent a bit of time looking at the map whilst we were on our way and talking about which buildings were which and whether we ought to go to them. Most of the things we’d like to have done involved either a lot of walking, or breaking our vows to boycott certain places (Not naming any names, SeaWorld and MelbourneZoo. Sorry not Sorry.)

We ended up in a coffee shop on Flinders Street an hour later.

It was so nice to be able to spend an entire day with like minded friends, to talk about ridiculous things that we were all interested in, to debate the validity of every single chapter that possibly existed after Naruto 699. (It’s all fake. :\) To talk about games, and jobs, and careers and families with absolutely no pressure.

One of our number left us, and we were joined by a friend of mine that I’ve known for well over 13 years. The fact that I’d known him for 13 years was a point of discussion and two of my friends were quite happy to remind us both how old they’d been at the time we’d started talking. What amused me was the fact that I’d met them all through the same medium. Roleplaying online has been a hobby of mine for well over a decade, and I’m not sure when I’m going to give it up. It always, of course, relates back to writing so I can’t see me giving it up any time soon no matter how much I’ve tried in recent years.

Dinner was a joint affair, at a Japanese Restaurant attached to the QV building. I had ‘gyu don’ or beef with rice, and although it was nice, it was full of other things that weren’t rice and I didn’t REALLY enjoy it which made me sad, and also made me miss Wagamama’s back home.

My two friends from much, much earlier left us after dinner – leaving myself and one of my dearest friends to catch up after what must have been a month. It’s always so good to see him, and I’m going to hate it when I have to leave Australia. We chatted, caught up and he finally asked me about my mood.

I talked. Openly. He commented, honestly and I wish I could say that I found accepting his advice easy but it wasn’t. Again, the difference between knowing something intellectually and accepting it as relational to yourself is huge.

One of the biggest things that I feel I need to take away from my chat with him is that Depression is a valid illness. There are such huge differences in the way some people struggle and cope with depression, and I think that hearing about some people with depression who maintain a steady job, relationship and do all kinds of other things makes me feel like I’m a failure for not being able to manage it.

I was very easily able to understand what he was saying to me about trying to hunt for something else to label myself with. I have friends with bipolar and I know, without a doubt that I do not have it, but I questioned myself despite that. I’m terrible with money, and incredibly impulsive about the things I do, buy and say. This is often classed as a trait of bipolar, and an example I used with him yesterday but he suggested that perhaps that’s just a ‘normal’ trait of mine. He’s right, and I think that my impulsiveness goes hand in hand with my compassion. Just today I turned a corner in the local Coles and I saw a man who was bleeding. I didn’t stop to ask myself whether he was a danger, or who he was, or whether he was of sound state of mind – I just went over and instantly asked him if he was okay.

I’m proud of that. I’m proud of the person I am and I know I need to focus far more intensely on the things that I am, and what makes me, me. Rather than looking for something that I need to slot myself into. Yes, I’m impulsive, yes – I use instinct before I use knowledge and wisdom. Yes, I tend to look for the negative before I hunt for positives.

I’m Ollie, with depression. I will never not be.