Opened just last month, La Gatoteca showcases the latest concept in animal rehoming – cat cafés. The place comprises a small café, where the first drink is free, and a petting area for those who want to get their feline fix. Numbers are limited to around 15 people at any one time, so unless you've made a reservation, you may have to wait a little. But it's worth it, I promise.
Currently there are around ten cats in the centre. Former strays, they have all been given medical checks, new names and a new home. That said, all of the cats are available for adoption. However, if like me, having a pet full-time is not an option, you can pay for the privilege of petting more cats than you can shake a stick at. Of course, no-one can guarantee whether the cats will be awake when you get there!
|The very docile Morgana|
|The sleepy Bowie|
|The shy Valentino|
|The surprisingly playful Pancho|
|The slightly irritable Vida|
The petting area consists of two floors, which have been designed with cats, rather than people, in mind. On the spacious upper floor there are several large, comfortable sofas with temptingly soft blankets thrown over one end for the cats to relax on. Should the sofas not be to their liking, there are a number of fur-covered climbing frames of different heights and configurations. At the back of the room a space closed off to visitors gives the cats the necessary privacy and escape when the constant stream of would-be-petters becomes too much. To help keep their stress levels down, soft, soothing music plays in the background.
I spent an hour and twenty minutes with the cats, during which time I got to drink tea and pet several cats, among them Morgana and Pancho. This cost me a very reasonable €8. I left happy, having had my feline fix and knowing that I had contributed to a very valuable cause. I will definitely be back for seconds.
La Gatoteca, C/Argumosa, 28* (Metro: Atocha or Lavapiés)
T: +34 916 225 831
*This being Spain there are no less than FOUR number 28s right beside each other on the same street. Yep. For real, people. FYI La Gatoteca is the furthest away. You need to walk down the hill to get to it. It's pretty well signposted though, so you can't miss it.