Laura O’Neill had to paws for thought when her cunning scheme was knocked back by baffled brokers put off by the unusual nature of her proposal.
And securing premises for her feline venture was no easier – with narrow-minded landlords clawing off her early advances.
Now she hopes to put plenty of money in her kitty when Maison de Moggy in Stockbridge opens its doors on Sunday – allowing customers to enjoy a cuppa and a cake while ten friendly moggies roam their way from table to table. The quirky concept, which originated in Japan, has grown in popularity across Europe – but Ms O’Neill’s cat cafe marks the first in Scotland. The 27-year-old lawyer said: “We’ve been looking for a space since June and this is us only just moving into a place now. There were places in Edinburgh that we viewed that said, ‘Oh no, we don’t know what that is – we’ve never heard of a cat cafe’.
“But our present landlord was not bothered about it.
“And getting insurance was difficult, too. We basically had to explain what a cat cafe was to 100 different brokers, and it didn’t happen. It took a fair few solid days of phoning around.
“All the risks had to be carved out – we had to go through everything.” The cafe’s ten moggies – which live in a “luxury cattery” beside the cafe – include a fluffy chinchilla Persian, a duo of outgoing Bengals and a majestic Norwegian Forest Cat.
An hour’s visit costs £6 on weekdays and £7 on weekends, with capacity limited to 30 customers.
Ffion Bishop, owner of Capital pet-sitting service Animal Antics, insisted the idea was bound prove popular.
She said: “There’s quite a big pub culture in Scotland, and this maybe offers people a different way of letting off steam.”