I don’t know about you but I love going to town. It brings me joy seeing the shops that I frequent and dining at my favourite places. Which was why I got excited when I found out a new cat café was opening up at SCAPE.
“Cuddles. Cat. Café? You mean I can cuddle the cats?!”
Before I start writing my take on the experience and thoughts of this new cat café, I will declare that this is entirely my say. I am entitled to my own opinion, so if you disagree, then…..good for you.
If you follow me on Instagram, I posted a picture of myself during my visit to Cuddles Cat Café about a month ago. I had my last exam paper that day and seeing that the Cuddles Cat Café is finally opened, I thought I’d give it a go.
It was inevitable to not see a poster right outside the café that screams, “We are recruiting!” Because my holiday had just started, why not I give this a shot right?
Here’s how the poster looks like – which can be found on their Facebook page too.
Main role – play with cats, act as a cat guardian and simple house-keeping duties. Sounds simple. University undergrads are welcomed? Yeah, perfect. Submit resume with cat experience? Checked. This is a dream part-time job for me!
I had a small chat with the owner (Jon), you know trying to be friendly before I get to work there. He asked me which Uni am I from and that I can try to apply for a part-time position. Of course I’ll try! I mean I have 3 cats at home, I am an undergrad, I have 3 months holiday (which means I can commit for 2 months)…so what else am I missing?
I visited the café after lunch, which was probably about 3-4pm despite knowing that all the cats would be sleeping. It was also raining heavily at the time, so it didn’t help at all. There were a few hyper ones running around. I stayed for about an hour roaming around and hoping some cats would wake up and play with me.
That was when I noticed a few things that I thought were inappropriate.
- Throughout my stay (note: 1 hour), the cats had 4 snack plates given. 2 plates each time. The sound created from hitting the snack plates together will make the cats jump and run out of their hidden spots to come out and have their snack.
- The first round of snacks was alright but a second one in less than an hour? You really crave for attention don't you?
Brushing these thoughts off my mind, I told my bb Evonne (who is also a cat lover) that we could have just found our dream job. We both sent our resume on the same day together.
A few days later, she got a call back to pick a date to come for training. Until her training day, there wasn't any call for me. I texted her to ask how her training went; and that was when I figured why Cuddles Cat Café is truly a disgusting place to work in.
1. The owner hires only pretty girls.
I wont deny that my bb is beautiful inside and out, which came as no surprise when she got called first. During her training day, she interacted with the other friendly staffs and became curious to why I was not hired despite being able to fit all the requirements. They told her that the owner does not bother to look at your resume when you submit yours. The only thing he bothers – your looks.
Which means, my long-ass resume with my sharing of my personal experience of having cats in my house since I was young, my love for animals and how I fit the bill – were redundant. Which also means, the owner does not prioritize the wellbeing of the cats enough to hire staffs WITH experience. Apparently good looks = attract more customers = more money $$. Guess that wasn't too hard to decode eh?
2. “Training day” with no training.
I was also told that there wasn’t any training. Zilch. She mentioned that she was welcomed to work and was told to bring the cats outside (play area) if they ever wander inside the staff room. That’s all.
I don’t get it. If the owner were truly an animal lover, he would prioritize the cats. He would make sure that all staffs know the right and proper standard of grooming the cats, be the best cat guardian to provide the best for the cats, standard protocol. Even for a new staff with experience, he should/would have asked them to demonstrate on how to carry a cat/groom them; to make sure that everybody is on par of the knowledge of handling a cat.
3. Any time is food time.
Going back on my experience during my visit, if giving snacks twice within an hour was bad enough, these cats have no limit to their food intake.
The café has shelves stocked with cat toys, can foods, merchandise that can be purchased. I personally witnessed a customer buying a canned food to use as bait to attract her assumingly favorite cat of the lot to come near her.
Humans and animals have natural instinct to follow where the smell of delicious food comes from. Only exception, humans know when they are full. Animals do not. As long as there is food, they will eat it.
Seeing this shocks me because cats are supposed to be fed 3 times daily – breakfast, lunch, dinner or be fed adult “maintenance” food twice daily; depending on the advice your vet gives you. Anything more than that may cause obesity, which predispose them to risk of diabetes, arthritis or hepatatic lipidosis – fatty liver disease. (my vet will always emphasize on this during each visit.)
The café serves food too. I just happened to witness these two girls feeding the cat their Fish & Chips. I have no issues on them having food after all it is a café. If you have been to other cat cafes, you will notice that their space are all smaller as compared to Cuddles Cat Café. Which means the cats are being carefully watched so no one can fool around or feed them as they like. Cuddles Cat Café is the biggest cat café in Singapore. There are rooms for these cats to roam, customers to chill. But they can also feed these cats junks when no one is looking.
4. Cat with spinal injury.
Evonne had an access to the staff room during her training day and she can’t help but to notice that there was a sick orange cat in a cage. She found out that the cat had spinal injury after a customer who had no knowledge of carrying a cat; dropped it accidentally.
Given the fact that an accident had left a cat injured and disabled, the thought of the café still allowing customers to manhandle their cats makes me sick.
Here are the other four cat cafes in Singapore - The Cat Café, The Company of Cats, Meomi Cat Café and Cat Café Neko No Niwa. In which, 3 out of 4 has strict rules to not carry their cats. (I could not access Meomi’s Cat Café website). These cat café owners probably are aware of the risk and danger of manhandling a cat with no proper knowledge or dropping the cat at a certain height.
1. Cat Cafe Neko No Niwa
2. The Cat Cafe
3. The Company of Cats
We are not discussing a normal café with shitty customer service. We are discussing about cafe with cats and that is crucial because animals are living things too. They don't merit being encased in a spot with a shitty owner who doesn't prioritise their well-being.
Guess it did not took me long to figure what I was missing either.
Well haha. F**K you, Mr Jon.
(Disclaimer: All stories were true based on what Evonne and I had experienced individually when we were there.)