Places to visit in Barcelona: Espai de Gats

Last year I spent Halloween in York hosting a house party dressed as the infamous “French Spider“, which went down a treat and this year, well I put a lot less effort into my run-of-the-mill vampire costume for Saturday’s all nighter at Safari. I am also not exactly doing anything with my Halloween night except for what I am doing right now – hanging out at Espai de Gats. Barcelona’s very own cat cafe and the first that I have had to the pleasure of visiting. I actually visited the cafe for the first time a few days ago and couldn’t resist coming back for the Halloween party that gives you the opportunity to win 10 free entries upon admittance as well as a drink and a snack. I couldn’t pass up that chance.

On my first visit last week things didn’t exactly start off as intended. I put my favourite jacket down behind me as I sat and 30 seconds later a large ginger cat (I later found out he is called Rafa) had settled himself behind me and was happily trying to gnaw the buttons off of my reasonably expensive coat… well, expensive by student standards. I tried to gently persuade him to stop but he was having none of it and made a swift swipe for my hand, drawing blood and leaving me a with a decent looking cut. But I couldn’t really be mad, he is a cat after all and I was in his domain. The other people who were sat in the chill out area next to me saw my plight and attempted to distract him from a life of vandalism but he had no interest until there was so many distractions from every angle that he stopped long enough for me to fold my coat over slightly and hide the button from sight. Despite understanding cat rejection completely, I felt slightly disheartened by this happening in the first 5 minutes of being at the cafe but not another 5 minutes later, Rafa returned and decided to make himself comfy on my lap so I figured we are friends now.

After this, I fully enjoyed my time at the cafe. It is a wonderful sanctuary for the strays they take in and help find new homes for. Two of my favourite residents are the bedraggled brothers, Clooney and Pavarotti, who only have one full tail between them. Clooney also does an uncanny impression of the infamous Hannibal Lecture noise, he also sneezes violently and usually it is in someone’s face or lap. All the cats have very distinct personalities and even walk in completely unique ways; Claire (a cross-eyed calico) had a tendency to twitch her shoulders as she strutted around whilst Reina walked like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman and I mean when she is on the boulevard and not at the polo match. The cafe offers the kitties all kinds of entertainment and comfort with beds and boxes to nap in to a contraption shaped like a flower pot with water flowing from the plastic daisy in it – this seems to be a house favourite.

This second visit is just as pleasant and just before I entered I saw three of the cats chasing each other around and up the large scratching post that’s shaped like a tree. They all seem genuinely happy and I have just found out that Rafa has been adopted and will be leaving the cafe in a few days. Clooney has found his way onto someone’s lap and Reina is having the upmost patience with a little girl who is beyond excited about being in the cafe. None of them are sat on my lap this evening but I am enjoying just observing them doing their everyday cat things and randomly darting around the place. Victor is especially amusing – he is the largest cat and has been occupying the box on the counter both times I have visited but today he has strayed a little and is eyeing up the snacks. He doesn’t seem to realise how large he is and I’m just waiting for him to accidentally knock something over but after gentle dicouragement away from the food he retires back to the crate.

The atmosphere is very calm with soft lighting and a playlist that I am pretty sure is the same as the one my old workplace used to place in the mornings (something on Spotify along the lines of “Coffee Break” or “Sunday Brunch”) plays quietly in the background. The coffee is pretty nice too and if you’re ordering a latte or a cappuccino expect a cat to be etched into the foam. There isn’t a huge selection of food but that isn’t exactly why you come to a place like this, the lovely women who run the cafe have enough mouths to feed without cooking up lunches for customers – at the end of the day this is a shelter first and a cafe second – which I found to be a very admirable ethos that is well-detailed on their website. All in all, I am just worried about furthering my reputation as a crazy cat lady without a cat and spending all my money in the process as moving to another country has left me in need of some affection from time to time and where else is the best place to get it but from a fluffy animal that chooses to sit in your lap.

 

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