Moggie lovers are the cat's whiskers after giving funding boost

Cat lovers have lent a paw to a feline cafe that has been left struggling during the pandemic.

James Radnor and Katie Fields of Paws Cafe
James Radnor and Katie Fields of Paws Cafe

Paws Cafe in Mardol, Shrewsbury, will be waiting until May 17 at least before it can reopen, and with expensive bills to pay to look after the 12 moggies, regulars have put their hands in their pockets to help. A regular "crazy cat lady" set up the page to help raise cash for the cats.

Katie Fields, who runs the cafe with partner James Radnor, is grateful for the help, but feels there should be more help available from government, especially when they have to reopen at reduced capacity and will have the same bills but a fraction of the usual income.

"It's hard for us, but everyone's struggling in their own way," she said. "We don't like to ask for hand outs, but we're not like a lot of other businesses which can just shut the door. We've got to feed the cats, pay for grooming and look after them. They need new toys and we have to change the environment to keep them stimulated and stop them from getting bored and depressed. That's more of a problem because they're not getting the stimulation of seeing our customers.

"We're working towards May 17. It's going to be difficult with the rule of six. You have to check to make sure people are only coming from two different households, then if they don't you could lose that booking. You don't get the government support, so for us we'll still have 100 per cent of our bills but maybe only 30 per cent of our usual income."

Atmosphere

Unlike some cafes, takeaway hasn't really been a feasible option for Paws Cafe, which is all about the cats and the chilled out atmosphere. Katie explained: "The cats are the main attraction. The cafe has a relaxing environment. It can be good for people with social anxiety.

She added: "We've built up a really strong community and a lot of our customers have become friends. We had a really good start when we launched and that has stood us in good stead to deal with the last year. We've tried to do things like run an online shop, which did really well at first. But even the craziest cat lady only needs so much stuff."

Last week the cafe raised £500 to support Graham Garmston, aka Farmer Bob, who may lose his home of 57 years in Myddle and may need to rehome his 30 feral cats. And Katie appreciates the support Paws has had from kind-hearted cat aficionados so far.

To donate and help Paws look after their cats visit gofundme.com/f/save-paws-caf

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