Arts & Entertainment


With Coffin Ed, Miss Death and Jay Katz

We were chuffed to learn this week that Sydney now has its own ‘cat café’, the Catmosphere Space Cat Café in Surry Hills, where feline tragics can fondle a moggie for a package deal that includes coffee, tea or hot chocolate and the choice of twenty-five assorted foster cats.

Cafés that cater for pets have been popular in Asian countries for a number of years, but this would seem a real first for Sydney. However, we do have to ask where this will all lead and whether the money hungry City Of Sydney Council will seize the opportunity to impose some kind of levy on the number of cats that can be housed – a bit like their exorbitant charges for tables and chairs on the pavement.

Sydney’s cat café hygienically separates the cat stroking from the food consumption areas, avoiding a problem that has so far foiled a similar enterprise in the normally laissez-faire city of New Orleans. Here a proposed cat café is facing the wrath of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals, intent on segregating the latte sippers from the fluffy nippers as well as satisfying the demands of a team or scrutinising veterinarians.

There is of course no truth in the rumour that Brigitte Bardot, the well known animal activist and sometime xenophobe, is planning to join forces with meat hating Morrissey and open a ‘feral’ cat café in Sydney. The pair recently launched a salvo at the Australian Government for its planned cull of two million feral cats, with Morrissey describing each of them as a smaller version of ‘Cecil the Lion’.

If such a café did go ahead, we imagine there would be no actual caressing of the ferals, unless punters wanted their faces ripped off. The beasts would be suitably caged and fed a constant diet of marsupial mice, lizards and an assortment of the endangered critters they have been rapidly exterminating throughout Australia in the last few decades.

On the other hand, we are all for embracing the native species that now call Sydney home and we’d love to see cafés open that allowed patrons to chat with a cockatoo, rummage with an ibis and frolic with a New Zealand fur seal (the latter of course is a reference to the loveable fur seal that has been squatting on the VIP steps of the Opera House for over a year now). Despite a supposed internet scam, where one enterprising villain was selling tickers for “SEAL LIVE AT THE SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE”, the State Government has recognised the ‘real’ seal’s presence and his obvious tourist potential.

Rather than leave the little fellow languishing on the VIP steps, we’d love to see him invited into the Bennelong Restaurant as a regular attraction, delighting well heeled patrons with the usual seal-like antics––balancing brightly coloured balls on his head, clapping his cute little flippers and letting out an endearing “arf arf”. Diners could further amuse themselves by tossing half eaten barramundi in his direction, thrilling at his dexterity as he plucked $75 fish dinners from the air.

In the meantime, Sydneysiders have been asked not to feed the Opera House’s fur seal, with a large sign indicating just that. We understand the obvious concerns, but how wonderful it would be if the Opera House became a giant feeding platform for all manner of sea creatures. Whales, sharks, dolphins and even giant squid could be lured to within inches of the Opera Bar with a daily dumping of krill and other fishy delights, turning the whole precinct into the world’s largest ‘fish café’.