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Anger over Totnes 'cat therapy' cafe

By Herald Express  |  Posted: May 23, 2013

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A 'CAT cafe' will open in Totnes after being given the go-ahead by the council.

The Feline Therapy Lounge is the brainchild of former nurse and animal lover Liz Dyas, who believes the venue will help customers relieve stress.

But the charity Cats Protection claims the cafe will cause 'stress' to the cats.

Mrs Dyas, who has worked with animals for more than 25 years and has operated a cattery since 2008, said there was a trend for cat cafes in Japan, Austria and Russia and her Totnes venue could well be the first of its kind in Britain.

She did not want to make any comment on her new venture until it opens in the next two weeks.

All she said was: "I've had a lot of publicity, but a lot of it was totally wrong."

A sign on the door of the Fore Street venue says that 'a cat is medication without side effects' and the centre will feature 'professional cats'.

A spokesman for Cats Protection said: "Having raised our concerns with Totnes Town Council and South Hams Council planning authority, we are disappointed to learn it has been granted approval.

"We believe this kind of environment is not suitable for domestic cats because they have evolved as solitary animals and it is very likely some or all of the cats will become stressed as a result of being in a limited space with a continually-changing group of people."

South Hams Council's planning officers approved the plan through delegated powers.

A council spokesman said Totnes councillors Robert Vint and Alan Gorman were consulted by officers before taking their decision.

Cllr Vint said: "We thought it was an interesting idea in principle. Officers asked for a few changes and took on board our comments. Discussions are still on-going with the cafe owner."

Read more from Torquay Herald Express

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5 comments

  • nicold  |  May 23 2013, 8:22PM

    It depends what sort of cat you use. I remember having one that was housed in a cinema as a deterrent for mice. It was so friendly it would jump up on anyone's lap in the auditorium, as he wanted so much attention! Maybe they could 'employ' a monkey next! http://tinyurl.com/4zlpo9

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  • Hocus_Pocus  |  May 23 2013, 7:45PM

    What happens if the profesional cats get stressed, do they go to a human therapy cafe?

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  • vulcan  |  May 23 2013, 5:15PM

    Will pop in for a coffee but if I dont get a purring cat on my lap its the trading standards for me

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  • ineedtherapy  |  May 23 2013, 3:37PM

    Can somebody please tell me 'professional cats' are and in what way they differ from amateur cats. I am now worried that my own cat may be some poor facsimile of the real thing. Just how far out there with the fairies is this woman....

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  • JimmyJaxz  |  May 23 2013, 11:40AM

    This is what you get when you elect barking councillors.

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