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."