How to Take Your Cat to a Café or Restaurant
Ever thought about having brunch with your kitty at your favourite cafe?
It’s totally possible!
And you’re not limited to just having brunch with your cat. If you can find the right cat friendly businesses, you can even enjoy a beer or dinner with your cat at a pub, a brewery, and more.
What to do before taking your cat to eat out with you
Taking your cat to brunch sounds like a lot of fun, but there are a few basics to cover before doing so.
The biggest thing is to make sure your cat is suited to be a catexplorer, is harness trained (sign up to our free guide on harness training here) and can travel in a safe spot like a cat backpack or a stroller.
We also recommend doing a few other forms of catexploring so that your cat is used to being around the unexpected aspects of catexploring like, strangers, smells, sounds and animals.
How to find cat friendly cafes, restaurants, breweries and more
As a catexplorer, it is a great idea to always have your eyes peeled (both online and offline) for those places that you can take your cat. Perhaps you’ll find a quiet hiking trail, or a park or that quaint café with outdoor seating. And then one day you can come back to those spots to do some catexploring.
Research before you go
To make it easier for you, it would be great to research the eatery or brewery before you turn up with your cat.
Pet friendly apps
There are many apps and websites that are dedicated to helping you find pet friendly places and activities. Some examples include:
Bear in mind that pet friendly does not always = cat friendly, so some further research may be required.
Time to do some website & social media stalking
Once you have chosen an eatery, it is time to do some further research on that particular location.
An easy start is to check the business’ website to see if they have a pet policy.
Another option is to look at their social media accounts. Have they posted about animals at their locations?
It is also a great idea to look at the photos the business has been tagged in as well as the photos that have tagged the businesses location. Not only will this show whether other pets have been there, but it will also give you an idea of the businesses layout and help you prepare.
For example, is the only outdoor, pet friendly seating in an area that has no rain cover? It is probably not the best location to visit when it is raining. Or, is the outdoor area on the sidewalk of a busy main road? There is a chance that this might scare your cat and it won’t be appropriate. Or is there a loud DJ on the patio? That patio may be too loud for your kitty.
When in doubt – ask
If you are still concerned that the café is not cat friendly, it doesn’t hurt to call, email or even DM the business on social media to check if they are pet friendly. You can even mention that you will be bringing a well-trained cat (use a similar spiel from here).
Finding cat friendly locations while on the go
Sometimes we do not have the luxury of forward planning to find a cat friendly eatery, especially if we have had a long day of catexploring.
Outdoor seating or a patio
A general rule of thumb is that eateries are more likely to be cat friendly if they have outdoor seating.
Many countries and states have laws that say that pets (including our cats) are only allowed in outdoor seating areas. In saying this, some indoor locations may be pet friendly, but they may be harder to find.
Signs of being pet friendly
A common sign that an establishment is pet friendly is pet water bowls on the floor. This means that they are likely to allow dogs.
There also may be dogs at the café. Try to pick a location that doesn’t have too many dogs or has a table that you can sit at that is far away from dogs. This isn’t because we don’t like dogs, it is more in case the dogs aren’t huge fans of cats.
When in doubt – ask
As always, if you are worried that they may not be cat friendly, you can always duck in and ask if they are pet friendly. The worst thing that can happen is that they say no and you find another fun spot to grab a bite to eat.
How to take your cat out to eat with you
Where to sit
To make sure that your cat is comfortable, we suggest choosing a table that is quiet and secluded (if possible). This means that they are less likely to be spooked by people or other animals.
If there are dogs at the café, try and find a table that is away from them to.
Leashed or not leashed
While it may be tempting to have your cat off leash while at an eatery, we recommend that you keep your cat on a leash. This is not only for their safety but also for the peace of mind of the other dinners. The last thing anyone would want while out for dinner, is a cat jumping up on their table and stealing some food.
Depending on the eatery, your cat may be allowed to walk on the patio while on leash.
Your cat’s safe space (cat backpack or stroller) is where they will likely spend most of your time at the café.
Most regions have a rule that animals are not allowed on the tables of businesses that serve food. Some even have rules that state that animals are not allowed on chairs, even when in their backpack.
Food and treats
You’re likely going to a café to have a bite to eat. And chances are that your kitty may be hungry.
So remember to pack some treats, food and water for them to have too.
Many catexploring kitties are really active and may not stay still for long enough for you to eat your lunch.
If youre kitty is like this, do a catexploring activity that they love and will feel stimulated by beforehand. This way, they will take the time at the café to do some people watching, rest and maybe even have a snooze. Perhaps you can visit the park beforehand or go on a hike.
If you’re nervous
It’s normal to feel nervous every time we try something new with our cats. If you’re in this bucket, perhaps visit an establishment that you know and have been to beforehand.
This will help you know what the layout & vibe is like and prepare accordingly.
And this will help you & your kitty have an awesome time.
After your visit
Cat friendly businesses are hard to find, and we strongly believe they should be celebrated.
If you have a social media account, share some photos or videos, tag the business account & their location and thank them for being cat friendly. Share what food you loved about that location.
Not only does it go a long way to help the business raise awareness, it will help encourage more businesses to be cat friendly.
And on top of that, it helps other catexplorers find out that the business is cat friendly too!