ARE YOU OPEN?
Yes we are! BOOK HERE
Our opening hours:
- Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday - 10am-6pm
- Sunday - 10am-5pm
- Tuesday - Closed
Latest bookable sessions are 1 hour before closing.
Sessions can be booked online up to 45 minutes in advance.
We may accept walk-ins at the door, space permitting. We do advise booking in advance to avoid disappointment!
Please ensure to read our House Rules. Agreement to these is a requirement for booking.
Unfortunately circumstances beyond our control delayed our renovation and opening date, but we never gave up and have been working as quickly as possible to be ready to open. We thank everyone who has supported us in our long journey to getting where we are today! Can't wait to meet mew!
WHERE ARE YOU LOCATED?
We are located at 8 Mercery Lane, Canterbury, Kent. CT1 2JJ United Kingdom.
Our closest car parks are Whitefriars, Watling Street, St Radigunds and Northgate.
Click here for a list of all Canterbury Car Parks
There is also a Park and Ride service
We have a wheelchair accessible sloped entrance, but please note our street is historic and has cobbles. Orange Street car park is the closest disabled car park.
DO I HAVE TO BOOK?
Canterbury Tails is a booking based establishment, this is to help ensure the safety and welfare of the cats, and enjoyment of our guests.
We recommend booking in advance as far as possible as we regularly book up - especially on weekends. We have a strict maximum capacity of 24 to ensure our café does not get overcrowded, with staggered entry of 12 guests every half hour to ensure our small kitchen can fulfil orders in a timely manner.
If a timeslot is not fully booked we may accept walk-ins on the day, but it is best to book in advance to avoid disappointment or wasted journeys.
Please ensure to read our House Rules. Agreement to these is a requirement for booking.
We also have booking specific FAQs on our booking page.
For any further questions, please see the rest of our FAQs or contact us
We do have a gift shop at Canterbury Tails which is accessible to all without booking - feline enthusiasts of all ages are welcome to come and browse our paws-itively exquisite selection of cat-centric gifts at your leisure.
WHY IS THERE AN ENTRY FEE?
Unlike standard cafes and coffee shops we have a strict maximum capacity, cannot cater to quick takeaway trade, and have far more overheads to cover due to the nature of caring for 20 cats.
Think of us as a unique day-out experience, rather than a standard coffee shop.
The entrance price enables us to provide the best home for our cat crew, providing them with top quality food, bedding, toys, medication and specialised care where necessary.
Our standard entry is £10 per person for an hours cuddle session with our feline friends.
Thank you for understanding and supporting our mission to provide the best care possible for these fabulous felines. We can't wait to meet mew!
Additionally: We do have a gift shop at Canterbury Tails which is accessible to all without booking - feline enthusiasts of all ages are welcome to come and browse ourpaws-itively exquisite selection of cat-centric gifts at your leisure, while taking a peek through the interior windows and enjoying the cats in action!
DO YOU HAVE AN AGE REQUIREMENT?
Yes, kittens can be unpredictable, so to ensure the safety and wellbeing of both of our cat crew and all visitors, children under the age of 8 are not permitted to the café. This includes infants.
We require children under the age of 12 be accompanied by an adult, and we follow a strict 1 adult per 3 children policy.
It is the responsibility of the accompanying adult to supervise any children in the booking and ensure the House Rules are being followed at all times.
We are the fur-ever home for rehomed cats, some of which have had traumatic experiences in previous homes. We must ensure our cat crew feel comfortable and safe in their own home, and although we know some children would be well-behaved around the cats, this is unfortunately not the case for all, hence the age requirement. The safety and wellbeing of our cat crew is and always will be our top priority.
Don't worry though, younger feline enthusiasts can still get a daily dose of kitty cuteness on our social media. Additionally, if you find yourself in Canterbury - all ages are welcome to purrr-use our paw-some selection of cat-themed merchandise in our on-site gift shop, which also has windows into the café to watch the cats in action.
Bookings arriving with under-age group members will not be able to enter the café, and the booking would be non-refundable. See our full Refund Policy here
Thank you for your understanding.
CANCELLATIONS & RESCHEDULING
Bookings are able to be re-scheduled up to 24 hours in advance, and cancellations made up to 48 hours in advance.
Links to do so are included in your booking confirmation email, sent after completing checkout.
No-shows and cancellations made within 48 hours of a booked session are non-refundable, as due to our limited capacity have a large impact on our daily running.
Thank you for your understanding.
See our full Refund Policy here
DO YOU SELL GIFT VOUCHERS?
Yes we do! Get yours here!
They are the purrfect gift for any feline fanatic!
Vouchers are available in multiple amounts, and are able to be spent on any Canterbury Tails service - entry, food & drink, café gift shop, or online store - it's entirely up to mew!
We are paper-free for the environment, but have a digital voucher which can be printed off at home if you would like to give a physical voucher as part of a gift.
Gift vouchers are non-refundable, and are valid for 6 months from date of purchase.
ARE YOU ACCESSIBLE FOR THE PHYSICALLY DISABLED?
Yes we absolutely are! We have a step-free sloped entrance into the café, with a 1m+ front door width. Our waiting area has a large open central area to allow space for wheelchair users. Our secondary doors into the café area we personally custom designed to have the main (extra wide) door swing both ways for ease of access, and the panel under the beam next to this is actually a half door which is able to be unlocked to allow for nearly 2m of width, allowing ample space for all sizes of mobility aids.
During our renovations we also built customer WC facilities on the ground floor, which are disabled accessible and size compliant.
Although we did look into the possibilities of accessibility aids to our upper floor, unfortunately due to the listed status of our building we are unable to provide assisted access to the first floor, but there is more than enough seating on our ground floor to cater for group bookings with mobility aids. Additionally, the cats like to lounge across all 4 floors of our building, so don't worry, you won't be missing out on cuddle time!
Our furniture is light & movable, allowing us to rearrange the layout should it be needed to not only accommodate multiple group sizes, but also mobility aids. We have higher tables where we are able to seat those in wheelchairs still in their chair, if they are unable or do not wish to leave their chair.
Online on our mandatory pre-booking questions we ask whether accessible downstairs seating is required, letting our team know beforehand which bookings may arrive with mobility assistance, allowing us to designate appropriate tables & prepare the space for the visit.
Orange Street Car Park is our closest blue badge holders car park, and is located just one road over from us.
We must warn you though, Canterbury is of course an ancient city, and with our very central location we are located on one of the most historical streets (our building alone dating back to the 1300s!) and there are cobbles along our street, and a few surrounding. The flagstone pavements are generally smoother than the cobbled roads, but cobbles are definitely something to bear in mind when visiting Canterbury in general.
If you have any questions feel free to contact us.
WHAT IF I'M A CARER?
We offer half-price entry for a carer accompanying the person they care for. Carers will need to book their entry along with standard entry for their ward before their visit, as we are a new and small independent business, and are a booking based establishment with a strict maximum capacity in the interest of welfare for all, including the cats.
Carers will be required to provide proof of carer status upon entry to the café (eg app/card).
CAN I SEE THE MENU?
Abso-mew-tly! Check out our Menu here
HOW MANY CATS ARE THERE? CAN I STROKE THEM?
We have 20 resident feline family members here at Canterbury Tails. Check out the Meet the Cats page for an introduction to everyone before your visit, and make sure to follow our social media channels for even more cat crew content!
Before your visit please read our House Rules to ensure safety and security for all.
CAN I TAKE PICTURES?
Abso-mew-tly! Please read our guidance on photos and videos in our House Rules.
We reserve the right to share and use any photos taken on premises of the café interior/cat crew, and including on the street outside of café frontage, for our own social media posting, café related promotion and website usage. By placing a booking you agree your photos/videos can be used in this way.
Please note Canterbury Tails uses security cameras in the interest of safety and security of the cat crew, and all customers and staff. By placing a booking you acknowledge and agree that you may be recorded on video. Please be assured the footage is only used for security purposes and is stored securely. We value your privacy and will only disclose the footage as required by law or to investigate any incidents that may occur on our premises. We are ICO registered. If you have any concerns or questions regarding our use of security cameras, please do not hesitate to contact us.
WHAT IS THE POINT OF A CAT CAFE?
We can't comment for all cat cafes around the country, but in general, they have the same point as any attraction or café would have, but combined - to provide a unique & fun experience, plus tasty treats & drinks to enjoy, whether just in some down time, a day off, or as a little trip out or celebration of an event!
More specifically for us - all our cat crew have been rehomed from situations they could no longer stay in, so we are providing a forever home for animals in need, including many with speciality needs who require a higher level of care than your average house moggy.
Canterbury also has a large student population, large assisted living population, is a prime commuter location, and is a tourist hub, which means there are lots of people away from home who will be missing their own animals, or are in accommodation that does not allow pets or is unsuitable for pet ownership, so we are providing them the opportunity for some much needed cat time. (On top of those people who just love a cat cuddle, pets of their own or not!) Fun Fact: spending time with cats has actually been proven to be beneficial for mental wellbeing.
Additionally, once we are more established, plan to run speciality sessions including community craft groups, education talks, student study specials, and have always planned to setup a helping-hand rehoming scheme for cats in the local area that are looking for their forever homes, so our point is to create a wonderful and beneficial community hub for all to enjoy.
ARE THEY RESCUE CATS?
All members of the cat crew have been rehomed from different situations they could
no longer stay in. Check out the Meet the Cats page for everyone’s backstory and to get to know them all a little before your visit.
DO THE CATS STAY HERE? HOW ARE THEY PROTECTED?
Canterbury Tails Cat Café makes up just the lower two floors of our building, with the upper two being private areas for the cat crew and staff. Number 8 is their full time fur-ever home, so they are not moved about daily.
Security measures including newly installed custom alarms, cameras and security shields are utilised to ensure the safety and security of the cat crew at all times.
Please note: Canterbury Tails uses security cameras in the interest of safety and security of the cat crew, and all customers and staff. By making a booking you acknowledge and agree that you may be recorded on video. Please be assured the footage is only used for security purposes and is stored securely. We value your privacy and will only disclose the footage as required by law or to investigate any incidents that may occur on our premises. We are ICO registered. If you have any concerns or questions regarding our use of security cameras, please do not hesitate to contact us.
WHAT ABOUT HYGEINE?
We operate a strict daily cleaning regime throughout Canterbury Tails to ensure the environment is kept clean for guests, team members, and the cat crew. We comply with all health and hygiene regulations.
The Cafe Areas
We have daily cleaning throughout the café from 8:30am until open, and after close, including but not limited to; hoovering and steam cleaning, changing and washing soft furnishings, as well as wiping down all tables with food and animal safe disinfectant between booking slots, and spot checking through the day.
Additionally, we have a fortnightly "deep clean" every other Tuesday (our closed day) where we have team members in to purely spend time with the cats and check and clean the café thoroughly, moving all furniture and checking top to bottom, including dusting and wiping hard to reach places.
Cats are not allowed in the kitchen area. We have a custom designed pass-through unit divide in our first floor café room for team members to pass trays in/out of the kitchen. This means no doors are constantly open and closing, therefore reducing the small risk of any sneaky kitties getting through. The multi-level design also separates used returning trays from new trays going out into the café.
We have multiple windows into our kitchen areas, and guests are welcome to look in and see our kitchen team in action! Watch your sausage roll and croissants come freshly baked out the oven, your hot drinks be individually made by our barista trained team on our gorgeous Sanremo Zoe Vision Espresso Machine, and marvel at our rainbows of syrup flavour selections and (definitely not obsessed!) tea wall.
The cats have multiple litter boxes away from customers in the cat welfare room on the 3rd and 4th floors above, and in their private kitty-loo on the ground floor. There is an air filtration unit in the ground floor kitty-loo, which catches and filters any dust and smells. We also have a speciality kitty-cupboard on the first floor, housing one additional litter box built into their custom kitty climbing frame which makes up the cat crew's own route downstairs into the café from their dedicated cat welfare room on the floors above. All litter boxes are checked by staff throughout the day to ensure cleanliness for all. We complete steam cleaning in the cat welfare room multiple times a week, and spot check daily.
We use a plant-based wood pulp litter, which is extremely good at clumping, ensuring all used litter is easily scooped and disposed of. Additionally, it is much kinder to the environment than traditional mined clay-based litters, or newer silica based ones, and stays dryer and therefore cleaner. Additionally unlike clay litters, it generates little to no dust, which is also non-toxic if inhaled by cats when digging. Find out more about our kitty litter here! We use slotted litter mats in front of our litter boxes to catch any pieces of dry litter that my get caught in our cat crews fluffy feet when exiting, and reduce (clean!) litter treading through the café.
The majority of the Sphynxes are bathed weekly, or more often as needed. The two pink boys however are bathed more frequently, Gary daily, and Binx every other day.
DO THE CATS GO OUTSIDE?
The cat crew are indoor-only cats. Canterbury Tails is located in the centre of Canterbury which is unsuitable for the cat crew to roam free, but they are not left lacking on space!
We are situated over four floors, the lower two making up the café, and upper two being private residence for the cat crew. The upper two floors are not accessible to guests, but remain accessible to the cat crew and staff at all times, including to their own dedicated cat welfare area, meaning their interaction with guests is completely on their own terms.
Each member of the cat crew has always been an indoor cat, so they do not know any different. Additionally, many of them are indoor-only breeds, for a variety of reasons, safety being the top factor.
They are unaware of the dangers present outside, such as vehicles and other animals, or even unkind humans. Some breeds such as the sphinxes are unprotected from cold, cuts and scratches, and along with the white cats, are vulnerable to harm from the sun, which can lead to skin burns and cancers. We also have a resident deaf cat, and other cats who require speciality care or diets, so a controlled environment is essential for their ongoing wellbeing.
HOW WILL YOU STOP THE CATS GETTING OUT INTO THE STREETS?
Everyone knows cats are great escape artists, but rest assured every precaution is taken to ensure the safety and security of the cat crew. There are double doors between every exit to outside with a holding area between each, creating a safety zone to stop the cats running straight out into dangerous public areas, should they ever feel the inclination.
WON'T THE CATS BE STRESSED OUT?
The cat crew have lived together for 2 years (or their entire lives, for our younger cat crew members) previously before the opening of Canterbury Tails. They are all used to being together and get along great - it’s not unusual to see them snuggled up sleeping next to one another or playing together.
Each cat has been carefully selected and monitored for months prior to moving to Canterbury Tails, to ensure they have the correct temperament for a café environment. Happiness and wellbeing of the cat crew is our upmost priority. Each cat is incredibly friendly and actively seeks out attention and affection from people. They have previously been used to a multi-person household, and been introduced to outside guests in groups, so are used to meeting new people.
Should a cat ever feel the want to have some quiet time away from guests to the café, they have constant access to their own private “cat welfare” space above the café, which is not accessible to guests, and spaced across two floors. Their interaction with guests is voluntary and completely on their own terms.
Our house rules also centre around the happiness and wellbeing of the cat crew, and agreement to them is non-negotiable. Please ensure you have thoroughly read through them when you book. We reserve the right to ask guests to leave the premises before the end of a booking without refund should we find the house rules are not being followed.
CAN I BRING MY OWN CAT?
Although we love all cats here at Canterbury Tails, please do not bring your own cat to the café. This is the cat crew’s home and bringing an unexpected and stranger feline into the mix would be very stressful for not only them but also your own cat, and could prove dangerous for all.
WHAT IF I'M ALLERGIC TO CATS?
Unfortunately, we don't recommended a visit if you're allergic to cats! If you are booking for a group, please check for allergies before making your reservation.
For those with allergies just to fur, while we do have 6 hypoallergenic resident sphynxes, we also have 15 furry felines - which means there is a lot of fluff to contend with!
CAN I ADOPT A CAT?
Canterbury Tails is the full time fur-ever home of the cat crew, so we are not looking to adopt out any of our café cats.
However, we are in the process of setting up our own adoption and fostering system to aid local cats still looking for their forever homes - watch this space!
CAN I WORK / VOLUNTEER AT THE CAFE?
Thank you for your interest! We received an overwhelming response to our job posting and are currently not accepting any further applications.
Future job opportunities, when and if they become available, will be posted to our social media channels, in our newsletter, and here on the website.
Our closed day - Tuesday - is our "volunteer day". If you would be interested in helping keep the cats company this day, send us an email at email@example.com Please set the subject heading to VOLUNTEER so your application gets through to the right place.
Please note: Cat nannies, voluntary or hired, will be required to scoop litter trays and carry out general cleaning, as these are integral to the day to day running of the café.
I'M A LOCAL CRAFTER/BAKER/ARTIST, CAN I PARTNER WITH YOU?
Independents supporting independents – we love it!
If you think your small business could work well with ours, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with who you are, what you do, why you think we'd be the purr-fect match, and we will get back to you soon as we can!
DO YOU ALSO RUN THE HERNE BAY CAFE?
We are no longer affiliated in any way with the Herne Bay café. It was with a heavy heart we were forced to step away from the running of the establishment due to unreconcilable differences and contractual inaccuracies.
We so appreciate all the love and support from everyone we met over the months we were involved, and hope to see you in Canterbury very soon!
We accept cash & all card types, including American Express, ApplePay and contactless.
Gift Cards can be loaded into your Apple Wallet for ease of use. Please follow instructions on your gift card purchase email.
To use gift cards in-store, please ensure you have the last 4 digits of your gift card code.
Minimum £5 spend in the gift shop for card transactions.
DO YOU TAKE DONATIONS?
Thank mew so much for your generosity!
We do accept donations of pretty much any cat-related kind - toys, bedding, climbing frames, food, treats, and so on, as well as decoration and books! Anything donated that we do not have a use for will be donated to a local community bank we are affiliated with.
Please email email@example.com for information on cash donations.