A plan to open a crowd funded cat cafe next month has stalled thanks to an unexpected historic clause in the lease.
Gemma Whitehouse, from Elmswell, and Lauren Moyes, from Stowmarket, had hoped to open Catastrophe in St John’s Street in May in premises between Milpets and the old Casa del Mar site.
But Gemma said the owner of the property discovered a clause in the lease that stated that because there had been a slaughterhouse on the site it was not to be used for animals.
“At the last minute she hopped up and said ‘look at this’,” Gemma said. “We were about to sign the lease.
“We’re hoping to find something else – we’re talking to the council all the time and we’re calling all the agents.
“The thing is, we turned down three other properties because we thought we had this one and now they’ve all gone.”
The social enterprise has raised more than £2,000 through crowd funding and supporters were invited to the opening night.
Their aim is to provide a ‘safe and loving’ environment for about a dozen rescued cats which customers, who can choose quirky items like moggie mochas and Siamese sandwiches, can make a fuss of or just watch playing on obstacles built for them.
But Gemma says they will also to offer ‘pet therapy’ to people with dementia and disabilities.
Gemma said: “We’ve got agreements with the FitzRoy autism charity and Care UK. Others aren’t set in stone yet.”
The pair had applied to Bury St Edmunds Town Council for a £10,272 start-up grant but were turned down.
Catastrophe’s website is http://catastrophecatcafe.co.uk and it can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org