A businessman from London who wanted to get out of the rat race has just opened a ‘cat cafe’ in Derbyshire.
Adam Chalan set up ‘Cat Village North’ on North Wingfield Road in Grassmoor last month.
Adam has already set up one cat cafe in London - and he sees both as part of his mission to show people the therapeutic value of his beloved pets.
“Before this I worked in the private sector,” said Adam.
“But my wife and I wanted to try something completely different.
“We both had a shared love of cats and knew they could help people relax and de-stress.”
The cafe’s ‘staff’ include eight felines - all of whom have their own distinct personalities and temperaments.
As if to prove the point, Nala - a beautiful savannah - decides to sit across my shoulders for the entire interview.
“They are funny cats,” says Adam.
“Nala’s personality is very loving and caring - but she was a bit much for my staff in London so she followed me up here.”
Adam says that as well as bringing people happiness, his cats can also help people recover from illness.
He says he will soon start free weekly sessions for people with autism, social anxiety, depression and other mental health problems.
“I obviously need to run it as a business but I want to try to make a little bit of a positive difference as well.”
“At our London branch we had one lady who had autism come in and she ended up applying to work there as a volunteer.
“I have suffered from depression myself and they certainly helped me.
“Now I want them to help other people as well.”
On the cafe side, high quality teas and coffees sit alongside a delicious array of cakes, muffins and scones.
The venue’s ambience is completed with relaxing jazz music and a wide variety of books for customers to peruse.
In the longer term, Adam has ambitious plans to open the UK’s first cat ‘hotel’ at his new premises.
“A lot of people don’t know we are here yet but the one in London took a few months to get going as well.
“Now we can get between 150 and 200 people through the doors in a weekend.”
They currently have four (human) members of staff, with kitchen personnel kept separate from floor employees to ensure the highest hygiene standards.
And, so far, the cafe seems to have gone down well with the locals, with many giving them five star reviews on Facebook.
One, Anna Knowles, said: “This is cat heaven for me - lovely people and the cats are treated like royalty as they should be.
“The cake choices are amazing too. Can’t wait to come back next week.”
And Kirsty Jacques said: “The staff are amazing and the cats are just adorable - so playful and affectionate.
“I will definitely be visiting again.”
To book your place, visit www.catvillagenorth.com or call 01246 857720.