November 8, 2015 – University of Guelph and the My Kitty Cafe

Owen discovered the existence of Cat Cafes a couple years ago while browsing on the internet.  He asked me if I would take him to one, however, at the time, the only ones I could find were in Montreal and New York city.  I told him we would go to one when there was one closer to home.  Since then there were one or two crowdfunding campaigns to open one in Toronto, but they were unsuccessful.

Last month, in my Facebook newsfeed, an article about a new cafe opening in Guelph popped up.  Guelph is just an hour away by car so we planned an outing for a couple weeks after the grand opening.  The cafe is called My Kitty Cafe and is located in the back of a variety and pet supply store on Wyndham Street North.  Just this weekend TOT, The Cat Cafe, opened in Toronto.  Owen and I will be heading out for another cat inspired adventure soon.

It was a beautiful autumn day so I planned a walk around the University of Guelph campus before heading to the cafe so we could get some fresh air and exercise.  Earlier this year I cycled in the Tour de Guelph, which started at the University, however, I didn’t really get a sense of how large it is until this visit.  I had also visited the Arboretum five years ago to enjoy the fall colours.  It is a huge campus with over 22K students.  It was Fall Preview Day for high school students so the campus was busy for a Saturday.

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Guelph seems to be further along in encouraging cycling than Brampton is and the campus was a mecca for cyclists with wide walkways and sparsely travelled roads.  The bike racks and repairs stations were terrific.

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The university has a nice mix of old and new buildings.

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Most of the trees were bare, but there was still some nice colour around the conservatory.

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The campus is quite large.  We set out in one direction from the car, walked almost an hour out and back, and did not reach the far edge of the campus, past the barns and fields where the Veterinary Science classes are held.

After our campus tour we drove about five to ten minutes to downtown.  Guelph, with a population of 120K, has an extensive and thriving downtown, especially compared to Brampton’s downtown even though Brampton has a population of 560K.  The potential for flooding by the Etobicoke Creek has stunted downtown Brampton’s growth. Guelph has a much more significant river, The Speed River running through it, but apparently dams were built upriver that have helped to eliminate flooding.  They have a lot of nice parkland along the river and have located their stadium, the Sleeman Centre, right downtown.

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Here is a view looking toward the Church of our Lady Immaculate at the end of Macdonnel Street.

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And here is a nice looking indoor mall on Wyndham Street North near the cafe.

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Here is Owen arriving at the My Kitty Cafe.

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The cafe is in the back of a variety and pet supply store.  You can order food and drink at the front and when it is ready you can eat it in the back with the cats.

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Ready to go meet the cats.

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There were four cats living in the cafe when we visited, although we only saw three. They were very friendly.

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One might have been hiding out in the private area for the cats at the back.

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Apparently 26 cats have been adopted through the cafe in the few weeks it has been open.  Two of the cats we saw were kittens and looked like siblings.

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There was a lot of upholstered furniture and a small bar at the back where one could eat if you preferred.  When I started eating while sitting in one of the upholstered chairs, one of the kittens was up on my lap in a flash trying to help herself.  There were lots of toys, tunnels, climbers and cat books available.  I had a chicken wrap and a coffee, Owen had packaged sushi and a hot chocolate.  We had a cookie and a cat themed cupcake for dessert. The food was reasonably priced, with a small selection.  However, it wasn’t a problem, because it was the cats that were the main attraction.

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Owen saying goodbye to one of the cats.

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I noticed that there is an art gallery nearby and I would have like to have explored downtown Guelph more, however, we had to get home to pick up Alun from a DECA competition so our stay was short.

We will definitely be heading back on another day.

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About Lisa Stokes

I am a stay-at-home mother of four whose hobbies include photography, quilting and cycling. I have recently started to advocate for better cycling infrastructure in my community. I am photographer and librarian at the Brampton Quilters' Guild. I build and maintain a community ice rink in my local park.
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