This article originally appeared on VICE UK
If there's one thing you can say about England's Midlands, it's that it knows how to make things incomprehensibly bleak. The Midlands, which makes up an upsettingly large amount of the UK, can take any concept or event, and shower its rainy sadness all over it, soaking it through with the dirty cloud water of malaise. The latest victim of the Midlands' black hand of misery is the cat cafés, a fairly innocuous and smiley idea that the Midlands has somehow managed to take a giant hypodermic needle to and inject with 10ccs of existential anguish.
Up in Leicester, whose citizens have recently fallen victim to a spate of odd-door-numbered burglaries, there sits a cat café called "Cats, Cakes and Coffees." It was opened by Lisa Rivers, who took the ten cats she already owned from her home to the café. Having been open for less than a week, Leicester City Council began to receive complaints about the hygiene in the place.
A man named Dominic Shellard, who is the vice chancellor of Leicester's DeMontfort University, a pretty posh name for a teaching assistant if you ask me, claimed that the café "had an overpowering smell of cat feces," and that the cats themselves "looked very sad."
Now, I'm not calling Mr. Shellard a liar, but cats are facially one of the most expressionless animals in existence. So while Mr. Shellard may have seen a sad cat, rapt in the dispiriting milieu of this supposedly smelly café, everyone else may have seen a cat that was just sort of... there. In fact, a more effective barometer of a cat's emotions is to see how much they're screeching and scratching at your legs. If either or both of those things are happening, chances are you've got a sad cat on your hands.
The situation serves as a warning to all other cat cafes in east London and urban infantilism districts worldwide: while domesticated, these animals still love to shit and piss absolutely everywhere. Have you never seen Trainspotting?
And you, haughty University guy who doesn't like the smell of cat shit, if you don't want to eat your pain au chocolate while smelling cat poop, then maybe don't go to a room full of fucking cats to eat it?
For her part, Lisa Rivers denies all allegations against her and the café, saying, "the cats have three sealed litter trays to choose from, which are also checked and cleaned as regularly as the rest of the cafe." Maybe the real villain here isn't Lisa Rivers, Dominic Shellard, or the cats. Maybe the real villain here is the Midlands: where any fun idea you have or kooky business you want to open will be crushed by an endemic grayness. Godspeed, Cats, Cakes, and Coffees. God fucking speed.
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