BOURNEMOUTH'S Pause Cat Café will be hosting an afternoon tea party for elderly cat lovers to address loneliness and to celebrate International Day of Older Persons.

The not-for-profit café, in Bournemouth town centre, is home to 11 rescue cats and provides a relaxed environment for people and cats to enjoy.

Event organiser Steff said: “It is heartwarming to see how much joy the cats bring to our older guests, who often recall stories of when they used to own pets, but due to living arrangements, health conditions and other reasons, they are no longer able to.”

Recognising that many older people suffer from loneliness and isolation, Pause is hosting the event in the hope it will encourage new friends.

According to Age UK, more than a million older people in Britain go more than a month without speaking to anyone. 

Pause provides an environment to interact with animals in the presence of trained cat care staff, ensuring safety for both cats and visitors.

Bournemouth Echo: Alan and Petrus at Pause

Leah, a support worker at the café, offers training for people with disabilities and mental health difficulties.

She said: “The cats create the perfect environment to engage with people, they help break the ice and take any pressure and shyness away.”

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Aunty Anne’s Tea Party was named in memory of Pause’s oldest cat, which passed away in 2021, and was particularly fond of elderly visitors.

Members of the public can donate to Aunty Anne’s Tea Party on the Pause Cat Café website, and help contribute to an elderly person’s travel, food, and entry to the café.

Bournemouth Echo: Chloe, Manager of Pause

Dorset Blind Association (DBA) is supporting and promoting the event, which will take place on Thursday, September 28.

One of DBA’s community support workers, Heather, said: “It’s important to deliver a multi-agency approach to fully utilise the different areas of expertise, thus improving the ability to reach and support more people in the most appropriate manner.”

Pause was the south's first cat cafe and aims to raise awareness of animal rehoming. 

The site is home to cats which have been mistreated or become homeless due to owners passing away. 

The café aims to promote kindness through animal welfare, ethical eating, and community projects.