CATS are a bit like Marmite – you either love them or hate them. Katie Glazier loves them. And pairing her two passions – cats and food – has proved to be the purrfect recipe for a successful business.

It’s three years since Mog on the Tyne cat cafe opened on 24 Pudding Chare, just a few minutes walk from Newcastle Central Station, and it's shown there’s a lot of love for cats in the North East. As I stroll towards the quirky, colourful cafe, I hear mellow meows coming from the cobbled side street which is home to 11 rescue cats, two of which (Wobble and Ballet) have recently been adopted from Thailand.

As Katie opens a secured gate to let me in, I half expect some of the furry inhabitants to make a run for it, or to scurry away and hide as I enter their territory, but they don't. Instead, as I settle down on a comfortable sofa to chat with Katie, who's busy with her regular cleaning duties, curious cats peek out from bespoke feline furniture, while playful kitties climb clumsily up towering cat stands. Katie's attention to detail and hard work are evident – the place is spotless and there’s not a slight whiff of cat litter in the air. It’s no wonder Mog on the Tyne has been awarded a five-star food hygiene rating.

As a fervent cat lover, I'm in my element surrounded by her ‘family of furry friends’ and my face says it all as I pet Stan, the star of the show here. He was in an accident before he arrived at the cafe which means his tongue is always hanging out. In my books, that just makes him all the more adorable.

Downing cleaning tools to make me a drink from the cat-free kitchen, Katie says: “I love seeing people’s faces light up when they enter the cafe and meet all the cats. It's a wonderful feeling that they make people so happy.”

Inspired by animal cafes in Asia, Katie, who is from York but has lived in Newcastle since she was 18, thought it would be nice to have something similar in the North-East, where people can interact with cats in a calm cafe environment. "I've lived in Newcastle for a long time and consider it my home. I thought the city could really benefit from a place where folk could come and spend time with cats. It took a long time to convince people I was serious about opening a cat cafe and that I wasn’t just a crazy cat lady with a dream. My family and friends warmed to the idea and I've been overwhelmed by the support I've had from them and the local community. There are such a lot of cat lovers here, many of whom can't keep pets of their own. It’s amazing that after three years the cafe is still going strong.”

As we chat, comments from passers-by such as, ‘‘wow, look it’s a cat cafe’ make us laugh. “People are often tempted to walk in, which they can do, but appointments are recommended to keep the cats calm and to avoid overcrowding," says Katie, who employs six ‘knowledgeable and experienced’ staff, some of whom have qualifications in animal management.

The Mog on the Tyne team strives to raise awareness for cats in shelters. “We try to encourage guests who are thinking of getting a new cat to adopt from local shelters," says Katie."We hope that people who spend time with our cats will see that rescue cats can make great pets.”

Cat safety is paramount in the cafe. There’s a rule book which politely asks customers not to pick up the cats and educational information for small children about cat care. The cafe is even closed on Mondays to allow for some quality cat-napping time.

Customers can enjoy a bite to eat from the ‘human-only’ menu which includes tasty treats such as ‘pawninis’, soups, cakes, milkshakes, coffees and hot chocolates. Vegan and gluten-free options are available too. “All of our food is bought fresh from local suppliers daily," says Katie. "The food is kept completely separate, away from the cats, and we ask customers not to feed them any titbits so we can ensure they are eating well.”

Complimentary cat biscuits are provided for any customers wishing to feed the cats a treat. And on that note, Katie rattles a container filled with treats and says the magic words ‘Dreamies’. In a flash, she's surrounded by eleven happy cats purring and meowing at her feet in anticipation of a treat. “It's an absolute dream to be able to work around cats all day and give them a wonderful home,” says Katie, who has grand plans to expand the business into larger premises and maybe open a cat cafe in her hometown of York one day. Now, wouldn’t that be purrfect...

Mog on the Tyne

£5 entry fee and guests can book for an hour with a second hour at half price. Bookings are recommended to avoid disappointment. Mog on the Tyne hosts weekly events every Wednesday evening, such as cat bingo, a cat colouring evening and knitting with kitties. W:

Time for Santa Claws?

For Mog on the Tyne's 2019 annual calendar, Katie has teamed up with The Crazy Cat Photographer, who specialises in capturing purrfect photos of your furry feline friends. To celebrate this collaboration, customers who purchase a calendar will also receive a special offer on a cat photoshoot with The Crazy Cat Photographer - the cat's whiskers for family and friends who have feline friends.

The Crazy Cat Photographer: 07789-497540; Instagram: @thecrazycatphotographer

Pictures: Marie Westmoreland