by James Glazebrook
What’s allowed: stroking, cuddling, watching. What’s not: restraining, disturbing from sleep, pulling of tails, flash photography. No, you’re not reading the new list of rules for Berghain, but a guide to what you can and can’t do in Neukölln’s Pee Pee’s Katzencafé.
I hadn’t considered getting my own pet in Berlin for the first six months or so of my new life here. Nevertheless, I was told, by an expat older and wiser than myself: “After you’ve been living in Berlin for a certain amount of time, you’ll just get this urge to get a pet”. And sure enough, I’ve now begun to suffer from this peculiar affliction. I guess when you don’t have that just-off-the-boat pressure to discover a new club every weekend, you have considerably more time for ensuring that an animal other than yourself is fed and cared for.
Luckily, since I live in a fifth floor flat, more immediate help is at hand. Pee Pee’s Katzencafé (despite its unfortunate name) is designed for people like me to get our stroking, cuddling and kitty-watching fix. The place is filled with a number of cat climbing frames for feline entertainment. When I visit, both cats (Pelle and Caruso – brothers!) are curled up on the top of a frame each. They pass my own personal cuteness test with flying colours, but also had to pass slightly more official tests to be sanctioned for public consumption. As did their owner, Andrea, who filled out pages of questions to show that she knew everything there is to know about cat care – yep, German bureaucracy extends to felines too. It’s this bureaucracy that keeps the cats to just two in number – no more are permitted in a space of this size.
Boasting WLAN (I’m telling you this because, as a freelance writer/nomad internet user, it’s the first thing I look for in a café), it’s calm and relaxing, just next to the beautiful Thomashöhe, in the quiet bit of NK between Hermannstrasse and Karl-Marx Strasse. Its coffee (contrary to what Exberliner might say) isn’t up to the scratch of the Neukölln’s more trendy coffee places, but their New York cheesecake (a speciality according to Andrea) could definitely give the rest of the cheesecake brigade a run for their money.
It might not be the trendiest place, but if you’re having one of those days where your mood can only be improved by getting close and personal with a lil furry thing, it seems like a fair deal. #Miaow.