For five weeks in the summer of 2019, I worked as an intern for Pause, a cat cafe in my home town of Bournemouth. Officially, I was their summer Media, PR, and Events Intern, and my role was to manage the café’s social media presence and organize and promote their regular events. But, like any job role, I took on extra tasks when needed, and overall I loved my time at Pause. Not just because I got to work alongside twelve of the friendliest cats in the world every day, but because everyone there, from managers to volunteers, is so welcoming.
As with any job, no day at Pause is the same as the last. Being a café, there’s always something going on, even when closed. As my role included talking to customers both online and face-to-face, not to mention adapting to what was happening in the café on a given day, some days were completely different to what I expected, but always enjoyable nonetheless.
So, here is what a typical (if there is such a thing in a cat café!) day in my life as an intern with Pause looked like…
I would often arrive early to the café due to the bus schedule, and wait outside until 9am for the overnight cat care volunteer to open the door. Every night, one of the managers or volunteers will sleep overnight in the café to keep the cats company. Once I had been let in, I would sign in to the volunteers’ book, and use the hand sanitizer provided, just like customers have to. Usually, the morning cat care volunteers would arrive at the same time as me.
Mornings at Pause are a very varied thing. Sometimes, I would open my laptop and start working, and be undisturbed until it was time for the café to open to the public. But more often there would be other things to do and help with, like cat care, café prep, opening the front door to deliveries, and yes, playing with the cats. One morning of my internship I even volunteered to tidy the understairs cupboard and podium behind the till area, as it hadn’t been touched in a long time since everyone was so busy, which was a thoroughly satisfying task.
After my first week at Pause, the cats knew to expect me every morning and some even waited inside the door for me to say hi to them! If you’ve ever been “chosen” by a cat, you know it’s a great feeling!
All of the staff and volunteers at Pause are known to have a “favourite”, or a cat that favours them more than the others, and I have to say it’s a very tough decision. For me, it was a daily switch between Petrus, who loves to sit on the shoulders of whoever is available to be his “cat taxi” for the morning (if you’re lucky he’ll even give you a lick as a thank you), Pumpkin, or Max, who are brothers, both ginger, both the most docile, chilled out and loving cats you’ll ever meet.
Work that I would get on with on my laptop first thing in the morning would be responding to customer inquiries on Pause’s social media platforms and emails, responding to emails specific to marketing, and adding names from the sign-in sheets at the front of the café to the newsletter mailing list.
On every day except Tuesdays, Pause opens its doors to the public at midday, and it’s around this time that I would have to move from my place in the main café area to the downstairs area or the office, as we quickly filled up with customers. Especially since I was working at Pause during the school summer holidays!
So, taking my laptop with me, I would go down and set up my work there, continuing on with whatever task I had that day.
Lunch! Working in the heart of Bournemouth was lovely for my lunch breaks, not so much for my bank account! I tried to take food with me and eat in the gardens when it was sunny and hot, which it often was, but when it rained or wasn’t ideal weather you could often find me in Waterstones café with my book.
Back to Pause for the afternoon. Working downstairs with my laptop meant finishing tasks left to do for the day. This could be anything from organizing upcoming events, liaising with other organizations for Pause to work with, to writing and publishing social media and blog content. As there are also tables for customers in the downstairs of the café, I often helped the cat care volunteers to make sure customers are being careful around the cats, not picking them up, or even making sure a certain black cat named Noodle didn’t pinch someone’s nachos (which happened more often than we’d care to admit!).
During my time at Pause, I completed a lot of tasks and projects that I was proud to have involvement in, for example, writing a blog post for their website and newsletter, writing social media content that was more fun and relaxed than the type I’ve worked on (see below!), and even creating graphics for socials and events!
My workday ended at 4pm when the café closed to customers. I would often stay a bit later just to talk to the other staff and play with the cats some more, as who could resist these faces?
Overall, I loved my time at Pause. I learned a lot about myself and how I work best, and it was great for my confidence and having faith in myself, too! Jaya and Chloe were often busy with lots of other things, so I had to use my initiative and creativity to come up with new ideas and ways to expand Pause’s marketing and reach new audiences. I learned that I love being creative and making content for online, but also that I really enjoy somewhat “menial” tasks like emails and taking charge and organizing people when no one else can. My time there even increased my love for cats, if that’s possible, and I now dream of having my own cuddly ginger fur-babies in the future.
Thanks for reading! ‘Til next time,