I was out to dinner last week at one of my favourite restaurants; it’s a restaurant with great food, a seasonal menu, charming service and a cat with an attitude to match her girth. To be honest the cat is one of the attractions.
After a wonderful meal my friend and I got talking to the head waiter, initially about wine (to establish our cultural credentials) and then about the cat (we’re not that cultured) who seems to oversee the restaurant with great authority.
Apparently cats are now illegal in Amsterdam restaurants for hygiene reasons, I can’t find anything online but in theory it’s due to an EU directive.
I can understand that cats might be a hygiene problem particularly if they’re not properly cared for, but there’s a very good reason to have a cat in an Amsterdam restaurant. These old buildings are riddled with mice, the mere presence of a cat acts as a deterrent. It works around here apart from the mice the resident cat brings in as gifts for me.
The other way to get rid of mice involves vigilance and chemicals. If I, as the customer, have to choose from a menu of cat, mouse, poison; I choose the cat.
So now restaurants are playing their own cat and mouse game with the inspectors. I’m on the side of the restaurants.
image from Andrew Beeston via flickr