By Resident Adorable Animal Expert Jake Reece Moggy

All across the UK, and many other countries around the world, most businesses and industries have shut down due to the pandemic. Only places considered essential have remained open, like chemists, doctors and shops. One woman from Gagingwell, a village in Chipping Norton, has always refused requests to shut her company down from the local council since the lock down was put in place. 56 year old Nora Clegg’s company, Clegg’s Kittenarium, is a place where families can go to watch kittens basically do kitten stuff – falling off things, play fighting, high pitched meowing etc, and has proved popular ever since Mrs Clegg opened it up just over two years ago. She maintains that her company provides much-needed joy and hopefulness in these desperate days, an argument she’s repeatedly stressed to the powers that be. I interviewed Mrs Clegg during a quiet-ish day, to find out how she’s coping with things.

TDJJ: “Mrs Clegg, I’ve never heard of such a place like this, it sounds so unique. Where did you get the idea to open up a place like this?”

NC: “Well, I’ve always loved kittens, and judging by the amount of videos on the internet I know I’m not the only one, what with their general clumsiness and round faces and that. I’ve had quite a few kittens in the past, but to be honest, I’m not so fussed when they start getting bigger and less humorous, so I just sell them on when they. I’ve adopted the same thing with the Kittenarium, I’ve got deals with several local kitten suppliers, and there’s a pretty fast turnaround. I’m proud to say we’ve never had a cat older than five months on display.”

TDJJ: “I guess the lock down has affected your business though. I understand your argument for staying open, but are you still making enough money with relatively few customers?”

NC: “Believe it or not yes, kittens are quite cheap to maintain. these one are, As you can see, most of the stuff they go on are cardboard boxes, hay, and a few planks of wood here and there. Very simple. We also buy their food and drink in bulk. So with tickets at £7 each for adults and £10 for children, we can still operate on a profit even if there’s only four customers throughout the day.”

TDJJ: “Would there be anything the council could say or do that would convince you to close?”

NC: “No, they’ve tried all sorts. I’ve told them the only way I’d close is if I get the virus myself. So far so good, I just wash my hands loads. I do tell customers to leave if they cough in the building though. I’m sure if they just look at the kittens for five minutes or so, they’d realise they needed the positive feelings they’d get from watching them mistiming jumps. But they won’t listen.”

TDJJ: “I note that your decision to remain open has proved very divisive in the village. I can see a lot of good your business does, but I can also see the other side’s argument, that social distancing is proving very difficult to manage, so therefore your place is dangerous. What do you say to those who have this point of view?”

NC: “This criticism might have come about because my latest influx of kittens are so cute it’s ridiculous, so everyone wants to see them in cages and cry charmingly. This means people have been huddling together and jostling for position to get a good look at them. I don’t do average or even quite good kittens, only use the best ones, so I let people know before they get here that it can get busy as I only deal with kittens that are adorable as hell. If people have an issue with this, then I guess small fluffy animals are not for you, and stay away.”

TDJJ: “Do you think though, there’ll be a time when it isn’t going to be your decision to close down you business?”

NC: “I’d say no, purely because pretty much everyone loves kittens, but another reason would be: where would the kittens go? My flat is too small to fit all 35 of them don’t want Do the council want them to be made homeless? Imagine the blacklash they’d get.”

Published by The Daily Jabjab

Hi, I'm from Stockport, Greater Manchester England. My plan on my blog is to hone my creative writing and write a post every day this year. It sounds daunting, and I'm sure things will evolve over time. Let me know what you think about my writing - any tips, useful websites and things like that would be quite lovely. Thanks for reading!

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