The Cat Hunt
Updated: September 2014
The Cat Hunt begins outside Boots on Coney Street (opposite the NatWest bank). Look for an old clock and seven gargoyles above one of the shops, and head past them. Cat #1 hangs out at number 25. If you see a little man tooting his horn above another clock, you’ve gone too far. After you’ve found the first kitty, keep walking past until you come to a large square – there are often street artists performing, ranging from a man dueting with his dog to a dancing bin bag! Head up the road where you can post your postcards. At the end, look for the white bridge and walk slowly in that direction, only a few steps! You don’t want to miss Cat #2!
Once you’ve spotted this purrrfect puss, walk back, past the road with the Post Office and keep going until you reach traffic lights. Turn right here. Soon you’ll find yourselves in the same square as before, with a better view of Betty’s, the famous tea shop. Turn left before Betty’s – this is Stonegate. See who can spot the Stonegate Devil! There is also the Cat Gallery on the right – drop in and have a look around! When you spot Minerva (the lady with the funny helmet on a corner above one of the shops), take the road to the left. You will walk past the Guy Fawkes Town House Hotel – just one of several places in the city reputed to be his birthplace.
Now you will see the Minster – magnificent, no? Who can see the gargoyles? Cross the road and walk up the road past Reed’s Cafe. At the end is Bootham Bar. There are four ‘bars’ that allow entrance into the city under the walls. Keep on the right hand side, and turn down the first right. Crossing the road will afford you a better view of Cat #3. You’ll pass the RSPCA shop on the right. If you reach the Salvation Army on the left without seeing Cat #3, you’ve gone too far, so have another look.
When you reach another set of traffic lights, turn right. You might like to walk along the grassy bank. You’ll notice the city walls – are there any people up there? Give them a wave! Keep walking along until you find Monk Bar – walk under it. Walk until you see crossed keys. There’s a brand new kitty above a vegetarian cafe here. Can you see him?
Turn back the way you came, and just past the Roman Emperor’s restaurant you will see a ‘sleepy’ walkway! Follow the road round to the right and then to the left. Who knows the name of the Patron Saint of Scotland? The next road you are looking for will tell you! Keep walking past some bollards and you’ll discover both Cat #7 and Cat #8 along here somewhere. Can you spot them? What’s unusual about Cat #8’s address?
Now, enter the ‘royal shape’. Okay, I’m being silly… who knows the real name of this area? Cat #9 lurks somewhere here, it likes to stalk pigeons. Have you found it yet? Also, say hello to new Cat #23! He likes to know the time! Walk down the road between Cats #9 and #23. Cat #10 lives down here, but it’s a bit tricky, as it’s not a statuette, but a silhouette! Can you spot it? It can be viewed best when walking on the right hand side. Also, who can spot Henry the vacuum cleaner?
Once you’ve reached the end of the road, cross over and walk down the road opposite. Look out for the statue of a man in a barrel (it’s in the window of a restaurant). You’ll cross over a bridge with a blue bicycle – who can see why the bike is there? When you’ve gone over the bridge, keep your eyes peeled for cats. Not only is Cat #11 quite possibly watching your every move, but the Cat Protection Shop is down here, too! Cat #11 has a companion on the same wall – what is it? Walk back up the road (pop into the Cat Protection Shop if you’ve time), and turn left. When you reach the mini-roundabout, look around. There is a second-hand shop nearby (named after a fruit) that often has strange things outside – perhaps you’ll see a knight in not-so-shining armour?
Cross the road and turn right and head back towards the city centre. When you reach the traffic lights, take the second left. You’ll pass by a church on your left. Keep walking past another set of traffic lights towards the bridge (keep on your side of the road). You ought to easily spot Cat #12 – or what’s left of him! – and Cat #13 before you reach the bridge. These two have been best of pals for ages! Once you have crossed the bridge, follow the path on your right, down the steps and along the River Ouse. Cat #14 can be spotted along this delightful walk. It’s quite far away, so look far and wide! If you listen carefully, you might hear one of the tour guides on a boat mention it as they pass.
Congratulations! You’ve found all the cats on the Cat Hunt! Walk along the river until you reach Lendal Bridge (the white one). You can either head over it, past Cat #2 and back into town, or you could continue your walk by taking a trip around the walls, if you were feeling energetic. There are marvelous views to be seen from up there!