STROUD'S cat cafe has announced that due to "severe and unprecedented challenges and obstacles" it will be closing immediately.

Over the weekend, El Gato's Cat Cafe on Stroud High Street revealed that it would be closing this coming Saturday (November 9).

But then yesterday evening, the cafe team posted on social media that it would be closing straight away as its main shop window had been smashed.

A statement on El Gato's Facebook page said: "We are very sad and upset to announce that next Saturday the 9th November will be our last day as a cat cafe at 27 High Street, Stroud.

"The last few months have been absolutely brilliant, in so many ways, and despite a minority of naysayers and saboteurs our cafe has been a success both financially and in terms of the wonderful experiences our visitors come back and again for."

The post continues: "Sadly we have been presented with severe and unprecedented challenges and obstacles with the shop we have been renting that's made it impossible for us to stay and work as a cat cafe and provide a safe space for our cats. Despite trying very hard, we have been unable to secure alternative premises to move straight to."

Customers who were planning to get one last visit in had their hopes dashed when, yesterday evening, the date of the closure was brought forward with immediate effect.

Posting last night, the message reads: "We were distraught and upset when we arrived to find our cafe window badly cracked and smashed this morning, in what looks like vandalism. It has been reported to the police, and we hope it will be taken seriously.

"Our cats are luckily safe, but as we will have to wait for a new window and the window is unsafe, with the cracks expanding with heat and moisture and at risk of collapsing, we have had to make the horrible decision to immediately close the cafe and take the cats to our home for their safety.

"We are so sorry, will have to cancel all bookings for this week and refund you for this."

There was however a note of optimism, with the owners "looking to re open next year".

Regulars who had got to know the cafe's four felines were told not to worry about them.

"We have found Shimmi, Neko, Miz and Gnairi wonderful, loving and good homes, the post reads.

"We will share updates here about how they’re getting on."

El Gato's Cat Cafe was opened this summer by Debbie and Des Hicks.