Prepare for cuteness overload. Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium finally opened last weekend. I and countless others had been waiting months for this vision, by founder Lauren Pears, to become a reality. Over the past several months, the cafe has had a significant amount of press. The popularity of this venture speaks for itself as the cafe is fully-booked for the next couple of months; there could always be cancellations, so more slots could become available.
Petra the cat has a catnap by the window
Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium was a crowd-funded campaign for the first-of-its-kind cat cafe in the city of London. These cat cafes are popular in Asia, and there are a couple in England, such as Totnes Cat Cafe in Devon and Koneko in Brighton.
Romeo snoozes next to Lucy
I first became aware of Lady Dinah's last spring through social media, but the crowd-funding had ended by that time, otherwise I would have donated. As I watched the progress materialise (on Facebook and other social media websites), from obtaining premises to planning permission to endless paperwork and red tape involved, I can see that this has been a trying experience and the owner has had to make some sacrifieces. All of the hard work has eventually paid off.
Romeo wakes from a nap and looks on
In fact, I was happy to see that the location (Bethnal Green Road) is literally around the corner from where I work. It will be a struggle for me not to make this a weekly habit once the opening period has quieted down a bit.
Wookie looks amused
Visitors to Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium can have a drink or something sweet, such as a selection of cake or cold savoury food. There is not a kitchen on site, so no cooked food can be served, but a selection of scones, cakes, and other sweets is available, and this selection changes daily. The tea is loose-leaf. I had a cup of Earl Grey and a slice of orange polenta cake while I watched a couple of other visitors dangle a stringy bit of cloth on a stick in front of a couple of the cats.
Tea and orange polenta cake
Visitors to the cafe can play with the cats. There are plenty of toys to keep the cats entertained. When the cats have had too much attention, they can simply retire to any number of 'nooks and crannies' or hide inside or behind furniture.
Mue hides away on the top of a shelf
The cats are also well-fed with plenty of food and water dishes placed out-of-the-way and around the cafe for them to drink and eat from. In short, these felines are treated like kings and queens with a number of devices to keep them entertained and a number of places to explore or rest.
Wookie drinks from a bowl
Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium is located over two floors. The basement area has comfortable seating arranged with a vintage map covering one of the walls, a large bookcase with various cat hideaways and boxes of toys for the cats. The ground floor area has larger tables and large street-facing windows for the cats to sit in and for visitors outside to admire the cats in the windows.
Lucy naps on a hammock above the stairs
Wookie joins me for tea
Along the ground floor room are several shelving units attached to the walls for the cats to climb on and to sit up high on. There are also a series of podiums in the window for the cats to lay on top of and attract people passing by the windows.
Romeo is sprawled out on one of the shelves
Romeo, Petra, Carbonelle and Lucy napping
The staff were knowledgable about the cats and knew each one's individual personalities. Many of the cats at the cafe are related to the mother, Mue (the Calico previously pictured). Loki and Adamska (two black kittens and not pictured in this post) are siblings. There were two of the twelve cats that I did not get to see or spend time with as they were asleep when I visited. The cats have been hand-picked for the cafe to bond together and for the right personality to enable them to cope with the attention.
Artemis seemed to have a particular fondness for this window seat
The cats got tired out during the end of my session and started to snooze. They seemed to appreciate when a lot of people were around to play, but when the people started to disappear, the cats took the opportunity to nap.
One visitor commented on how the cats seemed to bring people together and that people were quite happy to talk to each other about the cats. I guess cats are excellent ice-breakers to having conversations with complete strangers.
Donnie sits in the window
I have another booking in April, and I am looking forward to seeing the cats again and being able to spend more time with them than I was able to do during this visit. The bookings are in two-hour time slots, with a break in the middle of the day to give the cats a rest. Bookings are more information can be found on the website: http://ladydinahs.com.
Petra joins me for tea
Have you visited Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium? What did you think? Do you have a favourite cat? It is difficult for me to choose a favourite, but it would be a toss-up between Petra and Wookie. I have always been partial to brown/black tabby cats, particularly Maine Coons. Petra and her siblings also have slightly longer fur, so they may have some Maine Coon in them. The cat I owned and shared over half of my life with at the time of his death (he lived to be 16.5 years old) was a brown tabby Maine Coon. Petra would look just like him is she did not have the white bits, except for a white spot on her neck, on her. Roll on April so I can get my next cat fix.