Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium is London’s first “cat café”, which means people can come into the café and enjoy a drink (and a snack!) in the company of some beautiful feline friends. It’s located in Shoreditch, near landmarks such as Brick Lane and Spitalfields Market. Easily reachable by public transport, the cat café is well worth a visit, and should you have the time you can explore one of London’s most vibrant districts.
The cat café is home to around 10 cats, many of whom are rescue cats from cat shelters. The cats all have wonderfully unique names, such as “Carbonelle”, “Adamska”, “Loki” and “Artemis”. Much better than your standard, run-of-the-mill “Tiddles”! They have free reign of the café, and can come and go as they wish. If they want some quiet time away from customers, they can retreat into the private parts of the café where people can’t go and bother them. However, most of the cats like to play with the guests, who are more than happy to put down their piece of cake and have a little bit of fun together.
The staff at the café are all animal-lovers and love to play with the cats themselves, but they’re really very lucky because they get to see the cats most days! There’s a really lovely atmosphere at the café – everybody is happy to see some of London’s most famous cats, and the cats are happy to be loved in return by so many people. People can catch up and bond over a cup of tea and a warm cat by their side, or an excitable kitten that wants to play. Of course, all the cats are completely adorable – the kittens are so cute you’ll want to snuggle them and never let go, and the more mature cats are elegant and graceful as ever they could be.
When you go in to the café, the staff tell you about the rules of the café, and you must wash your hands before going in. This is just common sense, but it also means you don’t make the cats ill. You also can’t feed the cats your food – imagine! A cat that lived on cake and coffee alone would be a tubby one indeed! The café is very keen to obey the animal rights laws of the UK, so customers are not allowed to pick up the cats, as it causes discomfort if they’re not picked up properly. Also, customers aren’t allowed to wake the cats from their slumber – after all, cats need 18 hours of beauty sleep a day! People must be gentle with them, as cats aren’t afraid to bite you if they don’t like what you’re doing. Only children over 8 are allowed in, as younger children are the most likely to be harmful to the cats.
Once you’ve been seated at a sofa or a table, and you’ve consumed your treats, you’re allowed to walk around the café to visit the cats. The staff will help you interact with the cats, tell you their favourite toys, and try and engage the cats in a lively game of chase. While away the time with a fluffy companion, with a strong personality to boot! The feeling you get when a cat pays special attention to you is unparalleled.
Lady Dinah’s is open 6 days a week and is closed on Wednesday’s for “cat-nap” time. It’s very busy though, so make sure you book in advance for your visit to London’s first (and totally awesome) cat café.
Photo credit: Tarryne Rolle