I know I talk about animals a lot but there is a reason for that…animals are simply great. There is no doubt about it that every single animal is fascinating in its own way and even though I spend a lot of my spare time with them when I volunteer at London Zoo and with my own pets at home, there is still some sort of magnetic pull wherever I am in the world that has me heading straight for the nearest fluffy nosed creature around.
So when I heard that Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium, the UK’s first cat cafe, opened up in London earlier this year there was no doubt that I had to go.
When I mentioned to friends my plan to visit the cat cafe, a lot of people turned their noses up and gave me a look of bafflement: “Why would you want to go somewhere for food that is full of dirty smelly cats?!”
CATS ARE CUTE PEOPLE!!!
But, cuteness aside, cats are very clean animals. After hearing a few rules, washing our hands and paying a £5 guest cover charge that helps to feed these furry rescue animals, it was obvious that the place was kept extremely clean. Apart from the smell of fresh coffee and cake wafting our way, it didn’t smell of cat in the slightest and little bottles of hand sanitizer were dotted about for extra cleanliness.
We made our way past the tables and chairs to the cosy downstairs room with an assortment of mismatched armchairs, coffee tables and bookcases. As if cats and cake weren’t enough to keep me entertained, there was also the hint of a travel theme with a huge world map splashed across one wall.
We didn’t know what to do first – choosing between food and animals, two of my biggest loves, caused me a slight bit of angst! But, seeing as most of these cats seemed to be sound asleep in the little nooks and crannies around the room, food it was.
The menu was a simple one offering items such as bagels, sandwiches, quiche and of course lots of cake. I opted for a smoked salmon bagel purely because I thought the kitties would come purring around me, enticed by the fishy smell. But no, clearly the cats are well trained, as not a single one even lifted their heads in my direction or sniffed their little noses. If this was my cat at home, she would have been sat at my feet enviously watching every bite I took.
To polish it off, a mug of tea with a huge slice of red velvet cake couldn’t have been more delicious if it had tried. Seriously, so yummy!
While we were enjoying our food, some of the staff wandered round, dangling bits of string and fluffy toys in front of the cats, encouraging them to play. We all laughed as one cat slid across the floor and another dived into a play tube.
With a limited 2 hour session for diners, we got up ready and raring to play with the cats after we’d eaten, only to find that they had all gone back to sleep. Cats sleep an awful lot and one of the rules is that you can’t disturb them from their slumber so I was a bit disappointed I didn’t get more cat time but cats do what cats do, and that is sleep. A lot. I did manage to get a bit of a stroke with Mue, the Queen Bee of the Cat Emporium, who looked nice and snug when I left her napping in the big armchair.
For cat lovers this is such a fantastic place to hang out whether you’re after trying somewhere a bit different or just want to relax surrounded by some furry little friends.
As a side note, anyone who isn’t interested in the cat cafe but would go to a dog diner (yes, I have had people telling me they’d visit if there were dogs instead), there is no way this would work. Dogs are messy, don’t clean up after themselves and crave constant attention. Your tea would either get cold or knocked off the table or would get gobbled up by a greedy pup before you even got a chance to take a pic.
Cat cafes are clearly the way to go and Lady Dinah’s makes a purrrrfect change to your usual cafe in London.
Have you been to one of the world’s cat cafes? Would you like to spend an evening in the company of some feline friends?