Cat people of London rejoice! It’s finally here. Well, almost. The much anticipated Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium is almost ready to open its doors to a very eager public and last week we were lucky enough to get a sneak peek along with a few of our readers at a world exclusive kitten cream tea.
Cast your mind back to January last year when Lauren Pears first launched her crowd-funding campaign in the hope of raising enough cash to open London’s first cat café. It was touch and go to begin with, but after a month-long campaign, Pears managed to raise the £108,000 to get the wheels in motion and she thanks Time Out for helping out: ‘Because of you guys, we reached our crowdfunding target,’ says Pears. ‘Whenever a Time Out article came out, it generated a lot of chatter and more contributions.’ Now, just weeks away from opening, Pears has realised both hers and every cat-lovers’ dream with her fun and quirky venue.
The pastel-coloured interior of the soon-to-be hot spot in Bethnal Green is any pussy lover’s dream! With faux-vintage furnishings, more cat toys than you can shake at a herd of kitties, cat cushions and a cat wheel (!), this is the perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon.
With 12 cats roaming the café, there’s plenty to do and see:
Expect to see cats literally climbing the walls thanks to a number of mini feline-size staircases. Giving the cats a safe haven from over-eager hands, these shelves allow the kitties to prowl and observe from a safe distance. Just don’t linger under them for too long; you might end up with a cat on your head.
Gifted to the café by the inventors of the cat wheel, Maclaw, this unique exercise apparatus provides hours of entertainment for cats and humans alike. Just like your run-of-the-mill hamster wheel, this nifty device encourages the cats to exercise, but it can also leave them feeling a little squiffy. ‘They can come off feeling a bit zoned out,’ commented Pears. ‘It’s quite hypnotic.’
If you’re looking to get some work done while visiting the café, think again. These little critters are tech savvy. Here’s Carbonel and Petra on Lauren’s iPad playing with a kitty app. All the adult humans stood and watched (for much longer than they should have) in complete silence as the two kittens slammed their paws down leaving colourful paw prints on the screen while chasing a digital mouse.
The cat that doesn’t get the cream (tea)
As part of the two-hour experience at the café, you’ll be served a cream tea with a choice of scones and pastries accompanied with a range of teas. The menu is vegetarian with the hope of going vegan: ‘it’s just the cream part we haven’t figured out yet, everything else is vegan.’ And you don’t have to worry about fighting for your supper with the little furry scamps (at first) as all dairy products will be covered with a food net and there are bottles of anti-bacterial gel on each table. But, don’t be surprised if you find a paw trying to swipe your snacks. You have been warned.
Need a few more pictures to keep you going? Don’t say we’re not good to you!
With thousands of contributors, over 2,500 applications to volunteer and dozens of people stopping in their tracks to watch the kitties run past, we guarantee there’s going to be a queue to get inside. So take our advice, get your ticket meow… sorry, we mean now. Carly-Ann Clements