The Cat Cafe concept the has swept the nation of Japan, is coming to the Western world. The Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium, to be exact, modeled on Tokyo’s popular cat cafes, is set to open in trendy Old Street, east London.
Abandoned cats will soon be sharing cafe space with Londoners starved of feline affection if this Australian woman has her way. Lauren Pears, a video game executive originally from Brisbane, plans to open Britain’s first cat cafe in April after raising more than £109,000 ($161,570) through a crowd-funding website.
Miss Pears, 30, is already advertising for “professional cats” (staff) and says she is being bombarded with requests to start up a second coffee house in Brighton or Edinburgh.
She has approached an animal home about taking in between 10-15 “quite sociable” cats and also fostering felines at the cafe, which will be open six days a week, 12 hours a day and seat up to 50 people.
Lady Dinah’s will offer customers the chance to say hello to a cat while sipping a coffee and eating food for $7.60 an hour. “A cat cafe has the potential to create social situations that you wouldn’t otherwise get,” Miss Pears said. “You could have two strangers who’ll talk to each other in a cafe setting because there’s a cat in-between them. It’s disarming.”
The British Food Standards Agency allows animals in a cafe, but ”reasonable precaution” must be taken and be demonstrable to prevent domestic animals from accessing food preparation areas.
Lady Dinah’s, named after Alice’s cat in Alice in Wonderland, will offer lots of “high rest” places for the cats. Miss Pears will run a volunteer night watch program to make sure the cats are cared for. She wants the cats to have a “life of love and luxury”.
Cafes have also opened in Hong Kong, Vienna, Taiwan, Seoul, St Petersburg and in Sudbury, Canada. A few rabbit cafes have also sprung up in Japan and there is a crowdfunding campaign to to raise money to set up a sausage dog cafe in Brixton, south London. Patrons would even be allowed to walk the dogs.