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Visiting London's First Cat Cafe

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Tucked away off of Brick Lane in Shoreditch is a new cafe that everyone agrees is truly the cat's meow. Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium is London's first and only cat cafe. It is home to 13 rescue cats, each of whom was either adopted from a shelter or abandoned by their owners under varying circumstances. Visitors to the cafe get to enjoy the company of several lounging cats whilst sipping their tea and sampling a wide selection of tasty cakes in the Alice in Wonderland-themed space. Though cat cafes originally gained popularity in cities across Asia, the trend has moved to Europe and beyond as more and more people continue to flock to these novelty eateries.

What to Expect 

For those hoping to visit London's cat cafe, it's best to make a reservation ahead of schedule. Though they accept walk-ups on a limited basis, Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium is very popular and are often unable to offer a table to guests without a reservation.

There are 2 options for visiting the cat cafe.

General Admission -- Guests who would like to choose from the full menu on offer should select this option. There is a £6 charge for entering the cafe, which covers veterinary bills and basic costs for caring for the cats. This charge does not go towards any food or drink that is purchased at the cafe. There are a range of both sweet and savoury dishes to purchase, as well as several gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options. Guests are welcomed to stay for 1.5 hour slots.

High Tea -- Guests can also choose to come for high tea, which includes a sparkling drink, savoury treats, scones with jam and cream, a selection of cakes and biscuits, and tea or coffee for £35. Time slots for high tea are also 1.5 hours.

Following the Rules 

First and foremost, keep in mind that the cafe privileges the cats' needs above everything else. Therefore, guests are greeted with a long list of 'rules' regarding how to behave in the cafe and with the cats. Some of these rules include:

  1. Guests must let sleeping cats rest. They will awake sooner and will be more engaged if left undisturbed.
  2. Guests must not feed the cats human food
  3. Guests must avoid rough play: in particular, cat toys should never be used to hit a cat in the face to get its attention. Cat carers will ask guests to leave if toys are persistently dangled in the animal’s faces. All of our cats have perfect eyesight, so this behaviour is not necessary to secure their attention.
  4. Guests should not use flash photography
  5. Guests are not permitted to pick up and carry cats around – they are friends, not toys!
  6. Guests are asked to avoid persistently following and/or badgering the animals

Though the rules are enforced with the sole intention of keeping the cats' best interest in mind, some guests comment that the long list of regulations made them feel unwelcome and ill at east. However, most reviewers had no issues with the rules and greatly enjoyed their time at Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium.

 

About The Author

Canden Arciniega

Canden is a historian and tour guide in Washington DC with 4 published books about the city. She has written for HuffPost Travel and has been featured in the Washington Post, WTOP, and numerous other DC papers. She's also been interviewed by the BBC, NPR, Travel Channel and Discovery Family Channel. Canden is the producer of our podcast, Tour Guide Tell All With a M.A. in History from University College London and a B.A. in History from Elon University, she is an authority on D.C. history, and has led tours in the city for over 10 years. She currently resides in DC, but has also lived in London and South Korea, and has travelled to 28 countries. Her two children (both under the age of 4) have their passports and own frequent flier accounts.
Updated: February 18th, 2017
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