I knew we’d arrived at Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium before I’d spotted the sign, because of the people outside looking in through the windows and cooing over the indifferent sleeping cats.

Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium

Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium

My step-daughter, Lia, had told me about the Cat Café phenomena after she visited a few in Seoul, Korea and I thought it would be a long time before I got to visit one myself. But it turned out that at last, the first cat café had arrived in Shoreditch, East London.

We had to book weeks in advance and the only time slot available to us on the day we wanted to go was 12 noon. Upon arriving, we were let in with a few other guests in a holding area where we had to wash our hands and told the rules – no picking up the cats, no feeding them our food, wait for them to come to us (rather than harassing them) and no flash photography. The last rule explains the poor photos, as I’d also didn’t have my proper camera and was relying upon my Iphone – but if you click on them, they do go bigger.

Cats in window

Cats in window

We then stepped into the café, where the walls were lined with steps and shelves for cats to climb up and look down upon us from. There were toys aplenty, tunnels and a giant cat wheel that I’m led to believe that they use. The litter trays were mostly inconspicuous and there were water bowls with running water and plates of cat biscuits.

Upstairs there were only a few tables and they were taken, so myself, Glyn and Lia went down to the dimly lit basement where there were even more cat accessories. Now at first I was a bit disappointed as there appeared to be no cats down here and all the ones upstairs were fast asleep. I ordered my coffee and cake and had a wander, spotting Wookie up on high – or at least his tail hanging over the edge of a cupboard. He never did step down, but when lured with treats supplied by the waitress, I got to see his lovely teddy-bear face.

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Kitten!

I persuaded Glyn and Lia to move with me to be closer to Wookie and although he never got any closer, Mue the Matriarch of the bunch turned up and sashayed past. Then a waitress appeared with two gorgeous black and white kittens! OMG, they both looked like my cat, Bod when she was tiny. They only came out for a while as the café was quiet, but still there were enough of us mad cat people swooning over them. They ran around, refusing to get caught and played endlessly. Mue was rather jealous and gave them both a slap.

Cat coffee

Cat coffee

By this time the cats were getting used to me and I got my first cat-selfie. Oh yeah, coffee and cake arrived and it was really nice – but I was hardly there for that!

The original point to these cat cafes was for people living in big cities who are unable to have pets due to where they live, but upon talking to other customers, it seemed that we all had our own cats at home.

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Gingers!

Carbonelle managed to get out of bed by this time and came downstairs for a fuss. I went back upstairs and met the two gingers, Romeo and Donnie, that were napping in a hammock over the stairs. Biscuit was chilling in the middle of the floor and I got a selfie with her too. From inside one of the many cat towers I could see a fluffy paw protruding, so cute, I had to go and see. This was Petra, and she barely moved but let me stroke her from outside.

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Glyn and Adam

The two black cats Adamska and Loki mostly ignored me. They both were sleeping as high as a cat can get in that place, and the most I got from Adamski was a good long stare down at me. He eventually popped down and started washing a ginger.

We spent 1 ½ in there and I loved every minute of it! I would love to go again but East London is a good distance. And I definitely need to get to a Korean Cat Café, Lia says they’re even better!

If you’re a cat lover and in London, I do recommend visiting this Cat Cafe – but you do need to book in advance, check out their website to find out more: ladydinahs.com

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About the author

Having only one cat, Claire is currently failing at being a mad cat lady, but she does have a mad cat, Bod. When Claire isn’t chasing cats and other animals with her camera, she works as a Graphic Design Manager.

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