When we found out last year that London was going to have its very first cat cafe, we meowed with joy, purred with delight and rolled on our back… ‘We’ is not just the collective term for ‘me’ but there is a bit of underground cat ‘mafia’ at my work, that me and my mate Hannah pretty much top – most people are now pretty used to us greeting in meows rather than dull hellos. I have accumulated FAR too many cat related bits of clothing – and there is a real risk that I will leave he house wearing a cat dress, cat socks, cat scarf and cat sweater. Meow! Yes, I am a crazy cat lady. It’s not because I have four beautiful kitties at home that it stops me from wanting MORE.
It might have taken over a whole year for the project to go from crowd-funding to reality, but the cafe finally opened its door this February – and is already booked up till July!!
So, for those who don’t know, a cat cafe is a place where cat nuts like me can visit cats and enjoy a bit of petting, as respectfully as required (and no, we’re not going the obvious rude route here, however tempting my brain finds it). Made in Japan, where living space is a premium and keeping pets can be near impossible, this BRILLIANT concept was bound to find its way to most big cities where a lot of peeps encounter the same no space=no pet issue. Here’s a nice video of one of Japan’s best cat cafe, Kyariko.
Lauren, or Lady Dinah, is one shrewd social media cat lady and she’s orchestrated the rise of her cafe in a methodical, constant onslaught of cat related posts on Twitter, Facebook and the Lady Dinah’s blog (each cat even has its own Twitter handle!). After all, cats are the biggest draw on the internet, right? So Hannah and I already knew the cats were a little under the weather for out visit and were likely to snooze quite a bit (I sympathised fully as two of mine had to be isolated after showing signs of flu, sneezing and with a temperature. Cats sneezing, by the way, can be the BEST).
There is a lot of cat paraphernalia to start – some of it for sale, some for browsing, some for cats…
And amongst the cat decor, we got to meet ourselves some kitties.
We got to meet most of the felines, and got to know a little more about them. Petra is mum to 7 of the Emporium’s kitties, a bit stand-offish to start, but didn’t resist a good chin scratching session.
Petra is deliciously fluffy, Biscuit is very chilled but loves a good scratch, Romeo is very handsome.
Yes, they were a little on the quiet side, but I think that’s not the only point of going to a cat cafe. Cats make people feel more relaxed, peaceful, and I definitely felt really chilled and happy at the end of our two hour session.
It did help that Loki livened up the end of the session massively by jumping about the place, then demonstrating best practice on the wall ladders and even gave us a little lap time. New favourite friend…
Of course, next logical step while kitties rested was to do a little sketching, so here’s a drawing of Biscuit having a snooze. And I hope to go back very very soon to sketch the others too!
The whole thing was a real joy, and it was also great to meet Lauren, who really comes across as a genuine super nice cat lady of the best kind.
We said goodbye and promised to come again very very soon… Good tip to you cat nuts out there – the cafe might be booked up, but apparently a lot end up in no shows – so it sounds VERY possible to turn up a few minutes after the start of a session (they are scheduled every two hours throughout the day – check the website for bookings) and get a chance to get in. And if not, well, the trendiest bars in London are just there to console you in the company of another kind of cool cats…