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London set for first cat café

Cat-loving Londoners whose lives dictate that they are unable to keep one of their own will be pleased to hear of a new café designed to fulfil their petting needs.

Lauren Pears, a senior project manager at PlayStation, will introduce Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium to give pet-deprived Londoners a chance to get a cuddle with their coffee, in a pet experience she first encountered in Japan.

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“Londoners love animals, but many do not have the space or lifestyles to home one,” Lauren explained.

“Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium will give people permission to cuddle cats in a nice place while enjoying a coffee.”

First introduced in Taiwan in 1998, cat cafés have gone on to take Japan by storm, with capital city Tokyo alone boasting 40 venues.

Lauren said of her Tokyo cat café experience: “It was nice and certainly a novelty, but I did think the experience could be improved. It felt more like a petting zoo or pet store than a café and the cats were the only source of entertainment and seemed pretty indifferent about it. I believe that creating an environment that is equally fun and comfortable for cats and humans, we’ll have more happy interactions between the two.”

To be located on Old Street, Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium will have capacity for 15 cats and 50 seated customers among its Victorian décor. As for the animals’ welfare, Lauren has teamed with the Mayhew Animal Home rescue centre in order to carefully choose rescue cats that will be comfortable in the environment.

“We seek cats who are likely to enjoy the cat café lifestyle – lots of attention, lots of playing, lots of other cats, and lots of cuddles,” she remarked.

Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium is a crowd-funded venture offering a range of perks to those who contribute. Those who donate £5 can visit for a petting session, while £2,000 hires the venue for a catered evening. Over £15,000 was pledged towards the £108,000 target in the first fortnight. The remaining £93,000 must be pledged by midnight on 15 February if plans are to go ahead.

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