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Diatribe: How Clean Can A Cat Café Really Be?

03/02/2014

CatCafe2We enjoy having friends over for dinner.  Planning a Saturday evening meal gives me something to look forward to throughout the week and it’s always fun to use the “good china”.  One couple has hosted us at their house but we haven’t been able to reciprocate because one of them has allergies.

And we have a cat.

Many people are extremely allergic to animal dander, particularly that of housecats, and certainly don’t want to eat around the animals.  But a new establishment in Bethnal Green, east of London, is counting on animal lovers across the capital to embrace Britain’s first ever ‘cat café’ where customers can enjoy a cup of coffee in the company of several felines.

Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium opened its doors yesterday morning to only a handful of waiting customers hoping to enjoy a selection of sandwiches, cakes, teas and coffees while stroking eleven resident cats and kittens named Adamska, Artemis, Biscuit, Carbonelle, Donnie, Indiana, Loki, Mue, Petra, Romeo and Wookie.

Cat cafes are very popular in Taiwan, China and Japan, with more than one hundred operating in Tokyo, for example, where many landlords don’t allow pets.

“If something exists you can probably get it in London, but there’s one thing that lots of people living in London can’t have … a kitty.” – Lauren Pears, self-confessed ‘crazy cat lady’ and owner of Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium.

This seems to me like eating lunch in a pet store.  I can close my eyes and imagine that it smells more like cats that sandwiches and that the animals are spoiled and lazy.  I’m not allergic to cats but I don’t want them near my food.  I’m surprised that there aren’t health codes that keep this many animals out of London’s restaurants.  How clean can a cat café really be?

The café is decorated in a vintage Victorian theme and is supposed to fill a void for which coffee-loving cat loving Londoners will pay a premium.  Customers can also buy a selection of gifts and souvenirs to remember their visit.

I’m thinking they might want to buy them fast because Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium might not be around for very long.

Would you enjoy a “cat café”?

UPDATE 03/06/14 – Cat Café Opens To Two-Month Waiting List!

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9 Comments
  1. When you’re in cities, it’s very common for shops to let their animals roam and great customers. City people often bring their dogs into stores rather than leave them outside. In NYC – you really want to shop in stores that have cats because they provide a more rodent free environment.

    When I would have the occasional customer comment (complain) about dogs (people don’t tend to walk cats) being unclean, I’d point out that they usually are better cared for, have the same stuff on their paws that you have on your shoes, don’t have any germs that can make people sick (like colds or flu) and their owners don’t put them on the counter like many parents try to do with their kids and their diapers.

    As for the cat cafe, i’m sure it’s set up in ways to keep the cat separate from the food and cooking areas. It actually sounds more like a petting zoo – a place people who miss or can’t have cats to go and enjoy them for a while.

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    • My cat is cleaner than lost children I encounter but he’s an animal nonetheless. I suppose if I look at the opportunity to spend time with animals from more of a city-living point of view, I see that it would be fun to have a sandwich with a kitten once in a while.

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  2. Opps…too much coffee again. Sorry.

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  3. thedogs'mother permalink

    First – Abby is horrified that there are cat cafes.
    Our family has various allergies to cats – which have gotten better with shots but not
    totally eliminated we discovered when we had the Spontaneous Kitten Fostering. (It cost over $400
    to have our vents cleaned…)
    Anyway, I love cats and enjoy the neighborhood crew, friends’ cats and would like a
    cat cafe – though would have to endure the scorn of Abby and the every inch sniffing
    I would get from Tar when I got home.

    Like

  4. I have two dogs and a cat. I think I would rather pass on eating out in such a place. Even if I did not have them, I would be reluctant. Maybe if they had a petting zoo for cats for those without.

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  5. Colonel Panic permalink

    According to the BBC today there is a two month waiting list for a table..

    Like

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  1. Lady Dinah’s Cat Cafe’: Reviewed by Opry and Cat Mom | Cat Cream

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