You don’t need to be a weird cat lady to enjoy a cup of tea at Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium, but it helps.
If you are feeling down because the weather is rubbish, cuddling up with a cat while nursing a hot drink can be a great antidote, especially if you live in a place where pets are not allowed.
It’s Raining Cats and Dogs Outside, It’s Raining Cats Inside
Mind you, you must check the weather forecast and must know what mood you’re likely to be approximately 6 to 8 weeks in advance: that is more or less the waiting list to reserve a table.
You might be lucky and jump on a cancellation list – just like a cat leaping from a bookshelf to a coffee table. Or, if you are going solo you might find a table for one with a shorter waiting list.
I assume you love cats and that you don’t have the space to keep a cat, just like me, and in that case a visit to Lady Dinah’s in London’s East End (nearest stations: Shoreditch High Street or Liverpool Street) is a must.
The menu offers a variety of hot and cold drinks (the blackboard at the entrance with the “cattified” names of popular hot drinks is very funny!), various types of cakes and savoury dishes.
I chose the vegan peanut cake – not for any particular dietary requirement but because I liked the sound of that – and, although the taste was alright (I thought there was too much sugar), the texture was disappointing. You really need an egg to bind the ingredients together (sorry, vegans!), so the cake crumbled into impossibly small atoms which were difficult to scoop out with a spoon. It was a messy affair.
Mind you, my friend and I were so absorbed with taking pictures of the cats that we even left our table when the coffees arrived to spend time with the cats!
Because the venue is so popular – ever since its opening in March 2014 punters are only allocated 1.5 hours to enjoy their experience at Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium. It was reported that in the first 24 hours of their opening they received 7,000 bookings.
When you get to the venue you get a briefing on how to interact with the cats and respect their well-being: you are not supposed to touch them if they are sleeping or eating. Most importantly, you are not supposed to give the cats any food as their portions are controlled by the staff.
I was curious to know how the staff manage to stop the cats from escaping: you first enter a reception area, which leads to another area with basins where you are asked to wash your hands, and then you are lead to the actual café and its feline residents. There’s also another, larger room, downstairs with a different décor.
Each cat has its own personality so not all cats will be friendly and approach you. Good luck if all the cats are sleeping during your visit! I was lucky that during my visit a few of the cats were awake and a couple of them wanted to interact with people.
It is indeed true that pet therapy helps to lower stress levels: after being at Lady Dinah’s I felt much calmer and happier and the pouring rain didn’t bother me.
You pay a cover charge that goes towards the costs related to keeping the cats.
Address: 152-154 Bethnal Green Road, Shoreditch, London, E26DG