I studied abroad in London in 2007 and returned again in 2008, so I considered myself pretty done with the touristy side of London. When I found myself with a few days in London in July 2017, I started brainstorming things to do that weren’t your typical touristy faire (be there, done that, after all). I contemplated shows to see and then a lightbulb went off in my head: CAT CAFES. I adore Koneko Cat Cafe and Meow Parlour in New York City (in fact, my tabby Gus was living at Koneko before I met him), so this seemed like an obvious YES.
I immediately Googled whether or not there were any cat cafes in London and lo and behold, there are (at least) two. A friend advised me to make reservations so I made two reservations on one day: one for London Cat Village and another reservation for Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium.
a kitten waiting in the window
Located in East London’s hip and trendy Brick Lane neighborhood, the spray painted grate out front could only hint at the cat-lover’s fantasy land waiting inside. Just inside the entrance, the cafe and gift shop awaited and shortly after, we were taken into the upstairs cat room, where cats roamed and napped, and the rules of the Emporium were explained to us before we were shown to the cat wonderland downstairs and to our tables. I ordered a Cattucchino and got to know the cats.
In the same fashion as the cat cafes in Japan, the cats at Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium were not up for adoption. This is an American trend (and one that I think London should adopt ASAP, obviously). But all of the cats live there on a permanent basis and from what I could tell, they were enjoying very lovely lives.
There were a handful of black and white kittens playing around on a tree, a few cats sleeping in high perches, and a cat who I deemed my favorite, a tuxedo cat named Alice. She loved to run on the cat wheel and then get praise from patrons sitting at nearby tables. Alice also happened to be an identical copy of my tuxedo cat Playbill so maybe that’s why I gravitated towards her.
I mean, really, look at that face.
I don’t remember whether or not there was a time limit, but I stayed for about an hour before heading out. Had I stayed any longer, I may have cat-napped Alice! This is the purrrr-fect stop for anyone in London who loves cats, or coffee, or both, to escape from the hustle and bustle of tourist London and relax. With cats.
Reservations are 10L normally and 25L for high tea time. Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium is located at 152-154 Bethnal Green Road, London E2 6DG.