People like coffee and people love cats so together they make
the paws that refresh at a London cat cafe that is so popular
it's booked out until June.
Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium on the fringe of London's financial
district is cashing in on an idea first popularised in Japan
to allow stressed-out workers to wind down by stroking a cat
while sipping a cappuccino or latte - or tea, if you prefer.
"The idea is you can come have a peaceful lunch or high tea
and be surrounded by cats. If you're lucky one of them will
fall asleep on your lap," said Anna Kogan, an investment
banker who is co-owner of Dinah's along with Australian
Part-financed by a crowdfunding campaign which raised more
than 109,000 pounds ($181,100) in less than two months, the
cafe, which opened its doors on March 1, is already a runaway
Cat lovers stormed the cafe's online booking system within
hours of its launch, making more than 3,000 bookings and
causing the system to temporarily crash. It is fully booked
until the end of June.
"I thought that it would be really really cool to just hang
out with loads and loads of cats," said recent patron Christy
"They're really fluffy and cute and ... I really like cats.
They're great," McCormick said of the cafe's 11 cats, donated
by people leaving the country or unable to care for them.
Britons share more than 3.8 million online photos and videos
of cats every day, compared to just 1.4 million selfies, and
more than 350,000 cat owners have a social network account
set up for their cats, according to mobile network provider
The vintage-decorated cafe charges customers 5 pounds ($8.30)
to enter and has a two-hour turnaround time for patrons.
Kogan said customers came from all walks of life, including
bankers, designers and students, and the cafe aims to adopt
more cats if it gets the go-ahead from the local council.
Nor does the animal cafe craze stop with cats. The same area
of London is set to get its own dog cafe, Happiness of
Hounds, later this year.
Hundreds of Parisians queued last year for the opening of a
"Cafe des Chats", which is home to a dozen animals the owners
encourage customers to stroke, claiming the vibration
produced by purring can relieve arthritis and rheumatism.