Lady Dinahs is London’s first and only cat cafe. It was funded by crowd sourcing online and opened a couple months ago in Shoreditch.
We wanted to go to experience the cafe but it was fully booked and had to wait a couple months. Finally our slot came up this week.
It’s safe to say none of us knew what to expect but it turned out to be a surreal evening.
The cats (12 of them) have free reign of a two floor living room which allows them to play, sleep and eat.
On entering you are asked to wash your hands. Instructed not to pick up the cats, use flash photography, feed them or wake them up.
It’s a big list but one that considers the cats welfare.
Most of the cats, typically were asleep in various spots from couches, hammocks and in boxes.
There were however a couple prowling around and playing. It was pot luck if you got to play with a cat as they seem to only care about food and sleep.
You get approximately two hours at the cafe so you have plenty of time to explore. It seemed though that you were generally left alone by the cats most of the time so you get to simply observe them.
There were loads of women cooing over the cats and giving them fuss but to be honest as a cat owner it felt weird to be in a strange location and having paid to play with random cats.
Poor Sarah was pretty much ignored by all the cats. I got to run around with a fishing pole being chased by a cat and Richard and Hannah enjoyed the company of the odd cat who would pass by for a quick nuzzle.
The cafe is decorated like an old English Tea Room but with lots of things for the cats to play on and interact with.
Surprisingly there were igloo litter boxes scatter around the place but this is for health and safety because if there were a fire the staff could scope the cats into a box and carry them out.
The interior is old English shabby and we sat on a sofa and a couple of arm chairs.
We didn’t realise how hot it was inside until we left. I know cats like to be warm but boy was it stuffy.
This is where things kind of fall apart. The whole experience is geared towards the cats of course but it is a cafe too.
We booked a dinner reservation but found not information on the web site.
When we arrived we were told there was a £5 cover charge each but not explained why. This is in addition to the cost of the food.
The menu is basic tea room fare which includes cakes, bagel/sandwiches/quiche or ploughmans.
This is alright but when you’ve booked for dinner, a cheese and ham bagel isn’t really sufficient.
The staff were a bit ditzy too. There were only four of us and the cafe restricts the number of patrons so it’s not busy. That said two of our dishes were returned because they were wrong and one of the drinks was omitted.
I can see the appeal and understand that people who cannot have pets will use it as a way of having time with some cats but even as a cat lover I found the whole experience to be odd.
The cats were lovely and mild mannered but it’s basically a tea room with cats in it.
This makes for an interesting excursion and one you probably would never have experienced before but to be honest is prefer to spend the evening with my cat on our sofa eating hot food…