The word that best describes Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium is ‘surreal’. You pay a £5 entry fee (the NHS doesn’t cater for small, furry animals) to spend two hours hanging around cat obsessed ladies and gents, who pat, play and photograph the 11 resident cats. To put it bluntly, it’s a cat brothel.
We went to research (don’t ask), drink tea and eat cake. The selection of cakes is pretty impressive and, after waiting a good ten minutes, my brownie was as chocolaty and fudgy as I’d imagined. In hindsight, we should have gone at lunch for a tasty Brick Lane Bagel, Filled Croissant or Platter – choose between The Kitten, The Housecat or The Platter. It’s the Londoner’s Circle of Life.
It was hard to think about anything but cats during our visit. Everywhere I looked, another fluffball was either asleep, running round a giant hamster wheel or being taunted by customers. Even the shelves were clear for cats to roam above our heads. It’s an ailurophobiac’s nightmare and a cat lovers dream.
Before I finish, I must remind you of the Emporium’s House Rules. If you don’t follow them, you will be taken down on social media (yes, these cats have their own twitter handles):
- Don’t pick up the cats (they hate it)
- Don’t give the cats any food or drink (they’re getting too fat)
- Don’t wake sleeping cats (they apparently need 18 hours a day – what the hell?!)
- Don’t use flash photography (they have sensitive eyes)
- Don’t disturb eating cats (kitty doesn’t share)
So there you have it. If you’re obsessed with cats, go. If you hate cats, don’t. As for me, I’m holding out for the puppy café.
Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium, 152-154 Bethnal Green Road, London, E2 6DG