In the 1st of our features from London College of Communication students, Joe Thompson explores the comfort and therapy that we can all draw from Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium in E2

 

 

Ever wanted to cosy up with a cat, a cuppa and a scrumptious scone or a slice of cake? Well, then all you have to do to make all your wildest dreams come true is pay Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium a visit. Opened in 2014 Lady Dinah’s was London’s very first cat cafe, and now has 17 cats living in residence.

The two-story café is kitted out with anything a cat or human could need, with a selection of coffee and tea as well as an appetising selection of snacks, cakes, and nibbles. Combine that with two hours of feline-loving and there’s not much more you could ask for. The £5 entry fee feels like a small price to pay for some much-needed affection to lighten up your day, particularly with the hustle and bustle of London living. The overall reception the café receives is outstanding, leaving customers raving – “Absolute cat lover heaven, all the cats are content and well cared for,” said one happy customer. “It’s so nice to think you can go there for a cuddle if you, like me, are not allowed pets in your flat! We had the most wonderful time and from the minute we arrived we were made to feel welcome.” 

The business itself began with a crowd-funded campaign online, where the business received a bountiful sum of £109,000 in donations to kick-start. This alone speaks for itself, with such overwhelming support it’s hard to believe that it took so long to become a reality. The idea originated in Japan, and owner Lauren Pears says the idea is to “give stressed out Londoners who can’t own pets a bit of animal therapy”. Pairing lovely sweet treats and refreshment with the undisputedly therapeutic and calming feeling that comes with petting a cat, Lady Dinah’s is the perfect place to make some feline friends. 

Therapy involving cats has been a growing practice in which those who suffer from anxiety, depression, and loneliness seek comfort in the company of animals. It’s been thought that coming into contact with animals can lead the body to produce oxytocin, a hormone which can help reduce levels of stress, and by reducing the levels of stress it can lower the chances of suffering with anxiety. Therefore, this cat café is a beacon of hope to those who don’t necessarily have somebody in their life who they can turn to for support in times of need. 

Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium is at 152-154 Bethnal Green Road, and is open every day except Wednesday.