Sunday, May 26News For London

UK’s First Cat Café Combatting Winter Stress

Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium Combatting Winter Season Stress [Video: Emily Srebotnjak & Diana Whistance-Smith]

Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium is the UK’s very first café is the ideal anti-stress mechanism during the winter season.

The café, open since March 2014, has seen business boom this month particularly, as stress hits a yearly high during the winter season. Its nuzzled interior and homey décor has been drawing in students and families alike looking for a mental escape amidst the hectic season.

Laura Nastelli, the chief “Cat Carer” at Lady Dinah’s, spoke on behalf of the owner Lauren Pears. An employee since 2015, Nastelli has watched the soothing presence of the Emporium’s 16 in-house cats affect all sorts of customers, from university groups to family birthday parties to couples on honeymoon getaways.

“They’re relaxing. They’re chilled animals, they want cuddles…” she said. “You can look at them and see how relaxed they are, and you relax yourself.”

For 10£, you can enjoy a beverage and unwind in the cozy café with the furry felines for an hour and a half. According to Nastelli, Christmas season brings in the most customers to the two-storey cafe, as stress levels really settle in.

“November and December are super busy, and Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are booked full months in advance,” she said.

The idea of a cat café in London came from the owner, Pears, missing her own cat from back home in Australia. According to Nastelli, Pears wanted to bring the familiarity of having house pets in a café setting into her new home of London.

Cat cafes were popular in Japan for example, but were not seen in Europe. There were none in the UK, so Pears decided to give it a try. Since then, a few other countries have followed suit, like France, Germany and Italy.

Each of Lady Dinah’s cats have been rescued from animal shelters, unwanted litters, or being left at the café’s front door in hopes of being taken in. The biggest litter came from a mother and her six kittens, all of which have made a home out of the café.

In turn, the cats receive constant attention and affection. Two cat caretakers work with the fluffy animals throughout the day, ensuring that their needs will be attended to. The café has various tunnels, tents, blankets and toys to keep the cats company until employees and customers return the following morning.

After a long day of work, employees can also take a moment to unwind with their feline company, and decompress from the work day. The cats are only left alone during the nights, which works for their needs.

“After closing, there’s a cat carer that plays with them, cuddles them, brushes them and gives them food, and then they stay here,” Nastelli said. “It’s a bit opposite from house cats. House cats stay alone during the day, and these cats stay alone during the night.”

For those looking for winter season relief, Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium provides much-needed solace.

[Feature image: Emily Srebotnjak]