Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium is the UK’s longest-running cat café! In addition to this distinction, we are proud to have been the first cat café to open in London. We have been serving tea and cake in the company of rescue moggies since 2014, but Lady Dinah’s has been bringing cat-lovers together since as early as 2012.
At the close of 2012, our founder, Lauren, launched the crowdfunding campaign that would ultimately lead to our establishment. With this initiative, anyone who wished to support our venture was able to contribute small (sometimes large) sums of money to help us get started. The response we received was meowsive! (Yes, dodgy wordplay comes with the territory.) We were thrilled to discover that loads of people were excited by our passion project, and the popularity of our campaign generated quite a lot of pawsitive media attention. It seems that our success kicked off something of a cat-café furenzy: we’ve since seen loads pop up across the country!
Our inception as an enterprise that came into being due to this collective effort has set the tone for how we’ve moved forward. Lady Dinah’s is a small business run by a close-knit team of cat enthusiasts, and our goal continues to be to unite people over their shared love of the feline kind. When the Emporium was but a glint in Lauren’s eye, the dream she nurtured was one of a haven that would offer some respite in a busy city. Over the years, it’s brought us a great deal of satisfaction to see our guests enjoying themselves amongst our clowder of pampered kitties.
What would a cat wonderland be without the cats?! Well, in our case it would be a nice tearoom on Bethnal Green Road with the added charm of some pretty extensive and egregious false advertising. We can’t tell you about Lady Dinah’s without dedicating a few words to everyone’s favourite members of our family!
The best aspect of working at and visiting Lady Dinah’s has always been our cats. Since 2014, we have adopted over forty rescue cats. Most of our cats have come to us from shelters, but this isn’t always the case and we have plenty of stories to share. A few of our residents were born in our office after we took in a pregnant mouser, for instance, and one little boy was brought to us after he’d been abandoned in a nearby park. There’s never a dull moment when you’re caring for a small colony of these marvellous creatures!
Lady Dinah’s was founded because we believe in the restorative powers of feline companionship. There is so much to admire about cats, such as the way they always land on their feet. After being knocked back by the challenges posed by 2020, we’ve been doing our best to emulate their agility and regain our balance! Having to close our doors during lockdowns cost us one or two of our nine lives, but we are more scrappy than we appear. Not only have we been learning to adapt; we went back to our roots and set up another crowdfunder. We offered a variety of rewards in return for donations to aid our survival and we were once again overwhelmed by the generosity we were shown.
As the world changes, we hope to continue to offer people solace. When times are tough, it can really help simply to drink a hot beverage and gaze upon the blissful face of a sleeping cat.