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I love cats.

And when I say that, I don’t just mean I’m fond of them. I mean, just the mere sight of one reduces me to a quivering pile of mush, as I try and stop myself from scooping it up and stuffing it in my bag.

*Phew*

Now that that confession is out of the way, I’m sure you’ll be able to understand just HOW excited I was when I heard a cat cafe was opening up in London back in March.

And you’ll also be able to understand just how excruciatingly disappointed I was when I found out it was booked up months in advance… (Rookie error: when something has so much hype built up around it, you’ve got to be quick off the mark!)

Thankfully, my manager at work had managed to secure two bookings, and when he found out I’d missed out he very kindly offered me his second one! To say I was beyond happy is a complete understatement.

What is Lady Dinah’s?

Put simply, it’s a cafe which is home to a colony of 11 beautiful cats. It provides a spot for feline lovers who don’t have the room – or who can’t afford – to have a cat of their own.

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Old sofas, colourful rugs and quirky framed photos make up the two-tiered cafe. Upstairs I felt a bit like a goldfish in a bowl as passer-bys stopped to take photos and gawk at the cats in the window. I much preferred the downstairs area, which feels a lot more like your front room. The cafe sells snacks and nibbles including afternoon tea, salads and sausage rolls.

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We had the most INCREDIBLE cream tea with dairy free apple and cinnamon scones, served with jam and cream, plus a teapot of tea. This was the best scone I’ve EVER tasted, and it would be worth a return trip for these alone!

Isn’t that all a bit unhygienic?

If you’re a bit of a stickler for germs, this place probably isn’t for you…but all customers enter the cafe through a little room where hands are thoroughly washed. Food and drink is prepared in a separate kitchen and is kept well away from the cats. There’s always someone around to stop them making a bid for your food as well. Oh, and hand sanitisers can be found on all the tables. So, all in all, it really is quite a clean place to be.

Where is it?

Located on Bethnal Green Road in Shoreditch, the cafe is a short walk from both Liverpool Street and Shoreditch station. It’s also well situated for exploring the sights of East London, from the vintage shops off Brick Lane to the restaurants and stalls in Spitalfields market.

All very interesting, but where are the cat pictures?!

OK, OK – on to the cats!

DSC_0649Before entering the cafe, all guests are given a list of rules to ensure enjoyment for both customers and the cats. These rules include not waking sleeping cats and not picking them up.

DSC_0753While some of the cats are more lively than others, there are some that like nothing more than a good old cat nap. They’ll sleep anywhere – in little beds, up on shelves or on seats. Mue (below) is the mother of 11 of the cats, and spent much of our time curled up on one of the chairs.

DSC_0653I THINK this is Romeo (one of three gorgeous little gingers) rolling about in a box of toys.

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Me stealing a little cuddle from one of the cats…

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The younger two cats: Loki and Adamska

Cats are snuggled around all over the place – even in a specially designed hammock over the staircase!

DSC_0719Carbonelle was exceptionally inquisitive, coming up to us for snuggles and sniffing our bags.

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…She even jumped up on the back of one of the staff! It took a little while to coax her down…

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How do I book?

Right now, the cafe is booked up until October and no new bookings are currently being taken. Last-minute cancellations are regularly announced on their Twitter page and can be snapped up. (This happened to my friends last week so it’s definitely possible!) If you are lucky enough to get a spot, it’s a £5 cover charge per person, and the booking session lasts two hours.