As anyone who’s met me in the past year-and-a-half is probably aware, I have a cat. She’s called Shanti and she’s very fluffy and cuddly.
On any given day, I’ll probably say most or all of these things to her:
“You’re lovely.” “You’re so pretty!” “You’re beeeautiful.” “You’re perfect.” “You’re my bestest friend!” and so on.
All normal things for a crazy cat lady to say to her feline friend.
But one day I got thinking – how come I, or indeed so many of us, don’t give these compliments to our real-life human friends with remotely the same regularity?
On Wednesday August 26, Frazer and I became parents to a lovely rescue cat called Shanti.
It was a whirlwind decision. We had been looking after my parents’ lovely Burmese cats, Boris and Cookie, while their new flat was being refurbished. As the date of their departure grew near, we began speaking about the void they were going to leave in our lives and how we should look for a rescue cat or two to call our own.
Then on Sunday August 23, the day of cat relinquishing and my dad’s 50th birthday, we were talking to our family about this and suddenly my sister-in-law Hannah recalled one of her friends was looking to rehome her cat as a sad side effect of moving house.
We got in touch with Claire immediately and within hours had gone round to meet Shanti – and she moved in just three days later.
Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium, located on Bethnal Green Road in East London, is the city’s first cat cafe. A sensation that first got huge in Taiwan and Japan, the idea is that diners can enjoy some food and drink with the extra joy of being surrounded by cats who are relaxed in their environment.
Sounds perfect, right? Thankfully, Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium actually lives up to the hype that has built since its Kick Starting.
On both first and lasting impressions, the cafe’s design and layout is inspired. It is simplistic, with a small shop at the entrance, a buffering zone and then two floors for both cats and diners to spread out and wander over. But it is also interesting, with some genius cat hidey-holes, stairs and platforms made of shelves, hammocks, a giant cat wheel, and a mish mash of sofas, stools and chairs. It even mixes traditional and minimalistic styles, with antique chairs downstairs and a white, modernistic vibe upstairs.