One could see some potential for this going wrong.
With cats, it is always a hesitant sell. From the café website: “Anecdotal evidence and thousands of years of co-evolution also suggests that cats are not entirely disinterested in human company.”
Sounds like hipsters alright.
Members of the public forked over £100,000 in crowd-sourced funds to get the cat café going; more than 10,000 people follow the Emporium on Facebook. The owners faced plenty of red tape but construction will now begin, as will the all important rescue cat audition process: “Our animals will be assessed by an animal behaviourist before selection to verify that their temperament is suitable for communal living and social engagement with humans,” reads the site.
When Lady Dinah’s opens, “cat carer staff” will be tasked with thrice-daily health, eating and toilet checks on each of the 10 resident cats. They’ll keep an eye out so the pusses aren’t fattened up by over eager patrons, and make note of any spats and “undesirable patterns of behaviour.” (According to the online explainer, “It is expected that there will be some natural conflict. Even within a happy group, much like with humans: sometimes we have bad days.”) Vets will visit to make sure the cats aren’t suffering from fleas, worms – or “chronic stress.”
Cat cafés have been popular in novelty-loving Japan, where customers, who often aren’t permitted to own pets in their small apartments, pay an hourly cover charge to “pet rent.”
In London the owners promise, “We do not enforce or demand anything of our cats.” It looks like the acquiescent humans of Shoreditch will suffice.