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Paul Drury

Will the UK's first cat café be in London?


Feeling stressed? Work getting you down? Busy lifestyle stopping you from actually relaxing? Like cats? Well, cat cafés, a huge craze in Japan, might be just what you’re looking for.

japan cat cafe

Yes, that’s right, all over Japan you will find these mini-Meccas for cat lovers tucked away, catering to time-strapped, feline-friendly punters.

And now the UK could even see its very own cat café in London, thanks to kitty-supremo, Lauren Pears.

But how and why did this feline frenzy begin in the Land of the Rising Sun?

Japan’s cute overload

First things first, if for some reason you can’t imagine what a cat café is, it’s basically a place where you can go to drink hot beverages and eat cake while sternly stroking a cat like a Bond villain. Well, that’s what I’d do, anyway.

The cats roam around and guests can interact with them as much or as little as they like.

There are toys to play with and bits of feline furniture dotted around the place as well: it’s lovely.

The reason these cafés have proved so popular in Japan is that most small to medium-size apartments there do not allow pets.

These domiciles are mostly inhabited by busy and stressed young professionals, so being able to chill out and pet a ridiculously cute kitty is a big anxiety-buster.

UK’s first cat café in London

But will this idea work over here? Lauren Pears, cat-loving entrepreneur, seems to think so, and is finding success in crowdsourcing the funds needed for opening the very first cat café in the UK. caught up with her:

  • What do you think it is about the idea that is so attractive to people and why has it worked so well in Japan?

“People in cities like London live under a lot of constraint. Time, money, space, landlords and work-related travel are all factors.

“London also has a lot of very caring people who, knowing these constraints, don't feel it would be responsible or kind to keep a pet that they can't look after as well as they'd want to.

“A cat café allows them to take joy in being with animals that they love, while being sure that the animals needs are fully catered for.”

  • What sort of reception have you had to the idea of a cat café in London?

“Incredible! The Indiegogo campaign is great proof: it took seven days to raise £10,000, which is a really great response, especially at this time of year when everyone is recovering financially from Christmas.

“There are a lot of questions that people have, naturally, about the cat café's commitment to animal welfare and the cat’s lifestyle.

“We really welcome these questions - it's so much better to be able to discuss people's concerns, and we have a good rate of persuasion so far: we care about it too, and we've put a lot of thought into how we can make sure we're doing the right thing for the animals.”

  • What’s the main reason you want to open the cat café?

“Imagine coming in every day, making a delicious coffee for yourself in the quiet of the morning, waking the cats up to their breakfast and spending your whole day watching people smile, play, laugh and forget about their troubles.

“There are bigger, more profitable business opportunities out there: but this is the one for me.”


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