Several major animal charities have been trying to stop the opening of the new cat café, Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium, in the East End of London (Shoreditch). They claim the concept of the cat café is inhumane1. That is a big statement.
The café is being opened by an Australian, Lauren Pears who correctly remarks that her business would fail if the concept was inhumane, meaning that the cats were not looked after properly.
The major animal charities have refused to supply the café with cats1. I find this a bit extreme.
However, it is an interesting topic. I have not read about their specific objections and why they consider it inhumane so I’ll decide for myself.
I think cat cafés are basically a good idea. However perhaps the concern is that the concept involves placing cats that are strangers to each other in a strange, perhaps noisy, place where they have to encounter strange people all day long who want to touch them. I can see that that is a potentially big problem. However, I think the main concerns can be overcome and isn’t it better being a cat café cat than being an unwanted cat without a home?
The environment of the cat café can be very cat orientated with plenty of climbs (vertical movement) and hiding places including an outside area. I believe that an excellent cat-friendly environment is planned. Secondly, provided the cats are selected carefully, they will get along OK and also they will be more accepting of human contact from strangers. I believe this is about cat personality and experience (socialisation). The importance of cat selection cannot be overemphasised, I feel. They will have to get along from the word go. There will also have to be a keen focus on health issues to prevent infectious diseases.
Community cats in some countries are very accepting of continual contact with strange people and also accepting of group living as they live in cat colonies all the time.
The modern domestic cat is really quite sociable. The point I am making is that provided the environment is excellent and the management good the cats living in a cat café should have a decent if not excellent life and one that is probably better than the one they came from.
The general public seem to have an alternative view to these animal charities. One person generously donated £20,000 ($32,000) to become the owner of one cat, while 20 people have sponsored a cat for a year at a cost of £500 each.
In all, Lauren Pears are secured £109,000 ($173,000) in funding from the public, which has got the project off the ground with planning permission recently granted. Most sponsors are, unsurprisingly, women. Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium has taken thousands of advanced bookings.
There will be 10 staff on duty at all times: one manager and nine assistants. Clearly the successful applicants will come from the ranks of people with qualifications and experience in working with animals.
Note: the logo is reproduced here on the basis that it helps promote the business and links to the business’s website.
Ref: (1) Times Newspaper Sept 14th 2013.