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London's first 'cat cafe' given green light to open in Bethnal Green

PUBLISHED: 13:45 18 September 2013 | UPDATED: 15:28 18 September 2013

The cat cafe is bound to bring some cute feline friends to the East End

The cat cafe is bound to bring some cute feline friends to the East End

Archant

Kitty-lovers will be purring with delight following the news that London's first 'cat café' is opening up in the East End.

Lauren Pears (centre) celebrates being given planning permission for the cat cafe, in Bethnal Green RoadLauren Pears (centre) celebrates being given planning permission for the cat cafe, in Bethnal Green Road

Inspired by the soaring popularity of similar schemes in Far Eastern cities such as Tokyo, Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium has been given the go ahead to open in Bethnal Green - bringing feline friends together over “moggacinos” for the first time in the capital.

Owner Lauren Pears – who, ironically, lives on the Isle of Dogs – announced on the café’s popular Facebook page that the planning application had been successful, meaning animal-lovers can hang out with cats as they sip tea and coffee.

“East London was the place to be; we were really, really relieved that it came through,” she said later.

Before planning permission was granted earlier this month, the owners hit out at the “red tape” they faced, complaining that “Britain needs to have a good long look at how it treats start-up businesses.”

But having now been given the green light, the café, at 152-154 Bethnal Green Road, will be inhabited by a total of 10 kitties, which will be able to come and go inside as they please – or retire to their private, two-storey garden.

“Our cafe design has been created with the emotional needs of the cats in mind: multiple entry/exit points, lots of enclosed bedding spaces, and plenty of places to hide,” the owners said on Facebook.

“The cats will have freedom to do as they please, when they please (and isn’t that just how they like it?).”

Work to turn the building into a feline friendly destination-of-choice is ongoing – but Lauren is hopeful the cafe will open its doors in early November.

Owners of cats will not, however, be able to bring their own along, with the emphasis instead on those mogs living at the café.

And priority for the first visits is going to those who backed the project, which was made possible by crowd funding – an idea which Lauren admits has “raised expectations”.

“We looked around for different ways to fund the business,” said Lauren. “There’s definitely a strong emotional pull from animals, so we thought we would try crowd funding, and it went really big.”

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