As you probably know, there is a venue called Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium. It is a cafe in east London that is also a home for rescue cats.
Even though the cafe serves some vegan options, I am yet to visit. I think I have a problem with the concept. It doesn’t sit well with me that animals are on display.
The cats in the Emporium are comfortable and wanting for nothing, according to the website. They have enormous amounts of space and are free to leave the public area when they choose. All food and welfare concerns are dealt with and there are guidelines in place for how cafe diners interact with the cats.
But I still don’t like it.
I don’t like the concept of any animal being on display, no matter how loved. As I walked past the front of the cafe recently, it struck me how much it looked like a pet store. People can stand at the window and stare at cats inside.
I don’t think I would ever go on a safari to look at animals. I would never go to a zoo, even if the establishment had a pristine record of animal conservation. I hate hobby farms and baby farm animal exhibits at fairs.
Loved and cared for animals on show are still animals on show for human enjoyment. I believe this is a practise that needs to be questioned, challenged and changed.
If it is cat interaction you are after, you can always visit one of the countless animal rescue shelters around the country where the animals are desperate for companionship, playmates and the odd spot of grooming.
As far as I can tell from their website, Dinah’s is a commercial enterprise designed to make profit. I am opposed to people making profit from displaying animals.
To add further unease to the situation, the patrons of the cat cafe have the choice of dining on animal-derived foods during their visit. Don’t hurt cats but by all means eat feta or milk. Or why not even indulge in a salmon salad?
Just don’t hurt the cats.
How do you all feel about this sort of cafe?