A simple but effective cure for the stresses of modern life is sharing tea with a friend, even (or maybe especially) if that friend is furry. Inspired by the cat cafés of Asia, Lauren Pears decided to open London’s first such establishment, Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium, raising $150,000 in financing via the crowd-sourcing site indiegogo in just two months. (In the last decade, more than 150 of these establishments have opened in Japan, where many landlords frown on pets, and the concept has spread to several cities in Europe, with one planned for the U.S. in San Francisco.)

At Lady Dinah’s, amid overstuffed sofas, armchairs, cat toys, and kitty-themed pillows, you can have a traditional English tea (or barista coffee) served in bone china cups, along with sandwiches, cakes, and other dishes, while interacting with the 11 resident pusses, all adopted from owners who have left the U.K. The café is located in hipster-central Shoreditch, so the clientele is more groovy than granny.

But this is not a petting zoo. Pears works with animal welfare experts to ensure the resident felines have enough personal space, with hidey-holes and reservations staggered in two-hour slots. So forget therapy—all you need is tea and sym-purr-thy.

More of a canine kind of gal? See 15 dog-walking outfits inspired by celebrities in our gallery.

 

—Ellin Stein