'Cat Cafe' Opens in London; More to Come in San Francisco

The New York Times has a fun story today on the growing popularity of "Cat Cafes" in Japan and (now) London. These quirky eateries let guests relax with a snack and a feline to cuddle with for an hour or two.

Last year, we noted the upcoming debut of Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium in Shoreditch, and the property opened its doors just last month with 11 resident felines. According to the Times, the thoroughly English tea room, named after Alice's cat in "Alice in Wonderland," charges customers 5 pounds ($8.29) for two hours of playtime with a kitty. Coffee and afternoon tea — sandwiches, cakes and scones — are on the menu for an additional fee.

The concept, which reportedly took off in Japan about 10 years ago, seems to be solid business: Lady Dinah's is reportedly fully booked until the end of June. Other venues have opened in Vienna and Paris, and a dog cafe, House of Hounds, is set to open in London later this year.

Stateside, feline-fanciers in San Francisco will be able to choose between two cat cafes due to open by the end of 2014.