Cats are said to be the most social animals among all. UAE based Young businesswomen has just turned this into her profession. Iman and Allaa Ahmed Al Aulaqi are fond of cats and their Cat Cafe will give the opportunity for all others who adore the animal but cannot pet them. The Ailuromania Cafe will be the first of its kind in UAE and the first ever Cat Cafe in the country. Society’s fascination with furry felines has reached a fever pitch, amplified by daily online viral videos, fanciful Twitter feeds and celebrity kitties including the film star Grumpy Cat and Karl Lagerfeld’s Choupette, who has her own Instagram account.
But while the UAE has a steady stream of stray cats to adopt and an obsessive national love of coffee, the country has been so far left out of the latest trend, which combines the love of animals with cafe culture. That is all about to change in Dubai, where Saudi-born sisters Iman and Allaa Ahmed Al Aulaqi are opening Ailuromania Cafe – the UAE’s first cat cafe – at the end of the month.
In the meantime, Iman is introducing a few of her core team members, ET (sphynx), Mocha (Siamese), Snow, Mo and Jumbo (Persians), to their new home in Jumeirah, where she hopes to attract the kind of fanatical devotion found in cat cafes in other locations, including Paris, Portland, San Diego, New York and Yokohama, Japan.
The young entrepreneur, who recently graduated from American University in Dubai, has five cats of her own and has fostered more than 12 in the past two years.
Last year, when she was contemplating a start-up, a friend sent her images of a cat cafe in Korea and that struck her as the perfect match for her career goals.Iman began following and researching similar cafes around the world and flew to the United Kingdom to check out Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium, the first cat cafe in London, which had a two-month waiting list when it opened in March.
She hopes for similar enthusiasm from residents here. At Ailuromania Cafe, the menu will take a back seat as regulars will be queuing up to play with the 12 rescue cats.The story of each cat will be posted in the cafe alongside their portrait.The sisters had to jump through a lot of hoops to make their dream business a reality, especially with the health and safety department.That’s not the only problem they had to face. The unprecedented combination of pets and food in a public space posed a unique set of challenges for the authorities as well.
The owners also had to give the authorities a clean bill of health for each pet.The cafe will have a cat room fitted with a double bunk bed, litter boxes, food dispensers, toy box and scratching post so the felines have a place to “relax”. Visitors can interact with them in the common seating area, in one-hour blocks, with prior reservations online.
Children will be closely monitored and customers need to sanitise their hands before and after interacting with the cats. The pets can be fed, but only with treats approved by the cafe crew. Toys, including feathers, balls and plastic mice, will be available for play.
Initially, the cats won’t be up for adoption, as is the tradition in some of the other cat cafe around the world.
The owners of the place have confirmed that due to strict rules they will not be allowed to prepare food here. They informed that instead they will bring the food from the suppliers fresh every morning and stock them at the cafe. However, the coffee will be brewed at the Cat Cafe.