Britain's first ever 'cat cafe' where customers can enjoy a cup of coffee in the company of several felines officially opened its doors this morning.
The grand opening of Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium in Bethnal Green, east London, was much anticipated by animal lovers across the capital.
Within hours of its opening date being announced online, the cafe's website crashed when 3,000 people attempted to book a table.
Two moggies await customers at Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium, which opened its doors this morning
Cat-lovers can enjoy a cup of coffee and something to eat in the company of 11 animals at the east London cafe
The emporium is decorated in a vintage, Victorian style and offers sandwiches, cakes, teas and coffees
No doubt they were hoping to enjoy a selection of sandwiches, cakes, teas and coffees while stroking 11 residents cats and kittens - named Adamska, Artemis, Biscuit, Carbonelle, Donnie, Indiana, Loki, Mue, Petra, Romeo and Wookie.
But this morning Lady Dinah's looked a little quiet - with only a handful customers waiting for it to open.
Cat cafes are already hugely popular in Taiwan, China and Japan - with over 100 already established in Tokyo.
The cafe's website explains the concept: 'It's not just about being able to play with the cats.
One of 11 resident cats and kittens can be seen exploring the cafe - owned by Lauren Pears
Customer Nicoletta Wylde waits patiently for the shop to open this morning. 3,000 people tried to book a table at the eatery within hours of its launch
More keen customers arrive at the shop this morning, having heard about its launch online
'It's about the whole experience: a small indulgence, a place to forget about your day and unwind.
'It's about coming in from the cold to a comfortable wingback chair, a hot cup of tea, a book, and a cat.'
The unusual eatery is owned by 31-year-old Australian Lauren Pears - who is a self confessed 'crazy cat lady.'
Ms Pears funded Lady Dinah's through crowdfunding website indiegogo.com.
Two customers wait for a table this morning. The business was founded after Ms Pears started a campaign on crowdfunding website indiegogo.com
The shop is located in Bethnal Green, east London. Ms Pears raised £108,000 for her business via the site
After hearing of the runaway success of cat cafes in Asia, she started her campaign to raise over £100,000 on the site on Christmas Eve 2012 - a target which was exceeded within two months.
One Russian animal welfare campaigner Anna Kogan, who is now the co-owner of the emporium, invested around £200,000 in the business - enough for Ms Pears to get a visa to stay in the UK.
Speaking earlier this year, Ms Pears said: ‘If something exists you can probably get it in London, but there’s one thing that lots of people living in London can’t have – a kitty.
One of the cats relaxes in a cat bed. Ms Pears was inspired to start the business after hearing of numerous successful shops in Asia
The owners hope customers will come to the shop to 'forget about' their days and 'unwind with a cat'
‘We thought long and hard about who would really benefit from having a cat café in London.
'I see commuters walking on their way to and from the station stopping to pet the neighbourhood cats, and since I am unable to own a cat myself due to my current flat and long hours I understand the desire to have a cat around.'
The cafe is decorated in a vintage Victorian theme.
Customers can also buy a selection of gifts and mementos via the Lady Dinah's website.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2571003/Feline-like-coffee-Bizarre-fad-stroking-cats-kittens-hits-Britain-cat-cafe-opens-London-doesnt-look-busy-yet.html#ixzz2ukYyQ7iY
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook