Those who have a fascination with furry felines can head to Ailuromania Café for their daily dose that combines love of coffee and the compassion of animals. Creating a cafe culture in Dubai, Saudi-born sisters Iman and Allaa Ahmed Al Aulaqi have opened Ailuromania Cafe – the UAE’s first cat cafe.
Iman has her core team members, ET (sphynx), Mocha (Siamese), Snow, Mo and Jumbo (Persians), to their cafe in Jumeirah, where she feels the fanatical devotion must be cultivated that is found in cat cafes in other locations, including Paris, Portland, San Diego, New York and Yokohama, Japan.
“I’ve only chosen cats that are sociable, ones that will adapt to the surroundings easily,” says Iman.
The young entrepreneur, recently graduated from American University in Dubai, has five cats of her own and has fostered more than 12 in the past two years. Iman did a lot of research about 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 is hopeful for similar enthusiasm from residents at Ailuromania Cafe, the menu is simple but the regulars generally prefer queuing up to play with the 12 rescue cats. The story of each cat is posted in the cafe alongside their portrait.
To make their dream business a reality, they had to do a lot of work, especially with the health and safety department. They don’t prepare the food at the cafe because of health and safety regulations. The cold drinks, snacks, sandwiches, pasta and desserts are prepared by suppliers and transported and stocked fresh in the cafe every morning. They brew the coffee at the venue. 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 cats are all neutered, vaccinated and microchipped. The cafe has a cat room with a double bunk bed, litter boxes, food dispensers, toy box and scratching post so the felines have a place to “relax”. Visitors get to interact with them in the common seating area, in one-hour blocks, with prior reservations online. They have a set of rules that customers need to follow.
“You cannot be forceful with the cats. If they aren’t ready to be petted, you need to let them be.”
Children are 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 are available for play. Initially, they are not looking to put the cats up for adoption, as is the tradition in some of the other cat cafes around the world.
For those who want to try cat yoga can head to Dubai’s Ailuromania Café and enjoy the company of kitties during the one-off yoga event. It is all about the cats at Dubai’s very own cat café. Ailuromania Café is planning on a cat yoga session on Tuesday August 14. The beginner-friendly class is for ladies only and costs Dhs30 for the session. People are required to bring their own mat, but the felines will be provided.
People can sign up by visiting Ailuromania Café’s Instagram page and have a scroll through snaps of the furry new friends while there. The one-off event is being reserved fast, so those who want to get it locked and enjoy cat cuddles can enjoy novelty yoga in JBR.
The challenging puzzle room experience is now offering yoga classes in a cave during the summer completely free of charge.
Every Friday from 08:00 until 09:30, beginner yogis and experts can participate in classes throughout the season, taught by a new instructor each week. The sessions will combine TEPfactor’s special individual categories from its course, focusing on strengthening the mind, body, patience and skill levels of all attendees.
Fee: Dhs30. Tue: Aug 14, 19:30 – 20:30
Jumeirah Street, Umm Suqeim
844 Jumeirah St
Dubai – United Arab Emirates.
Tel.: +971 4 321 6661
Photo courtesy: www.ailuromania.com
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