We've always accepted that dogs are a man's best friend and for centuries have been allowing them under bar stools and in pub corners. But lately, London's been losing its head over animals, getting its talons into owl pop-up bars, inviting pigs to picnic events and sinking its claws into cat cafes. You wouldn't be blamed for assuming that London has become a huge animal conservation, a zoo, if you like, (and if you saw London bridge at rush hour...) It's a bushy tailed, wet-snouted, twitching whiskered revolution and it's taking off on feathered wings.
Annie the Owl Pop-Up Bar in Soho
Annie the Owl and five other furry friends rock this pop-up bar for one week only in April. Accompanied by trained falconers, these crafty critters will supply Londoners everywhere with two hours of feathered antics for six nights of owlrageous fun. These £20 tickets are raising funds for Barn Owl, a conservation charity and are set to cause a storm in Soho. Alongside these winged adventurers, a whole host of delicious smoothies will be on offer for your slurping needs. We hear this pop-up's going to be a hoot.
Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium in Shoreditch
These rescued kitties are the cutest little bundles of fur around. A permanent institution and just a stone's throw from Shoreditch High Street, this cat cafe displays its furry felines proudly on tiered seats in the window, and of course, in our cat-crazy neighbourhood, just about everyone stops to take a cheeky snap. A £6 entry fee ensures that the cafe doesn't get too rowdy for our fuzzy friends and the owners aim to keep the surroundings relaxed, fun and hazard-free for these precious pets and, less importantly, for us customers (pssht but who cares about humans anymore? They're so last year). So have a coffee and a cat-ch up with a friend amidst a swarm of cute little critters.
The Pignic Pop-Up in Haggerston
This little piggy went to market, this little piggy stayed home, but these little piggies went to Haggerston... We've all seen it, the cute photo of the micro pig in red wellingtons. We've all pretended it's not cute and then sent it to someone on WhatsApp. So why not embrace a picnic that invites these little guys along? Hosted by The Proud Archivist from the 21st-25th May, enjoy the delight of pigs in blankets (but don't you dare eat anything of the sort!) Your £30 ticket will include pig-themed cocktails, delicious food and some unforgettable bonding with your favourite farm friends. Money from each ticket goes toward Farms Not Factories, so contribute to a good cause and pet those tiny pigs all at once.
Stevie the Fox
This was one animal idea too many, perhaps. After causing an internet storm, the plan to create a fox cafe in the middle of London met anger and complaints from RSPCA and fox-lovers everywhere who deemed the concept cruel and dangerous. The plan had been to change the bad rep of foxes everywhere by bringing domesticated foxes into the eating scene, for an hour of bushy-tailed fun alongside your coffees. All reasonable? The next stage of planning was to expand the guest list to other members of the wildlife community, including squirrels, hedgehogs and badgers... Perhaps it's for the best that this concept didn't carry. Let's draw a line at pets and leave it at that, London.