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Two Saudi Sisters Launch the Arab World’s First Cat Cafe in Dubai

The kitty coffee shop phenomenon has arrived to Dubai by the hands of Jeddah-born entrepreneurs Iman and Allaa Ahmed Bin Farid al-Aulaqi, who launched Ailuromania Café last March. The concept, which entails customers booking a table to have coffee and snacks while enjoying the company of cats has been making waves across the world, with venues opening from Europe to North America, and now, the Middle East.

The concept debuted in 1998, when the first “cat café” was opened in Taiwan. The Saudi entrepreneurs, part of a new wave of young, Khaleeji entrepreneurs in the UAE who are experimenting with new concepts, are young graduates in marketing and finance. “Since we were little, we have always had exposure to the business world, helping our parents with their businesses,” they said in an interview with Al Arabiya.

Ailuromania, the name chosen by the Saudi entrepreneurs for the innovative café, means “an intense enthusiasm for having many cats around.” Most of the cats present in the café are adopted, while others were specifically sought out by the sisters. “At the moment, we have a total of 14 cats living in the café, and each one has their own space in a living area that customers cannot access,” they said.

For more information: Visit Ailuromania’s website.

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Valentina Primo

Journalist, globetrotter, and determined idealist. Since Valentina left her home country of Argentina, she has searched for ways to build bridges between cultures and foster dialogue. Her previous work in international organizations in Italy and Germany fed her passion for the world of development, while her 8-year journalistic experience in Argentina and Egypt increased her curiosity for everything that challenges the stereotype. She holds a BA in Journalism and a Masters in Peace Studies with a specialization in Human Rights.

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