Iman & Allaa Ahmed Farid Al-Aulaqi
The sisters who launched the UAE's first cat cafe
© ITP Images
• Our job is challenging, yet fun. We’re always surrounded by kitties so who can complain?! We opened our cat café, Ailuromania, in 2015 after working day and night searching for the best location and recruiting our team of cat lovers and rescued cats. Visitors come here to grab a snack and enjoy their cup of coffee with the presence of our little feline friends for some purr-therapy.
• Our goal is to make both our cats and customers happy in our homely atmosphere. We take day-to-day responsibility for the coffee shop and making sure everything runs smoothly, so our activities can range from accounting to cat grooming.
• We’ve chosen cats that can adapt to café surroundings and are sociable. It’s been a hit with residents who adore cats, but can’t keep one at home because they lack the space or may have allergies. We also arrange foster care and adoption for cats that can’t be cared for at the café.
• Tme spent with cats is rewarding and calming – no matter how stressful a day you’ve had, when you sit down with them you just smile.
• We’ve learnt that nothing is as easy as it looks on the surface – there’s so much work involved in setting up a business that you wouldn’t think of; it all adds up. Never underestimate the effort you need to achieve something and always give yourself more time than you think you need.