Cat cafes are here to stay as first one opens in Chicago

Many members of the culinary academy are likely skeptical of cat cafes, a nice type of coffeehouse that has seemingly become en vogue on the West Coast. Yet, for those writing this idea off as a regional fad, it seems that everything is coming up feline as the cat cafe trend moves to the Windy City. Essentially, these coffee and tea lounges are comfortable spaces similar to your normal neighborhood cafe, but are full of friendly cats that roam around the space freely. The decor also often includes cat toys and structures for the animals to play on. With this trend shifting to the Midwest, it may only be a matter of time before cat cafes are a nationwide (or worldwide) trend.

According to Eater, the new coffeehouse, dubbed Cat'fe, is unaffiliated with establishments of the same name in Los Angeles and Vancouver. Cat'fe will be part of the Tree House Humane Society and Veterinary Clinic, which is opening a new $7 million facility in Chicago's West Rogers Park neighborhood. Tree House's website notes that the new location will include not only the Cat'fe, but also a public veterinary clinic, pet food pantry, education center and adoption rooms.

The Cat'fe will be in the building's front lobby and serve coffee and tea drinks as well as snacks. If one had to guess, the cats hanging around the lounge will likely be up for adoption, as one of Tree House's main goals is to find good homes for stray and abandoned cats. For patrons, the Cat'fe will be an ideal environment for enjoying some feline companionship along with a caffeinated beverage.

While this idea may seem somewhat unique, Eater notes that 24 cat cafes are in the funding stages or have already opened in North America over the past few months. The West Coast seems to be the hub for this trend, but Naples, Florida and Denver, Colorado, among several other locales have also opened similar ventures. Notably, Chicago is not actually the first Midwestern city to open a cat cafe, both Cincinnati and Cleveland have similar establishments. However, in the culinary world, Chicago is one of the major tastemakers in the U.S., and the opening of the Cat'fe at such a large metropolitan hub is a strong sign that this trend isn't slowing down anytime soon.  

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