Chicago draws tens of millions of visitors each year. Despite the assumption that its nickname, the Windy City, refers to its blustery weather, there’s actually a number of theories about the name’s origin. One explanation is that 19th-century Chicagoans were boastful and full of “wind” about their booming city. Whatever the reason, we can all agree that Chicago has plenty to brag about, from world-class museums to stunning public parks to Michelin-starred restaurants. And don’t forget the cat cafes!
Yes, you read that correctly. Between walking the Magnificent Mile and touring the Chicago River by boat, squeeze in some four-legged snuggles to support the fantastic felines of Illinois’ largest and most stunning city.
Are There Any Cat Cafes in Chicago?
Yes! Even though Ferris Bueller didn’t include any in his day off, there are cat cafes in Chicago. Feline aficionados looking to get a whisker fix in Chi-Town currently have two choices. (A third, the Windy Kitty Cat Cafe, is temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.) Still, kitty-seeking visitors won’t be disappointed by the city’s two very distinct cat cafe options.
The Best Cat Cafes in Chicago
Tree House Humane Society Cat Cafe
Location: 7225 N. Western Avenue, Chicago, IL, 60645
For more than 50 years, the Tree House Humane Society has served Chicago’s homeless pet population, estimating that they’ve saved more than 28,000 cats in the process. In 2014, funds were raised for a state-of-the-art shelter and clinic, and in 2017 the cats were moved into their new digs. In addition to outdoor catios and green spaces, the new building also features a cat cafe.
All Tree House cats are adoptable. Reservations are just $10 per person (all ages are welcome) and come complete with 30 minutes of playtime and a free beverage of choice.
In addition to organic teas and coffee lattes with punny cat names, Tree House Cat Cafe also serves up handcrafted Italian and French sodas, lemonade, mango iced tea, and espresso drinks.
Tree House requests that customers wear masks for the duration of the visit and bring no more than four people to an appointment.
Hours: Friday through Sunday, 10:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. (appointments to see the cats begin at 11 a.m.)
Location: 1235 W Belmont Avenue, Chicago, IL 60657
Take cats, sprinkle in some vintage arcade games, and— poof! —you have The Catcade. Less than a mile from Chicago’s famous Wrigley Field, this unique take on a cat rescue offers visitors the chance to play Mario Kart or Ms. Pac-Man while also playing with the cats who dwell in the lounge space.
The Catcade is the nonprofit dreamchild of Chris Gutierrez and Shelly Casey, cat lovers who traveled the world looking for all the best kitty activities. On a mission to save cats and match them with the perfect forever gomes, they opened The Catcade in 2017.
Visits to The Catcade are $17 for one hour. Walk-ins are welcome, but reservations are highly recommended. All cats are adoptable (with the exception of Leo, who is the resident feline).
Any group larger than six requires a private party reservation, and all guests must be older than 7 years. Masks are only required for unvaccinated guests.
Hours: Thursday through Saturday, noon – 8 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Monday, noon – 6 p.m. (closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays);
Tips for Visiting a Chicago Cat Cafe
Plan your visit in advance. With limited cat cafe options in Chicago, it’s important to plan your visit ahead of time to avoid disappointment. Chicago is a large city, so be sure to book your reservations in advance to secure a preferred time slot with the kitties. Be aware that reservations are nonrefundable.
Make a day of it. If you’re looking for a full day of furry fun, the cat cafes are approximately 5.5 miles apart, and take roughly half an hour by public transit to travel between them.
Support rescue efforts while visiting. When visiting Chicago, you’re likely not adopting a pet. You can still support the cafe cats by purchasing merchandise for a fun souvenir, or providing a donation to the establishment’s rescue efforts.
Don’t have unrealistic expectations. Cats aren’t always in the mood to play or cuddle. Manage expectations (especially those of little ones!) when planning a visit.