BLOG: Cat Cafe/arcade like catnip for cat lovers in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood

Chicago's first cat cafe opened on Belmont.

Cat Cafes have opened across the world, spreading from Taiwan to Japan, England, Australia, Austria and beyond.

Catnip for cat lovers, these cafes are filled with cute little furry creatures that want nothing more than to stretch out, lounge around in sunbeams and occasionally chase elusive laser pointers like prey.

The first cat cafe to open in Chicago showcases cats you can adopt amid vintage arcade games. The non-profit cat rescue and lounge Catcade opened in October at 1235 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood.

Christopher Gutierrez and Shelly Casey thought of the concept to “offer Chicago cat lovers a place to unwind, play video games, and lounge with cats who are up for adoption,” according to a press release.

“We had one mission in mind when we created the concept – to save all the cats,” Casey said.

Visitors can play 80s-style arcade games while watching cats clamber up and down empty arcade cabinets converted into cat trees. Felines also lounge in nooks and on cushions while people visit or see if there are any they'd like to take home.

“The inspiration was to create a comfortable, living room environment so potential adopters could get a more accurate assessment on how the cats would interact with people and other cats," Gutierrez said.

Admission is $15 per person, and all patrons are invited to consider cat adoptions.

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Business reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.