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Photos: Inside Chicago's Long-Awaited, First Cat Cafe & Its High-Tech Shelter

By Stephen Gossett in News on Jul 28, 2017 5:59PM

The long-in-the-works, "state-of-the-art" shelter facility Tree House Humane Society celebrated a ribbon-cutting on Friday, with a public grand opening to follow tomorrow. With the new shelter so too arrives Chicago's long-awaited first cat cafe, The Purrfect Roast Cafe (yes, really). At the same time, a small group of protesters who are upset with details of the facility's euthanization policy let their opposition be known on Friday.

The shelter decided to trim back on the original vision for the cafe—it features a sitting room with self-serve coffee where visitors can get to know adoptable cats, rather than a barista-manned full bar—which left some folks feeling apprehensive. But you can take a peek above, and plot your own visit to Tree House (7225 N. Western Ave.), to make your own call.

You can also check out other corners of the multi-million-dollar shelter, which includes 11 colonies of adoptable cats, outdoor cat patios (aka "catios" aka our new favorite portmanteau), and a high-tech veterinary clinic.

But not everybody was impressed on Friday. The grand opening attracted a smattering of protesters, including one demonstrator who waved a sign that read "Not My Tree House!" The shelter stirred controversy last month after it euthanized a shelter cat despite having referenced a no-kill policy in its (since-amended) mission statement. Staff last month said the shelter still strives for no-kill, but can make exceptions for behavioral, safety and quality-of-life issues, according to DNAinfo.

Tree House staged its ribbon-cutting ceremony this morning. A public grand opening—which includes guided tours and introduced the cat cafe—happens Saturday July 29, from 1 to 4 p.m.