The Catcade: Chicago, IL, USA
Hours: M/T 2-7; W closed; Th/F 12-8; Sa 10-3/4-8; Su 11-3/4-7
Entrance Fee: $15/hour
Video Kitty: Review of The Catcade
I’m always excited to visit a new cat cafe.
It’s because I never quite know what is going to happen. The experiences range from pleasant and uneventful, to euphoric and life-changing. They are always good, but sometimes I hit the unforgettable jackpot.
My cat travels have put me in the path of some of the most amazing people on the planet. From making friends for life, to gaining an incredible amount of knowledge about cats, rescue, adoption and TNR— the owners and staff of cat cafes are usually kind, often funny and always memorable.
My visit to The Catcade definitely qualifies as special.
I had been looking forward to visiting since the first time I had heard there was an arcade-themed cat cafe in Chicago. Over time, I began following The Catcade on social media and like so many others, found myself cackling out loud reading about the exploits of Chris, Shelly and their feline charges. Chris has an unbelievable talent for storytelling- cheeky with vivid details recalled from his youth, he has a unique voice all his own.
I’ve become a little obsessed.
The day of my visit, I was a tad nervous. It was a below zero late afternoon in December, and while I was in town for work, I decided to blow off some afternoon meetings to pay my respects. I rehearsed my ‘Keeping it cool’ greeting while finding a place to park. Finding a spot in the Lake View neighborhood was a bit of a challenge (keep any whining to yourself, FYI), made worse by recent a snowstorm, but my timing was actually perfect- there was no one in the lounge when I walked through the door.
My rehearsed greeting thrown out the window, I assailed Chris with a barrage of verbal diarrhea. It was all good however, as the next hour turned into a delightful combination of Chris’ good natured sarcasm and serious cat talk. He filled me in on how they are their own rescue, working with high-kill shelters in Kentucky and managing their own transport.
Don’t let the insouciance fool you, Chris and Shelly are the real deal- hard-working and passionate in their dedication to save cats from being euthanized. Impressed, and even more in awe, I tried to share meaningful stories from my cat cafe travels, which came off more like a rambling fangirl. Hey, I’m a cat cafe reviewer, but I’m only human!
I was bummed not to meet Shelly since she is the other half of the famed Catcade duo. Kind of like looking forward to a rude waiter in Paris, I yearned to hear Shelly wield some of her signature ‘one-star’* sass.
Finally, I made my way into the cat lounge, where I met several sweeties, such as Simon, a precious Siamese, Penny, a stunning green-eyed tabby and Gretel, a white and tabby that posed perfectly across the Ms. Pacman machine.
After another hour with the kitties, I made my way to the exit, offering apologies for being an excessively talkative lingerer. Chris graciously dismissed my concerns and handed me a LaCroix for the drive back to the western suburbs.
Perhaps you will not have the same experience as I did, but I guarantee your time at The Catcade will be every bit as unforgettable.
*A patron once visited The Catcade and decided to leave a one-star review complaining about Shelly in a super whiny manner. After that, Chris began referring to his partner in posts as ‘One-Star Shelly’. It’s stuck and has since become part of the irreverent allure of The Catcade. You know what they say about lemons and lemonade, right? Add vodka.
Date Visited: 12/1/18