Windy City to Windy Kitty: Help Cat Café to Help Cats


Why a cat café? What’s the big deal? It’s true, even some in animal welfare may not get it, though most people do. In fact, the prospects are exciting for the Windy Kitty Cat Café and Lounge. However, the INDIEGOGO campaign, which was initiated to fund the project, got off to a slow start. And now there’s little time left to raise enough money. Panic? Not quite. Jenny Tiner, the woman who is spearheading the café, remains steadfast. You can still donate after the campaign ends by visiting the Windy Kitty Facebook page, or even offering to host a benefit for the cause. And, share this campaign before it ends.

Jenny was a volunteer at Tree House Humane Society, but the organization failed her (as it has many), so she has set out to do it herself. It’s no easy task, and she is doing it for all the right reasons, which is what matters most.

Why do I care? I’ve always thought a real cat café would be great, and many other cities around the world have them. It’s about time Chicago has one. By one count, there are 81 cat cafés in North America. Chicago is seriously lagging behind with zero cafés.

I have four big reasons for supporting the notion:

  1. Adoption. Cat cafés are able to find homes for homeless cats. For whatever reason, their adoption rates exceed those of shelter environments. Perhaps it’s because of the relaxed atmosphere for the cats and for people It’s also simply another and new outlet for cat adoption. Tiner has committed to work with ALIVE Rescue as well as CRISP (Chicago Intervention and Support Program), who both work with Chicago Animal Care and Control. Tiner is also planning to take in some cats with special needs, which other shelters may consider unadoptable. And, even if not adopted, they will be living in a home environment and will be loved and cared for.
  2. Cat-ecation. Windy Kitty will offer continuing cat education, bringing in experts to speak on trap-neuter-vaccinate-return (TNVR), fostering kittens and cats, and medical and behavior issues. And, famed cat book author and certified cat behavior consultant Pam Johnson-Bennett might even do a book signing there, as she and other national figures have finally got something to be excited about in Chicago (for the first time in a while). This could be a place where cat owners receive grade-A continuing education
  3. Fun with felines. Think movie screenings with flicks starring felines or cat yoga (no downward dog allowed). Kids can make their own enrichment toys. This will be a place that is perfect for everyone, whether you’re a family of 5 or a college student.
  4. Chicago proud. Cat cafés help to enhance a sense of community. People have their heads in their computers or fingers on their phones at most typical cafés, but cat cafés are different. People talk with one another. Cats actually encourage conversation. Studies demonstrate that cats are a social lubricant in these settings. Cat cafés also drive tourists, so tourists may visit a part of town they otherwise might not, helping other retailers in the vicinity.

The café will open on North Clark Street in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago.

Ask Tiner why she’s working so hard and she says, “The biggest reason I’d like to open a cat café is to provide another avenue for helping homeless cats and opening up space within ALIVE Rescue that pulls cats by way of CRISP (Chicagoland Rescue Intervention and Support Program) at Chicago Animal Care and Control (CACC). Opening a cat café helps them double (if not triple) the number of cats that can be pulled out of CACC and taken in for care and/or adoption. Homeless cats, orphaned kittens, and cat families are the ones we are trying to help. Cat cafés have proven to be a success as a way of finding homes for homeless cats.”

Even if everyone who reads this only gives a $10 donation, it would add up, especially if this post is shared like crazy. I am asking for your help. I’ve known about the many benefits of cat cafés some time. Let’s do this.