Like a cat batting a ball of yarn, officials from Tree House Humane Society toyed with cat fans over the prospect of Chicago’s first cat cafe. But the Tribune reported over the weekend that construction of the West Ridge project is behind schedule and $1 million over budget. The cafe should reportedly open late this year, though an exact timeframe wasn't provided. This news comes after Tree House’s board fired its executive director in May.
The cafe, being built at the humane society's new spot at 7225 N. Western Ave., is a means for cats and humans to become comfortable with each other during the adoption process. It’s not just a spot for randoms to come in and pet kittens for a furry feline fix. The opening was slated for this summer, but now the cost of the project has jumped from $6 million to $7 million. A board member said that fundraising took a hit after losing their executive director, and they’re now $2.7 million behind in their campaign. Management from Tree House, a no-kill cat shelter, dispute that conclusion. They say the executive changes have attracted more donors.
They won't serve food at the cafe. It’s not quite a catastrophe yet, but the plans are in jeopardy.