Gem City Catfe hosted a "Gimme Cat Shelter" fundraising event at Barrel House in downtown Dayton on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. PHOTO / TOM GILLIAM

Cat cafe approved by the city of Dayton, one step closer to opening

A local business climbed a very tall cat tree Tuesday and meowed to tell about it. 

The Dayton Board of Zoning Appeals approved a variance that will allow the Gem City Catfe to operate at 1513 E. Fifth St in the St. Anne’s Hill neighborhood.

“This was the last of our insurmountable hurdles,” Karin Gudal-Johnson said. “Moving forward now, there is nothing we cannot work through.”

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Architectural plans are being finalized and the business must still receive other permits, but Gudal-Johnson, who co-owns the business with local resident Sabrina Cox, said the business remains on target to open this summer. 

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She said the city of Dayton has been helpful throughout the process, even though zoning for the business was initially rejected because an animal boarding facility wasn’t allowed in that zoning district.  

The variance has conditions related mainly to the operation of the animal shelter portion of the business. 

>> MORE: Dayton's first “catfe” announces planned location

Gudal-Johnson said city officials helped her and Cox navigate through the process. Cat cafes in other communities have faced much bigger hurdles, she added. 

The catfe will includes two cat lounges totaling 850-square-feet.

Gem City Catfe hosted a "Gimme Cat Shelter" fundraising event at Barrel House in downtown Dayton on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. PHOTO / TOM GILLIAM

Visitors will be able to go into the cat lounges and see into them from the cafe space, which is roughly 1,000 square feet.

Cats adoptable through a partnership with Humane Society of Greater Dayton will have the run of the cat rooms and the business’ staff-only basement. 

The catfe’s Kickstarter campaign is set to expire Friday. It has surpassed its pledge goal of $20,000 with $30,126 in pledges.

>> MORE: Sorry, Fido: Dayton's first cats-only photo studio opens

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