Cats Who Love to Eat and the Pet Food Pantry That Loves to Feed Them

As you all know, cats love to eat. In fact, most of them do it daily, sometimes more than once. Some of them like the crunchy stuff, some like the pate`, but all of them like having a full belly. And that’s where our Pet Food Pantry comes in and why we need your help.

cat eating
A known eater, doing what he does best.

In 2018, Tree House’s Pet Food Pantry provided 3,200 pounds of food to 100 pet families. That is the equivalent of over 27,000 meals and that is ALL because of YOU! Everyone who graciously donated bags or cans of food to our pantry helped those families keep their pets happy, healthy, and full. It also allowed them to keep their pets, because many of those pets might have otherwise been relinquished to a shelter without that assistance. Sometimes, pet guardians have financial difficulties and our pantry helps them keep their furry family members during those times of hardship.

Right now, our pantry is low and we need to restock so we can continue helping those families that count on us. If you have a moment and can spare about $10, please visit our Amazon Wishlist and ship us a case of food or litter. We promise it’s going to a worthy cause. You can also drop off unused, sealed donations at our shelter at 7225 N. Western Ave. any day of the week from 9 am to 5 pm. We can provide you with an acknowledgement for your donation, and we will DEFINITELY provide you with a huge, heartfelt thank you.

A lone can waiting for his brethren. (Ok, we have a few cases left, but we found this image to be more poignant.)

With Love,

Tree House.

 

 

PS. If you’re free the 16th, 17th, or 19th, CatVideoFest is coming to Chicago, with this year’s proceeds benefiting the cats at Red Door Shelter. One of our staff members, Alana Grelyak, has a movie appearing in the “Classics” section of this year’s reel and they were kind enough to give Tree House a few free tickets so we can see it, too! Tickets available at the Music Box Theater. 

 

 

FeLV: Felines Love Valentines

Have you ever sent a Valentine to a feline? They love them, you know, and if you’ve ever loved a cat, you’ve likely addressed an envelope or two. But perhaps you haven’t yet met the right kitty, the one that makes you want to bring home catnip flowers in a (hopefully) inexpensive vase you don’t mind seeing broken as a soft paw nudges it off the table’s edge. Well, we can help you find that special someone, and we can also help you see that, while you may have initially thought the broken vase was a negative, it was ugly and it was a positive change to your decor. Either way, at Tree House, positive and negative don’t make much difference when love is involved.

See, here at Tree House, we have a special room full of positive cats; positive in their attitude and their love for life and snuggling. They’re positively joyful and beautiful and happy. And they’re also positive for FeLV, but we don’t think that’s a negative. So let us take this moment to introduce you to Amberly, a perfectly adoptable, loveable, huggable girl who is just waiting for her Valentine to arrive.

amberly, available for adoption at Tree House
The one, the only, Amberly!

Amberly is FeLV positive, meaning she has Feline Leukemia Virus, a retrovirus that has no cure. She may live a shorter lifespan than an FeLV negative cat, but that just means she plans to pack more effort into whatever time she has. That means more love, more intense snuggles, and all play and no work. You wouldn’t want her to work anyway, would you? She’s gotten accustomed to her leisure time at Tree House, which she spends looking for hugs, chatting, and grooming her spectacularly patterned fur.

Now, here’s what Amberly can’t do: She can’t live with an FeLV negative cat because the virus can spread through close contact. And… that’s about it! Let’s look at the things she can do:

  • Live with a dog, or another FeLV positive cat (Have you met Meatball? Holy cow, is that little guy a bundle of joy!)
  • Love you
  • Cuddle
  • Run, jump, and play
  • Knock vases off tables, but only if they don’t match your decor (she’s really into interior design)
  • Be your friend for life

And really, is there anything else you could want?

Amberly, the adoptable FeLV positive cat at Tree House
Look at those gorgeous stripey patch colors!

Listen, we realize that adopting a kitty with a shortened lifespan can be scary, but we’re here to help. You can read this FeLV Fact Sheet that our fabulous Director of Veterinary Services, Dr. Emily Swiniarski, put together to help understand if adopting an FeLV positive kitty is right for you. If you have more questions, let us know. If you want to meet Amberly, come visit. She’s hanging out near our soon-to-open cat cafe. Until then, she’ll be waiting patiently for her Valentine. She hopes it’s going to be you.

Love,

Tree House.

P.S. If you have already given your heart to a kitty, you can choose a special gift for them from our Purrfect Purr Catique.  100% of the profits go directly to helping cats like Amberly. (Oh, who are we kidding? Amberly is one of a kind!)

Amberly, the adoptable FeLV positive cat at Tree House
Amberly waiting patiently for love. And snacks.

 

 

Pre-Fabricated, Outdoor Cat Shelters: Tree House Has Them!

Due to the extreme polar cold and a mention we got from the CBS local news, we’ve had a lot of inquiries about our prefabricated, insulated, outdoor cat shelters. We do sell them! They are made in-house out of an insulated storage tote and come stuffed with straw to keep any furry inhabitants toasty and dry.

A shelter as modeled by our lovely cat puppet “Purrs.”

The large size is $35 and the small is $25. (As of January 31, 2019 we are currently out of stock on the large size but expect to have more made soon. You can call ahead to find out before making the trip, if you like. Please note, we’re closed January 31 due to the weather emergency and will re-open Feb. 1.)

We also sell heated water bowls ($25) to keep your colony’s water, well, liquid, and we have heating pads ($40) for inside the shelters in case you want to give your colony a little upgrade. Proceeds from the sales go back into helping Tree House save more cats.

We do not presently ship the shelters, but you can come visit us at 7225 N. Western Ave in Chicago and ask for a shelter at the front desk. Someone will be happy to help you. If you have any questions, please call us at 773-262-4000 and speak with the Community Cats department for more info. If you are out of state and trying to get a shelter, please look up your local TNR group. I’m sure they’d be more than happy to assist you!

You reading this means you are actively trying to make a cat’s life better, and for that, we thank you.

Purrs stays comfy inside with lots of straw!

Polar Cold Day II: Closed Again

Well, it seems we were too optimistic. We thought this cold would let up. Alas, it keeps us in its icy grip for yet another winter day. Once again, we must announce that, for the safety and comfort of our supporters, guests, volunteers, and staff, we will be closed Thursday, January 31st, 2019. 

We have our paws and tails crossed that we will not have to do this again and plan to be open Friday, February 1. If anything changes, we will announce it here.

Closed again?! Nuts.

Until then, stay snuggled in your blankets as pictured above. Our kitties promise they’ll wait patiently for your return.

(P.S. Let’s take a moment to give a hearty shout out to our staff members who blazed their way through the cold to make sure our kitties were fed and loved. Thank you!)

Polar Cold: Tree House Closed and Some Tips for Your Outdoor Colonies

It’s cold in Chicago!  Really Cold! And tomorrow, it will be even colder. Therefore, for the comfort and safety of all of our guests, employees, volunteers, and kitties, Tree House will be closed tomorrow,  January 30th, 2019. We will reopen for normal hours on Thursday.

If you care for any outdoor colonies, here are some tips from Paul Nickerson, our Community Cats Field Specialist:

  • Keep the cats protected from the wind. Make sure tarps are pulled all the way down on all sides of their shelters. Create a wind break using a sheet of plywood, if necessary.
  • Put old blankets over the tops of (never inside of – moisture can cause the material to freeze) the shelters for added insulation.
  • Be careful not to startle the cats out of their shelters and into the bitter cold. They may not have a warm hiding place to run to.
  • If their food keeps freezing, use dry kitten food as a substitute until temps warm back up.
  • You can also add extra heat with a heating pad (Tree House sells them!) or, if you don’t have access to electricity where your shelter is, a microwavable disk that stays warm for a few hours.

Rest assured, all of our furry charges here at Tree House Humane Society will be well cared for and warm, with full bellies and happy faces. They (and we) look forward to seeing everyone when things warm up. Until then, please stay toasty and give your kitties some extra snuggles! And if you don’t yet have any kitties, you know where to get some when you’re ready.

 

 

(Edited to include the last bullet point about heating pads, Jan 31, 6:21pm)

Barely Hanging On – Insects Were Killing Her

When someone mentions kittens, you might immediately think of cute, cuddly fur balls playing together one minute and curled up, sleeping sweetly the next. If only they all had this life, with a home, warmth, food, and love.  Your gift this holiday season gives cats like Catbot a second chance.

Would She Be Alive Tomorrow?

Catbot was spotted wandering near a house that, fortunately, was home to Good Samaritans. They saw Catbot’s ragged appearance and unsteady gait. They knew she needed immediate help and brought her to Tree House.

Alone, frightened, sick, and going downhill quickly. Catbot was hungry and horribly malnourished. One of her eyes was badly infected and swollen shut. She was very thin and had lost fur. She had raw, bleeding sores on her neck. She was scared, tired, and in critical condition. This kitten needed immediate care.

Our veterinarian examined her and found that she was malnourished and had a severe eye infection. But the bigger problem was what appeared to be a bulging growth on her neck with two small holes.

We discovered this tiny kitten had two long, parasitic insects moving inside her neck. These wormlike insects are very painful and can be deadly if not treated. Our veterinarian was able to gently extract the insects and clean Catbot’s wounds.

We gave her antibiotics and medication for her eye infection. With food, water, and care, this sick little cat was on the road to recovery and was placed in a caring foster home to regain her strength.

Catbot Recovers – Thanks to Supporters Like You

After just 5½ weeks in foster care, this resilient kitten was happy, healthy, and energetic — just like we all picture kittens to be. Catbot became a resident in the kitten colony on our adoption floor. Four days later, a loving family adopted her.


Catbot has recovered incredibly well. It is hard to believe she is the same kitten who first arrived — so sick. Her eye and the wounds on her neck are healed, and her fur has grown back.

Catbot is a joyous kitten who loves toys and exploring new places. Her favorite thing is a chin rub, and she’ll start purring as soon as you touch her!

Thankfully, Catbot finally has a home. But there are thousands of cats who are in desperate situations like she was. Your donation helps transform their lives, too!

Saving Strays is What We Do. But We Couldn’t Do It Without You!

Tree House is working toward a world in which every cat thrives. We are especially dedicated to saving stray cats who are in difficult and life-threatening situations. Together we give these cats a second chance to not only survive but thrive.

Since opening our new shelter last year, your generosity has helped us place more than 1,000 cats in homes, provide more than 1,200 spay/neuter surgeries, and increase our team of colony caretakers to 1,000, supporting more than 4,000 cats in the community.

All of these cats have a better life because of you! Many are alive solely because Tree House, with your help, was able to provide expert care.

Your donation is the gift they need. Help give hope to thousands of homeless cats like Catbot this holiday season.

Black Cat Ball | What a Celebration

This year’s Black Cat Ball was a big success! We celebrated with fellow cat lovers and raised money to support our work to help even more cats across Chicago who deserve a second chance.

Check out photos of the evening below.

Our sincere thanks to everyone who attended and to our emcee, Natalie Bomke from Fox 32 Chicago, auction donors, Ball volunteers, and to all of Tree House’s passionate animal lovers who help make our vision of every cat thrives possible.

Thank you to our sponsors: Merrick Pet Care, Cat Hospital of Chicago, Halby Marketing, Inc., Bridgeview Bank, and Pets First Veterinary Clinic.

Honoring Adopters and All the Cats We Help

Harry has added so much joy and love to my life. He is the sweetest, gentlest, most loving cat I have ever met.

— Annette

All of us at Tree House are tremendously grateful to generous donors like you who make our work possible and for the wonderful cats we have the honor of helping.

Cats are part of our family. They make us laugh. They get us up early in the morning and sometimes in the middle of the night. They listen to our problems, sleep on our favorite sweaters, and add joy to our lives.

This year, we wanted to share two wonderful Happy Endings.

Adopters like Josh & Dana and Annette give Tree House cats a second chance at family.

Love at First Sight – Harry’s Story

Harry the hunter. Here he is in his new home getting ready to pounce on his favorite prey…the bookmark!

Harry came to Tree House as a stray. He is a senior, FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) positive cat who was pretty shy at first. Slowly, he started to come out of his shell. Meanwhile, his future adopter, Annette, was learning about him on our website. “I was in love with him before I even met him.” When Annette finally met Harry in person, she adopted him that day!

Harry is an incredibly sweet cat who yearns for the love of a human. He has settled into his new home very well and enjoys cuddling with Annette when it is reading time and eagerly seeks pets from everyone who visits.

Best Friends in the Making – Sigmund – aka Siggi’s Story

 

Siggi has been such a joy to have around the house. He and his new brother, Otto, love to wrestle and chase each other all over. It’s adorable.

— Josh and Dana

Sigmund is an FeLV (Feline Leukemia Virus) positive cat. Although he has a weakened immune system, with proper care and diet, he can lead a rich life.

Josh and Dana felt that their FeLV+ cat, Otto, needed another playmate after his sister passed away. They read about Siggi on our website and thought he would be a perfect fit. When they came to Tree House to meet this beautiful black cat in person, they “immediately fell in love with his charm!”

Siggi loves his new cat brother as well as hanging out on the window sill and watching the world go by. He is happy, healthy, and loved.

A Gift that Gives Back: honor or remember a special person or pet with a Tribute Gift

Each year, Tree House remembers and honors special people and pets who are important in our supporters’ lives through the Lights of Love lighting ceremony at our Holiday Open House. For each gift that a donor makes, a white light will be lit for those being remembered and a multi-color light for those being honored. Thousands of lights will illuminate the shelter throughout the month of December — “shining bright” for the people and pets who have added great joy and love to our lives.

Please consider giving a tribute gift to remember or honor a special person or pet in your life and send a personalized e-card to that special someone.

Each tribute gift is $15 which provides a week of meals for one stray cat or kitten.

Join Us at Our Holiday Open House

This year, our Open House will be held on Saturday, December 8th. Get your tickets today.

Obese, Filthy, FeLV+, FIV+…Saving Leo

Leonardo was in bad shape when he arrived at Tree House. He was so obese, weighing more than 20 pounds, that he couldn’t even groom himself. His hair was matted and filthy. Leonardo was diagnosed with Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), and he had very painful and severe dental disease.

He Might Not Survive Surgery

Given his weight, performing surgery to heal his dental problems was too risky. Waiting also had its challenges. The infection in his mouth could easily become something more complicated since his immune system was already very compromised.

Most shelters would have euthanized Leonardo. Tree House knew this gentle cat could recover and deserved a second chance.

With care and a special diet, Leonardo began to improve, and when he lost 20% of his body weight, he was finally able to have his dental surgery.

A Svelt and Beautiful Guy

Leonardo has fully recovered and is doing very well. He continues to lose weight slowly and looks great. Leonardo’s energy has returned, and he loves to play. He is one of the easiest-going cats you’ll ever meet, and he enjoys laps and pets. Leonardo is ready for a new home and lifelong companions.

Millions of Community Cats Who Need Help

There are millions of community cats living outdoors in the United States. Some, like Leonardo, are strays who like to interact with humans and would do well in a loving, indoor home.  However, the majority are feral and do not want contact with humans. Once they are spayed/neutered and vaccinated, the outdoors is their home.

Tree House believes that all cats deserve to have the homes and care that are best for them. We make a difference in cats’ lives every day.

Members Help Cats Like Leo

Members are critical to our ability to help cats across our community. Please join us to  help us fulfill our mission of giving cats a second chance at a better life—indoors or outdoors.

Dozens of Cats Roaming in a Chicago Neighborhood

A couple of weeks ago, Lori called Tree House from Chicago’s Portage Park neighborhood asking for help with the cats roaming around her block. Bob Sutton and Elise Ericksen, Tree House Community Cats Field Specialists, went out to investigate and were amazed by what they saw.  Bob shared, “There had to be at least 20 to 25 cats milling about when we got out of the van.” Elise added, “It’s unusual to see so many cats in the middle of the day. That tells me there must be many more around here.”

A Common Situation in Many Neighborhoods

This situation is prevalent in many neighborhoods across the city, and it underscores the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of outdoor cats living around us. Most are feral cats. Some are strays that can live indoors.

An Expanded Commitment by Tree House

In August, the Tree House Board of Directors and senior leadership completed a strategic planning process and committed to refocus and redouble the organization’s efforts to address community cats.

The Portage Park cats are an example of how Tree House works with residents to create safe and healthy environments for outdoor cats while working to contain the population through spay/neuter efforts. The first step is working with neighbors to carry out targeted Trap, Neuter and Return services focused on the area’s outdoor cats.  Fewer cats having litters is key to making a dent in overpopulation. Second, Bob and Elise recruit volunteers to serve as Colony Caretakers. The Caretakers regularly feed the cats and check for health issues. Many also provide winter shelters for their colonies. Caretakers also watch for new cats coming into the colony so that Tree House and volunteers can immediately trap and neuter the newcomers to prevent pregnancies and the birth of more community cats.

Together We Can Create a Better Environment for Outdoor Cats

With community investment and teamwork, communities can manage their cat populations and provide safe, healthy environments for outdoor cats in their neighborhoods.

Tree House Director of Operations Speaks About Community Cats

Darlene Duggan, who manages the Tree House Community Cats program, recently talked about the future of community cats and the issue of cat overpopulation. Listen to the interview here:

You can be a part of the solution by donating to support our efforts to help community cats.

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