Dogs in Our Wellness Center? But of Course!

Dear Tree House Team,

We recently announced that we are opening a Veterinary Wellness Center in spring of 2021. We also announced that that wellness center would service dogs in addition to cats. We have a few notes we want to share about that second part.

line drawings of dog and cat on logo
Yup. That, right there, is a very conspicuous dog.

Now, we know that some people like to classify themselves as a “dog person” or a “cat person,” and some revel in the moniker “bi-petual.” At Tree House, we believe not in dog people or cat people but in good people, people who care about the well being of other creatures, be they fabulous, regal felines or raucous, barking, posterior-sniffing animals of the canine varietal.

And we know that all these good people want all creatures to have access to healthcare, spay/neuter services, and happy, healthy lives.

Therefore, we’ve decided to include dogs in our clientele, not only because of what we said above but for some other reasons, as well. For instance:

  • We did a feasibility study and found that many pet owners have both dogs and cats (we see you, bipetuals). It would be difficult to ask pet owners to go to two veterinary offices, so we’re making it easy. And easy = more spays/neuters and fewer homeless pets.
  • To make this initiative sustainable so that we don’t draw resources away from the programs we are already known for, we need to help dogs, too. If the center was cats only, we’d have to seek future subsidies from our general operations and we refuse to skimp on even one bag of catnip. Not one.
  • We conducted interviews with our founders and long-time supporters during the inception of this project and 99% of them were excited and receptive to helping dogs, too, because they care about animals as a whole.
  • This is an opportunity to help address affordable vet care, a major barrier for animal guardians and a large reason why pets end up in shelters in the first place.
  • History shows that non-profits can be successful at augmenting their community outreach with projects that are complementary to their mission. Think resale shops whose benefits go to supporting the original mission.

We’re thinking ahead about keeping everyone cozy, as well. We are working with an architect/contractor who specializes in high-volume clinics with an emphasis on creating stress-free environments. In other words, we will be keeping those kitties as stress-free as possible while we inhibit their procreation proclivities alongside their doggie friends.

This is adopted Tree House cat Louie Sorbet comforting his doggie friend Dixie when she was sick.

So, it’s true: dogs will be all up in the house, and Tree House will still be Tree House. We will be doing the same fantastic work for the cats of Chicago and beyond that we have been doing since 1971, and you can continue to count on us to be the cat experts that we are.

We are SO excited about this project and absolutely cannot wait to open our Veterinary Wellness Center in 2021. We look forward to having you all there to celebrate with us. Bring your kids, parents, friends, and heck, bring your dogs, too.


Tree House.

Dixie feels better now and Louie is grateful to have his friend healthy and well.

All Aboard the Shelter Skippers Foster Program!

Do you know what time it is? It’s about quarter to kitten season and that means Tree House is ramping up our foster team efforts with a brand new program: Shelter Skippers.

Calling all potential Captains! Our goal is to get these kitties cruising from foster straight into forever without ever touching the shelter. Why would we want to do this?

  • It increases our capacity for care – if cats don’t come into the shelter, we have more available floor space to help more cats
  • It’s less stressful for the cats – having to switch homes one less time is going to be better for cats whose lives are already in flux
  • Some cats show better in homes – the shelter, despite our best efforts, can be stressful – Other animals, new smells, new people every day. Many cats show their personalities much better in a home setting, which will help them get adopted faster so they can start their new lives being loved as soon as possible.

So, what are the differences between our previous foster program and Shelter Skippers? In the Shelter Skippers program, we’re asking our fosters to become active advocates for the cats in their care. This will include:

  • Advertising the cats with a public social media presence. Fosters are asked to turn their foster charges into online superstars. Well, OK, we don’t expect them to become the next Grumpy Cat, but we do ask that they become a regular part of your social media postings. The more their faces get seen, the quicker they will be adopted. And think of all the cute nautical themes you can use!
  • Posting a lawn sign, wearing a button (Ask me about my Skipper!), or handing out info cards about your cat(s)
  • Serving as an adoption advocate for interested adopters. Tree House will handle initial inquiries and paperwork, and then potential adopters will visit the foster cat in the foster parents’ home. Captains of the Skipper Squads (e.g. foster parents) will conduct the showing and provide feedback to Tree House about how it went.
  • Be there for the pick up. Adopters will come directly to your home to pick up their new family member.

Interested in helping Tree House expand our life-saving capacities? Then come to a Shelter Skippers info session to find out more! We’ll be holding them Thursday, February 13th at 6 pm and Saturday, February 22nd at 11 am. Can’t make either? We’ll be hosting a call in conference line to make it easier to attend (email for details). Still can’t get there? Email us.

If you’re already a foster parent, you can choose to take part in the Shelter Skippers program or not, depending on your comfort level. In either case, you’re a major part of why we can do what we do and we appreciate you.

TOOT TOOT! ALL ABOARD THE SKIPPER SHIP! Let’s get these kitties adopted!


Tree House.

Tree House’s TNR Fees Are Now Lowered to $30

Have you been dying to neuter an alley full of cats but our $50 TNR fee seemed out of reach? Well, worry no longer. Tree House is lowering our TNR fees to $30, effective immediately.

He’s just heard about our plans. He’s still processing the information.

Cats all around Chicago are scurrying under cars as they hear the news, but they’re no match for our expert Colony Caretakers and trappers. You will find them, you will trap them, and we (well, specifically Dr. Emily) will neuter them. And spay them. And microchip and vaccinate and provide flea treatment.

All for $30.

We believe this is in line with our mission to reach as many cats as possible in the Chicago area to help stem the tide of kittens that is rising with the temperatures. Spaying and neutering also prevents the spread of diseases like FIV and FeLV, as well as illnesses due to overcrowding and malnourishment. With a more accessible fee, we hope to reach more cats and communities than ever before.

TNR services are available to registered colony caretakers by appointment only. Interested in becoming one? Email us at or call 773-262-4000.





Tree House.

The CATalyst Winter 2020 Magazine is Now Available

BEHOLD the wonder of The CATalyst!

Hear ye! Hear ye! The newest edition of The CATalyst is now available for your reading pleasure!

Curious about Obesity in Cats? Read what Tree House Veterinarian Dr. Emily Swiniarski has to say about how Tree House handles it.

Are you preparing to get a new cat this year? Read up on what you need to prepare your friend’s home prior to their arrival.

Did you miss Lights of Love in 2019? Read about the highlights!

There’s plenty more packed into this 16 pages of Tree House goodness, so grab your copy now. They’re available in our lobby or you can download it online in PDF form.

If you like it, share with your friends! You can even share with your enemies. It’s so good, they might even become your friends. You won’t know until you try.


Tree House.

Outdoor Cat Shelters Now in Stock Thanks to Merrick Gives Back

We’re pleased to say today that we are fully stocked on outdoor shelters for our colony caretakers and their cats, so if you need one, come on by because they have been freshly made by Team Merrick!

the merrick team stands in the tree house lobby by our logo

As part of their Merrick Gives Back initiative, Merrick’s Evanston-office team members visited Tree House to build shelters that our community members can use to keep cats warm in the winter and give them a shady place to stay in the summer, too. “Give Back’ is a foundational value at Merrick,” they told us. “As a company, we believe that everyone can, and should, make a difference. This attitude of service motivates us to help each other and contribute more than is asked to our Merrick family and community.”

If you didn’t already know, all of our cats are powered by Merrick food. If you come in to visit and you see cats zooming around their colonies filled with energy, that’s because they’re filled with Merrick. If you come in and see cats snoozing away without a care in the world, that’s because they’re hard at work digesting their Merrick. Point being, all of our little guys are served Merrick foods. And we are VERY thankful for that support, because it allows us to take our worries away from meal planning and instead focus our thoughts on life saving.

Merrick also asked us if we would give them an opportunity to do something as a team to not only feed our hungry little charges but also to do something for the cat community at large. We hooked them up with our Community Cats Field Specialist Paul Nickerson (previously known to all as half of #ZZTrap until he so flippantly shaved off his beard) for a day of volunteerism.

The Merrick Team with former #ZZTrap member Paul Nickerson, seen at right with the naked face.

Merrick got to work with power tools, insulation, and upbeat attitudes building the tiny homes and refreshing our stock for the winter months ahead. The plastic tubs stuffed with insulation and straw will keep hundreds of cats dry, warm, and comfortable.They finished an incredible 140 shelters in just 3 hours. And they’re quality. We checked!

So, if you need a shelter, come to Tree House. Large ones are $35; Small ones are $25; keeping a cat warm is priceless.

And, if you want to find out more about becoming a colony caretaker or getting some TNR assistance in your area, OR you want to have a corporate volunteer event here, email us at for more information.

Sending a huge thanks to Merrick for all they do for Tree House. Thank you!


Tree House.

[FTC Disclosure: Tree House has a partnership with Merrick to receive food product from them for our cats.]

Here Comes Santa Paws’ Holiday Deliveries!

Walter is already wrapped up and ready to go.

Picture this: It’s a cozy Saturday afternoon. Snow is falling. There’s the faint ring of jingle bells in the distance. You’re snuggled up by the fire with a mug of hot cocoa in hand (extra marshmallows, of course) when suddenly you hear a faint pawing at the door…

There, in your doorway, is Saffy Claws and her team of elves! They’ve traveled through a wintry wonderland to arrive at your doorstep, and they didn’t come empty-handed —

They’ve brought a perfectly furry new addition for your home!


This holiday season, Tree House is ready to make this magical vision your reality with our Winter Wonderlove Adoption Delivery throughout December. Whether you’re a parent looking to surprise your child with the kitty they’ve been asking for all year long or a caring friend ready to help your loved one find their perfect match this Christmas, we’re excited to help create this special moment with you.

We know what you’re thinking. This sounds like a can’t-miss opportunity…

So don’t miss it! Visit the shelter between noon and 6:00 p.m. on December 12-13, 19-20, or 26-27 to choose your new feline family member and reserve your delivery for the following Saturday. Deliveries, completed on Saturday December 14, 21, and 29, can be reserved for a $100 fee (in addition to regular adoption fees) and will include a Sleepypod Cat Carrier, a gift package from Bentley’s on Devon, and a visit from Saffy Claws and her team of Tree House elves.

With an endless supply of cuddles, meows, headbutts, and more, Tree House kitties truly are the gifts that keep on giving.

After all, what’s a tree without a kitty underneath it?

Questions about how to participate? Email our Adoptions team at for more information. (Updated after publishing to include gift package from Bentley’s.)

The Lights Are Lit! See the Lights of Love Highlights

Thanks to everyone from near and far who made Lights of Love a grand success! Almost 300 people came together to enjoy live music by etc. Music School, donuts from Stan’s Donuts, food from Wow Bao, Foodlife, and Hub 51. Our 20th annual Lights of Love presented by VCA and Heal was tremendous fun and we truly believe it was our best Lights of Love ever.

Our staff went out of their way to deck out the shelter this year with a 15-foot tall tree donated by a generous family. Wreaths adorned almost every door and window and trees lined our hallways, all lit up in honor and memory of loved ones as part of our Lights of Love holiday appeal. That same appeal brought us hundreds of tags hand-decorated by our supporters from all over the country, which are now festooned like garland throughout the shelter where they will hang until the new year, and where visitors can read them and share in the love.

Some new additions to this year’s event included Virtual Adoptions so attendees could take home a tiny Tree House kitten representative in a scale model of our adoption box. They sold like little hot cakes! We also had face painting, holiday drinks in the cafe with a Marshmallow Bar, a wish tree for our cats (they got half of the yoga mats they need to start those Cafe yoga classes they’ve been dreaming about!), photos with Saffy Claws, a visit from Zoe the foster kitten, Hats on Cats, and more fun stuff.

We truly cannot thank everyone enough for making this the community event of the year here at Tree House. We are already planning for next year! Enjoy the photos from this year, taken by Sprung Photo, and stop on by when we’re open to see the lights still shining bright until 2020. We can’t wait to see you.


Tree House.

20th Annual Lights of Love: It’s Time to Light the Lights!

Are you ready for this year’s epic Lights of Love event, presented by HEAL Veterinary Clinic and VCA? You’re not? That’s ok, because it’s not until December 7th, so you have a few weeks to prepare yourself. And for what, might you wonder, must you prepare?

A letter from the cats to you.

There’s your first hint: Free food! Ok, so it costs $5 to get in the door, but after that, you’ll be generously treated to a vegetarian taco bar from Hub 51, veggie bao from Wow Bao, and donuts galore from Stan’s Donuts, plus a few other tasty goodies!

Is eating not your thing? Then spend your time checking out our TNR demos, fabulously put together by our illustrious Community Cats team, or take a few minutes to get a tour of our clinic to see where our cats get their teeth cleaned, their nails clipped, and their bits (you know the bits we mean) removed.

Not into clinical things? That’s ok! You can buy yourself a delicious holiday drink in our Cat Cafe with the add on marshmallow candy bar and spend a few minutes chilling with our cafe residents. Or, listen to live music provided by ETC. Music School and the Tree House choir.

Would you rather play a game? Then get yourself a ticket to Trap a Cat, the game where you seek to trap cats to win retro Tree House prize packages! Or, draw Hats on Cats for a chance to win a little treat.

Hats on Cats: a game to tell your grandchildren about.

Looking to adopt but aren’t quite ready? Virtual adoptions will be available for $25 – a stuffed kitten, a certificate, and a chance to win a gift card of equal value.

Of course, our store will be open with some excellent holiday sales and stocked with Tree House merchandise, the perfect way to tell someone you love them and that you want to see them wearing our logo. You can also shop for our cats and our community – purchase a tag from our tree to make our cats’ holiday dreams come true, or to help feed the cats of our community through our Pet Food Pantry.

And let’s not forget having your photo taken with Saffy Claws in her throne. She’ll be waiting.

Our cats are cleaning, tidying, and decorating for your arrival and they cannot wait to see you! So get your tickets ASAP to make sure we save you a space!

See you soon!


Tree House.

PS Can’t make it? You can still take part by shining a light for a loved one, past or present. Get your light here so it can help our cats shine bright all year long.

Tree House Partners With Pets For Patriots To Help Veterans Adopt

Everyone deserves good snuggles, but veterans especially!

Veterans Day is Monday, November 11th. On this day, we remember the brave individuals who have served on our behalf, but did you know that Tree House honors our veterans 365 days of the year through our ongoing partnership with Pets for Patriots?

No? Well let’s get you up to date.

Pets for Patriots is a nonprofit organization that helps United States military veterans adopt a new pet friend while giving the most overlooked shelter cats and dogs hope and a home. Check them out here.

As one of their shelter partners, Tree House provides veterans with a discounted adoption fee at $50 to adopt an adult cat. It’s simple. If you’re a veteran, you can get online and pre-qualify for the program. After that, head to Tree House. You bring your qualification letter, we’ll bring the kitties, and we’ll all have a little party on the adoption floor.

We’ll hoot and holler. We’ll look like this.

We’re proud to partner with Pets for Patriots in connecting our veterans with the cats who need their love. See which kitties are currently waiting for their forever homes, and maybe pass their photo along to a veteran in your life this Veterans Day.


Tree House

CAT’BARET SUCCESS: $100k+ Raised for Cats Through Magic, Song, and Sequins

The results are in and our first-ever Cat’baret event was a sparkling success! In total, we raised over $100,000 in sponsorships, pledges, and donations, with almost half of that coming in during our mid-show fundraiser.

After some fab tunes from the highly-talented cabaret team of Scott Gryder and Nick Sula, our fearless leader Raissa Allaire took to the stage to tell all of our attendees about the work Tree House has accomplished this year. From putting a comforting kitten into the hands of a 101-year-old man to working towards a clinic to provide spay, neuter, and wellness services to families and animals in need, Tree House has done a lot for our community, for which we are very proud.

After more entertainment and a sneak preview of the documentary being filmed by Scrappers Film Group about Tree House’s TNR efforts, our guests took part in a Fund the Need paddle raise. The hands of our incredibly generous donors were flashing up into the air to give to the cats and community that we serve and we are absolutely honored to announce that we raised $50,000 in donations and pledges during that portion alone.

It seems that philanthropy and fun can indeed go together and Tree House proved that last night. Check out some great snapshots of the festivities below. Special thanks to Sprung Photo for the event photography and Steve Scap for step and repeat photography.

If you’d like to contribute to Cat’baret, it’s not too late! You can still take part in this event by donating a virtual cocktail to our kitties. We don’t know about you, but we have yet to find a cat who would refuse a glass of Dom Purr-ignon.

A huge thank you to all of our sponsors, guests, staff, and friends who made this one of our most successful events to date. Thank you for believing in our work. It is all of you who are saving the cats of Chicago and beyond.



Tree House.

Cat’baret 2019 Sponsors:

Best in show: Accenture

Faithful Companion: Hypurrthyroid

Paw-tner: VCA Cat Hospital of Chicago, Pets First Veterinary Clinic, Fifth Third Bank, First Midwest Bank, Merrick Pet Care

Friends of Tree House: IDEXX Laboratories

Edited 11/7/2019 to amend donation totals.