Meet Our Community Cats TNR Team!

Do you know about our Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program? What about our Cats At Work program, which is helping businesses and homes all across Chicago solve their rat problems in an ecologically sound manner? If you’ve heard of either, then you are already familiar with the work of Bob and Paul, the core members of Tree House’s Community Cats team!

bob and paul TNR

Bob (left) and Paul (right), also known collectively as “ZZTrap”

Bob has been with Tree House for almost a year and is the one most seen hiding in the bushes waiting for cats. His role is an important one, because trapping is the very foundation of our TNR program.

If a cat is living outside with no one to care for it, it can fall prey to a number of dangers including illness, hunger, and procreation. What happens when cats have kittens? Those kittens have more kittens. And then what? Overcrowding happens, and that leads to more illness and more hunger. Therefore, TNR is the solution for a more humane future.

If you identify a cat living outside, Bob is the person at Tree House who can help assess the situation and assist with trapping. Once the cat is trapped, s/he’ll be brought to Tree House for neuter or spay surgery, microchipping, and medical assessment, and if the cat prefers to live outside based on our team’s evaluation, he will be returned by Bob to where he was initially trapped. Bob will also coach you in how to trap and return so you can continue being part of the solution after he leaves, but he’ll leave the neutering up to our resident vet Dr. Emily, so no worries there.

Moving on to our Cats At Work program! The best choice is to always return community cats to where they were trapped, but that may not be an option. When they cannot be returned, such as when an abandoned building they are living in is going to be demolished, Tree House places them into the Cats At Work program and that’s where Paul, who has been with Tree House for three and a half years, comes in. Tree House, and Paul, will take those cats and re-home them to your location through an acclimation process following their trapping and neuter or spay.

As part of our Community Cats program, someone near the colony of cats will become a caretaker and be able to feed and care for the cats legally, with support from Tree House.

                                             Partners in Cat

So, if you see Bob hiding in the grasses of your neighborhood, remember that he will be very happy to teach you how to TNR so you can be a part of your community’s cat overpopulation solution. He also likes to cook every single day, so you may want to invite him in and direct him to your kitchen. And if you get a call from Paul asking about your rat problem, take a moment to ask him about his accordion. He only plays in private, so it’s kind of a mythical topic at Tree House.

In either case, don’t forget to thank these awesome Community Cats team members for doing their part to save cats’ lives and making sure that all cats, indoor and outdoor, thrive.

If you want to learn more about these programs, call us! We’re happy to help.


Tree House.

P.S. Many of you asked about our outdoor Community Cat shelters. We now have more in stock! We have plenty of the Large size ($35) and the Small ($25), with a limited number of them decorated by area school children. Come get yours and make sure your Community Cats are comfy and warm all year!

One of our limited edition Cat Shelters. Same price as the regular. A super bargain!


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.


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.