#ThanksToMaddie, We Can Save More Kittens!

Last Sunday, many of us from Tree House (staff, fosters, volunteers) gathered in our community room together with ten other rescue organizations to take a class from the National Kitten Coalition (NKC) that delivered important information about saving more kittens. Presented by Rosemarie Crawford, the class covered topics ranging from providing urgent care to kittens upon intake to dealing with infectious diseases and how to offer supportive care for illnesses like panleukopenia. Everyone walked away with a comprehensive handbook and much more confidence to go forward caring for little ones.

Tree House’s Dr. Emily and Rosemarie Crawford addressing our full house. (Photo provided by Rosemarie.)

Tree House was also able to host the NKC for an afternoon session aimed at helping shelters/rescues start or improve and expand their foster programs, a particularly important initiative during kitten season, when it seems like the little guys are falling out of the sky. This was all thanks to a grant from Maddie’s Fund to the NKC so that they are able to offer this lifesaving program to organizations who need it. Topics included information on how to find fosters, the benefits of fostering (For this writer, it has always been the joy of seeing kittens in my bathtub), how to fund your programs, and how to set your fosters up for success throughout the program. Thanks to Maddie, Tree House and all the organizations who joined us are now ready to improve our foster programs for this season and in the coming years.

A big thank you to both the NKC and Maddie’s Fund for making this day happen. We were so proud to host you and all of the wonderful organizations who joined us for the day so that, as a community, we can do more to help further our unified cause of saving lives.


Tree House.

P.S. For our readers who are curious about fostering, send us an email at fosterATtreehouseanimals.org to learn more. Olga and Kate, our fabulous foster team, will answer all of your questions with no pressure to go forward if you decide it’s not right for you. We’ll even be having a foster recruitment Kitten Shower this year on May 5, from 11 am to 1 pm (details to come) if you want more hands-on demonstrations. Fostering is a direct way to save a life (or many tiny lives) so if you’re even a little, kitten-sized bit interested in bottle feeding, snuggling, cuddling, and helping to raise a furry little friend who will always hold you forever dear as their very first loving human, send us a note. All you need is a spare room and a big heart.

Community Cats Ride Along: THIS Is Why We Neuter

Alana from Tree House here!

Earlier this week, I went on a ride along with Bob, half of our fearless Community Cats team known affectionally here as ZZTrap, thanks to their luxurious beards. The intention was to teach me more about the process and to get some great photos to show our community how hard these guys work to reach needy cats around the city. I got more education than I had anticipated.

A large part of TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return), and very likely the most important part, is the Neuter (or spay, in the case of a lady cat.) Every season that cats are left to procreate makes harder work for shelters and rescues in the future, and without the Neuter, cats take their duties very seriously and stay busy (pun kind of intended) all season long.

The targets. They’ve spotted us.

On this particular day, Bob was visiting a home that had numerous cats requiring our services and set up a plan for trap placement. Tree House uses humane traps (which we loan out free of charge for 2 weeks to intrepid trappers who want to help with Mission: TNR) with some delicious tuna to lure the little guys in. Once they’re trapped, we cover them with blankets to keep them calm and transport them safely back to our shelter where they’re cared for until their surgeries.

Bob surveyed the space, discussed a plan with the homeowner who’d been caring for these cats, and set up his traps.

Bob setting the traps.

And then we waited. After a brief period, we got one cat, a large male. He looked at Bob, Bob looked at him, he wondered why and how he’d been detained by a garden gnome, and then we covered him with a blanket to keep him calm and gently stowed him safely in our van.

After a small catch, Bob re-assessed the trap placement, and then we waited. In the end, we caught five cats, all of who were taken in to Tree House and given the medical care they needed. All five were assessed for level of socialization, a process Tree House follows for all incoming cats. Any who love to be with people are adopted out and any who would prefer to live their lives without human contact are placed back safely and with kind parting words.

After a successful trapping, Bob and I went out once more to do a site survey. When Bob gets a call about cats needing help, he’ll visit the site first to see how many cats are around and what the situation is like so he can best prepare to help. After knocking on a few doors and talking to neighbors and other involved parties, Bob creates a plan and helps all the cats he can.

We visited one particular site that had some things I didn’t want to see or photograph, but then I thought of you all and how it’s really important to share the things we see here as rescue workers so you know what your donations are going towards. On this day, we saw a lady cat, a lady cat who, we have no doubt, will say “Hurray for spay!”

Hurray for Spay, indeed.

If you’ve ever wondered why one litter of kittens might have brothers and sisters that look so different from each other, I believe Tree House has successfully put that question to bed for you, so to speak.

And, so you know, we also have a fine example of another cat here who Bob, in his wisdom, turned to me and said, “I’ll bet that one is probably neutered.”


Bob will be back to help these cats.

I hope you enjoyed our Tree House Community Cats ride along and that you find it enlightening and informative. Should you feel the need to help further our TNR goals, we’re currently running our “Neuter is Cuter” campaign. $50 provides a neuter for one male cat and a good night’s sleep for innumerable lady cats.

Thank you for all your support. We couldn’t do it without you.

With Love,

Tree House.

PS. Our blog now has a newsletter sign up on the home page! Enter your email to get notified about all of our upcoming blog posts. We publish one every Friday to let you know what we’re up to.

Volunteers Wanted: Clinic, Pet Food Pantry, and TNR!

Dear Everyone,

We need you. Without volunteers, Tree House would melt. Well, maybe not MELT, but we might start to sweat and then we’d have no one to help dry us off. We’d have no one to enrich the cats with bubbles and bird videos. And we’d have fewer people to insert microchips, administer vaccines, and keep track of our all-important Pet Food Pantry, which would set us behind in our goals, and the cats don’t like when Tree House gets behind in our goals.

Stormy is concerned we’ll get behind in our goals.

Volunteers help make Tree House what it is. And right now, we have a few needs:

  • Our Pet Food Pantry program needs a Manager and Assistant. Shifts are alternating Thursdays when the Pantry is open to the public. Shifts are 9-12, 12-3, and 3-6.
  • The Cat Cafe (Coming soon….we promise!) requires some assistance from Assistants who will help maintain the cafe colony room, greet visitors, and monitor visitor/cat interactions. Shifts will be Thursday through Sunday from 11:30 – 2, 2 – 4, and 4 – 6:30.

We are ready to break last year’s TNR numbers and want to hit 1,200 Spay/Neuter surgeries this year. In order to do that, we need:

  • A Spay/Neuter Admin Assistant to help with data entry and administration duties. Shifts are Tuesdays, with flexible times.
  • A TNR Assistant. This one’s more of a clinical role and will require someone who wants to learn to administer vaccines, place microchips, and other basic clinic procedures. Shifts are Tuesdays, 8-1 or 11-4.

Interested? Wait. Before you say no, think again. Think about how good it would feel to help a non-profit. Think about how cool you’d be if you said, “Yeah, I helped neuter a cat today.” Think about how light your heart will feel when you hand a family the food that will allow them to fill the belly of their furry loved one during a difficult financial time.

Now that you’ve thought about all that, visit our volunteer page and fill out some info. Our Volunteer Coordinator, Shannon, will call and have a chat with you. Then you come to an orientation. Then you pick a shift. And then the magic of giving back to your community begins. Simple!

Stormy needs you. We need you.


Tree House.

National Kitten Coalition Visits Tree House – Join Us!

Dear Tree House Supporters,

We’re excited to tell you that, on March 24th, from 9 am to 1 pm, we are welcoming the National Kitten Coalition (NKC) into our shelter to conduct an important, life-saving workshop just in time for kitten season, and we’d like you to join us.

The NKC is a non-profit dedicated to helping shelters and rescues save more kittens. The presentation will be conducted by Rosemarie Crawford , one of the co-founders of the NKC, and will focus on the topics of:

– Stabilizing kittens, critical care

– Care for orphaned kittens (housing, feeding, etc)

– Common concerns like singles, putting w/ nursing queens, genital sucking, etc

– Treatment protocols for diseases (that will fit big and small budgets) including diarrhea

– Exams for foster parents/volunteers

– Early disease recognition

There will also be a Q&A and handouts.

Question: Who’s coming to learn about my needs? Anyone?

We are pleased to say that the spots are filling up fast and, thus far, we have eight other rescue organizations joining us to learn about kitten care. Tree House couldn’t be more proud to host our community in support of such an important cause.

If you know of another organization that would benefit from this workshop, please share the information with them. We encourage anyone who wants to learn to attend, including kitten foster parents, rescue volunteers,  and other rescues and shelters. The public is also welcome.

Details and tickets are available here.  We have only a few spaces left and sign up closes March 13th. Tickets are $25, or $20 if you’re a Tree House volunteer. Please come so we can get together as a community and save some kittens! They’re depending on us.

With Love,

Tree House.



Neuter is Cuter! Hurray for Spay!

Greetings, Tree House Supporters!

Today, we launch our yearly Spay & Neuter campaign, where we ask for your donations to help us remove the kitten-causing bits of cats all over Chicago. In 2018, you helped us spay/neuter 785 cats. This year, our goal is to increase that by almost 200% for a grand total of 1,200 surgeries.

If you happen to get our Spay & Neuter Appeal in the mail, you’ll get to see how Chip and Dip, some of our neutered cats, feel about the whole ordeal. Chip may refer to his manhood as “an empty showpiece,” but we want you to trust us and believe that it’s for his best. Here’s why: 600 males and 600 females, unsterilized, would produce at least 24,000 kittens in five years. That’s over five times the number of cats Tree House is able to adopt out in the same amount of time. And with kitten season just around the corner, now is the time.

Now, some might say that we’re trying to put ourselves out of business by bringing cat numbers down. This may be true – business isn’t our number one goal; cats are. We want to see them thrive. We want to see them all in happy, loving homes. And, if there are more cats than homes, that can’t happen, so the best solution is Spay and Neuter to make sure that all cats can live safe, healthy, lives.

One surgery costs $50. If you think about it, that’s $50 now to prevent $1000 worth of surgeries in the next 5 years. Clearly, that’s just good financial sense. So, if you’re interested in helping us create a humane future for every cat in the city of Chicago, follow this link to read more about this year’s Spay & Neuter Appeal.  If you’re simply ready to join in our cause, click here to donate.  You will be our hero.


Tree House.



**Post edited to remove the info about the Marvel giveaway event that has passed.***