Barely Hanging On – Insects Were Killing Her

When someone mentions kittens, you might immediately think of cute, cuddly furballs 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 more 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.

To Tree House Humane Society >>

Volunteer Feature: Long-Time Supporter Shares Her Story

A Tree House adopter and long-time supporter, Lynne recently started volunteering with our Adoption team. She shares why volunteering matters to her and about getting her “cat time”. 

How did you hear about Tree House? 

I adopted my two cats from Tree House in 1997, and I’ve been receiving Tree House mail and contributing since then.

How long have you been volunteering at Tree House? 

I’ve been volunteering for about a year. The new facility is closer to where I live, and I had decided that when Tree House’s new building opened I would volunteer.

What drew you to volunteer for Tree House? 

I believe in Tree House’s mission and how the organization takes care of its animals. My two Tree House cats lived long lives and passed away a couple of years ago. I did not know that my son is terribly allergic to cats when I adopted them (he was not living at home at the time). He would visit, but it was highly uncomfortable for him. I’ve moved into a smaller apartment and, for various reasons, I decided that I would not adopt another cat after losing my two. I am retired now and have been donating for years. I thought I might as well give my time, so this is how I get my kitty time.

After I finish my shift, I’m invited to take some “cat time”.  So I go home happy! But my son continues to ask me if I’ve brought anyone home yet.

What do you find rewarding about volunteering? 

Non-profit organizations like Tree House couldn’t be successful without volunteers. It is rewarding knowing that I can help. The Adoption Counselors are very good about thanking me and saying that my work is appreciated.  I feel like I’ve really accomplished something. This past year, I was trained on the organization’s animal and clinic database. The training offered by the staff helped me learn what I needed, and all the adoption counselors are happy to help when I get “stuck”.

Lynne helps enter data into our “cat” database. Her time and help is an important part of the behind-the-scenes work that is needed to operate our shelter (plus, she is an amazing baker and brings incredible treats for which we are so grateful!)

What do you think of the work that Tree House does and why it is important? 

In my role, I have an opportunity to read the files of admitted cats as I enter the information into the database. I am constantly amazed at the medical issues these kitties have and how much they are cared for at Tree House. Not everyone thinks that helping these cats is of value, but there are people who think it is worth it. And it takes money. The organization needs the people who work to raise the money to help these cats. It has to be incredibly expensive, and yet, it’s all done with love. I know all the Adoption Counselors love the work they do and it shows. Based on what I’ve seen, I don’t know if other shelters would take such good care of the cats.

What would you say to others who are considering volunteering at Tree House? 

If you love cats and want to do something that enables you to be around them, Tree House is a good place to be.

If you want to help a good cause, full of people who care about the animals, Tree House is a good place to be.

If you have a little extra time in your life to give to a good cause, Tree House is a good place to do it.

We are so grateful to Lynne and all of our wonderful volunteers for the hundreds of hours they give to Tree House. There are so many roles that go unseen but that are vital to enable us to do the work we do. We are making a difference in cats’ lives thanks to so many people who share our passion and support our work by volunteering. If you are interested in learning more about volunteer opportunities at Tree House please complete our volunteer application and our volunteer coordinator will follow up with you. 

Tree House Humane Society >>

Sherlock Adoption Update – FeLV+ Cat is Home

At Tree House, we believe every healthy and treatable cat deserves to have a forever home – including cats with special needs and chronic illnesses such as Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV).

First FeLV+ Adoption Program in Chicago

So, What is Feline Leukemia Virus

Many people are unfamiliar with FeLV, and, sadly, many cats who have the disease are euthanized due to a lack of adequate resources or knowledge. FeLV positive (FeLV+) cats can live happy and healthy lives even though their lives might be shorter than an FeLV negative cat. Tree House knew there had to be a better way, so we created a permanent FeLV adoption room at our new shelter.

Tree House became the only shelter in Chicago, and one of the few in the country, with a dedicated adoption program for FeLV+ cats. Since that time, we have become a resource for shelters throughout the Midwest, and many FeLV+ cats have been transferred to Tree House who might otherwise have been euthanized.

It’s Not Cancer

Contrary to some beliefs, FeLV is not cancer. It is a virus that breaks down a cat’s immune system, making the cat more susceptible to illnesses that otherwise do not impact healthy cats. These secondary illnesses are what typically lead to an FeLV+ cat’s death. While the estimated lifespan of a cat with FeLV is three to four years, we’ve had many FeLV+ cats who have lived much longer.

Sherlock is a great example of a cat who is doing very well with FeLV. A burly cat with a great personality to match, Sherlock is a loveable guy who was transferred to Tree House from another shelter that lacked the resources to help him. He is a healthy and happy FeLV+ cat who is now four years old.

Curious and silly, Sherlock loves people, and it was a wonderful day when Morgan and Katherine came to Tree House for a visit and gave this great guy a home. After visiting several other shelters, Katherine shared, “I knew the minute I walked into Tree House that this was the place for me.” She returned that weekend with her husband. They were open to learning more about FeLV – it is always so heartwarming when potential adopters are willing to give cats with special needs a chance and take the time to learn more about FeLV.

Sherlock loves his new “cat daddy”.  After talking to our adoption counselors, Katherine and Morgan felt that it was something they could easily handle, “Every kitty in the FeLV+ adoption room would have been an option for us, but Sherlock was ours from the beginning. [It was] love at first sight.”

Sherlock is settling into home life very well. “We are very grateful to Tree House for taking such great care of Sherlock and helping us find him.”

Sherlock likes to sit on his quilt and watch the traffic go by. He loves all his toys – for about three minutes, and then it is time to clean himself and pretend he was not just acting the goof. He is a constant companion – on the couch, in the bed, and right by the chair at mealtimes.

Giving FeLV+ Cats a Second Chance

We are thrilled for Katherine, Morgan, and Sherlock. We hope this story inspires others to learn more about cats with Feline Leukemia Virus and to consider adopting them. These cats deserve a home, and while the time you have with them may be less, the love and joy they bring will fill your heart for much longer!

Support our efforts to help FeLV+ cats and the many other cats who struggle with illness, injuries, and chronic medical conditions.

Scared, Sick, and Disoriented – Wandering in a Busy Street

Isaac was clearly struggling. Imagine the terror this poor cat was feeling: trapped in the middle of a busy Chicago street — turning in every direction, only to be confronted with another car rushing past. Isaac didn’t know how to get to safety.

It was only a matter of time before Isaac would be hit by a passing car and severely injured or killed.

Drivers Sprang into Action

Remarkably, several Good Samaritans saw that he was struggling and stopped their cars in the street, surrounding Isaac to protect him from oncoming traffic. One driver jumped out of her car and pulled him to safety. Immediately, she could tell Isaac was suffering and called Tree House for help!

In Bad Shape

When Isaac arrived at Tree House, he needed urgent care. During his initial veterinary examination, our clinic team discovered that Isaac had severe and painful infections in both ears and very limited vision — both of which contributed to his disorientation. He was also missing 13 teeth and suffering from dental disease, which is not uncommon for cats who are malnourished from living on the streets. In addition to treating his ear infections and extracting several infected teeth, we biopsied his tumor.

 When Isaac arrived, his first and most noticeable condition was a large raw tumor bulging on his right shoulder. Tests revealed his tumor was cancerous. But this beautiful cat’s good fortune continued — the type of cancer he had rarely spreads or recurs. We removed the tumor and his prognosis is very good!

A New Start

We placed Isaac with one of our foster parents so he could rest and recover and have the security of a warm bed, food, and water along with the love that he so desperately needed.

Isaac has healed incredibly well both physically and emotionally. He is a bit camera shy but a sweet and affectionate cat who turned out to be a real snuggler. He loves taking naps on a comfy lap. Despite being a senior cat with limited vision, Isaac is an active boy who enjoys playtime.

Ready for a Home

Thanks to people like you, Isaac is safe at Tree House and ready to be adopted. We hope this deserving cat will not have to wait long for his new home! Please share Isaac’s story to help him find a loving home.

Your Gift Helps Even More Cats Like Isaac

There are thousands of cats just like Isaac living outside in Chicago – many of whom are struggling. We believe every cat deserves to live a safe and healthy life.

Your Donation Helps Give Them a Fighting Chance!

To Tree House Humane Society

Adoption Update: Ella & The Healing Power of Cats

We have a heartwarming update about a cat named Ella. This stunning beauty was found roaming the streets and brought to Tree House. Coming off the street and settling into shelter life can be challenging, and Ella’s fears and anxieties came out in the form of overstimulation. Shelter life was difficult for Ella. She was hesitant and cautious at Tree House and liked to have her space. Sadly, this made it hard for individuals to get to know the sweet cat underneath her fears…until one fateful day when she met her new family.

Addie (12 years old) and her mom, Liz, began visiting Tree House when Addie was just 7 years old. Liz shared that Addie struggled with anxiety, and the pair began volunteering. Being at Tree House and with the cats and kittens was very positive in helping Addie learn how to work with her “everyday worries”. For several of her birthdays, this compassionate little girl conducted collections at her parties to raise money for the cats in lieu of gifts.

“Ahhh…life is so good in a home!”

A few months ago, after losing their cat Teddy after 22 years, Liz and her husband, Eric, along with Addie decided to check out Tree House’s new shelter – but with the agreement that there would be no adoptions because Eric wasn’t quite ready.

The family met Ella and were provided with some guidance on how to approach her to help avoid overstimulating her. However when they entered her room, “Ella walked right up to Eric and sat down in front of him. We hung out for a little while, then Addie and I moved on to the next room, but Eric stayed with Ella. Needless to say, when we left, we all decided we needed to spend more time with Ella.”

Liz, Eric, and Addie came back to visit Ella and that was all it took, “She broke our hearts and healed them at the same time, and we brought her home that day.”

We are so grateful to Liz, Eric, and Addie for taking the time to understand this beautiful cat, see beyond her anxieties and fears, and give her a chance.

Ella is doing great in her new home! “She’s very curious about where we are. And when we come home, she runs out like a puppy to greet us.” Ella loves her morning “zoomies”, “She runs the path from the basement to the 2nd floor of the house.” She also enjoys soaking up the morning sun in the bay window.

Addie has given her a middle name, so she is now Ella Forrester Brown – plus, she started an Instagram account for Ella. “We love her very much.” The family continues to work with Ella’s overstimulation issue which has improved. She is even attempting to become a snuggler.

We are so grateful to Liz, Eric, and Addie for giving Ella a second chance and a loving home. What a wonderful story about the cat-human bond as well as the powerful healing effects this bond can have on children!

You can change a cat’s life. Help us spread the word.

To Tree House Humane Society

New Friends, New Home, New Life: Sammy and Morris Adoption Update

We are happy to be able to share an adoption update about two easygoing cats, Morris and Sammy, who were recently adopted together.

Liang and her husband Casey visited Tree House, “determined to adopt that day after the recent death of our beloved cat Mieville.” Casey had adopted Mieville many years ago before meeting Liang. Mieville was Feline Immunodeficiency Virus Positive (FIV+) and had 11 good years in his forever home, “We attributed his calm, kind demeanor to the wonderful socialization he received at Tree House. When we were ready to fill our home again, we knew we had to return to Tree House at their amazing new location.”

Now fondly referred to as The Beefy Boys, these two have taken over their new home. These lovable guys can be found wrestling each other, lazily lounging around their new home, or meowing ferociously — begging to be fed.

Liang shared their experience of meeting Morris and Sammy at Tree House, “The Saturday of adoption day, both of us were wracked with nerves. We were so excited, but had no idea what to expect! All we knew was that we would shortly be growing our family by two. Casey and I both agreed that we wanted to adopt adult cats and were open to cats with special needs. Sammy was in one of the first cat adoption rooms we visited. He approached us right away and perched gracefully on a cat condo. His sleek, tuxedo coat and cute black goatee drew our attention, and he loved rubbing his face and neck against our hands. [He had] a shy demeanor, and the most adorable “elevator butt”! He was instantly one of my favorites.”

They continued visiting cats at our shelter when, “This beefy orange and white, 15 lb. furball strutted into the middle of the adoption room. We loved how he [Morris] seemed like a luxurious boy, commanding to be petted. Despite his big ‘tude’, he was also very gentle and welcoming. We considered how these two cats would get along and decided to take the chance.”

The two cats love to wrestle and hang out together. After arriving in their new home, “By the end of the first night, Morris was walking around like he owned the place. Sammy was hesitant and slowly came out of his shell over the next several days. Introducing the two to each other was  a breeze — they nose-booped and the rest is history!”

“Sammy and Morris have brought so much joy into our lives. We will continue to adopt from Tree House for the rest of our lives as they have truly helped us in so many ways!”

Morris was obese for his size when he arrived at Tree House. We are glad to learn he has continued to slim down in his new home, “his svelte new figure weighs in at around 13 lbs!”

We are so grateful to Liang and Casey for giving these beauties a loving, forever home together and for their wonderful support of Tree House.

You can help a homeless cat by adopting or donating to help us save more lives. Give to Tree House >>

 

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