I read you’re “releasing” cats on the streets. Is this true?

Not quite! Our Cats At Work are feral cats. In our TNR efforts, we make our best attempt to return the cat to its home environment. Sometimes, though, that environment is gone or unsafe because of human intervention. Because these cats would not thrive in a shelter or home environment, they’ve been overlooked in the past, resulting in long stays at animal control and even euthanasia. Our program finds new, safe outdoor placements for them so they can live their best lives.

What about the bird population?

By practicing TNR (trap/neuter/return), we are able to control cat populations and reduce the number of feral cats and create a net positive impact on the small animal population of Chicago. While outdoor cats (managed and not) are natural predators to birds, Tree House Cats at Work are also provided with food, water, and shelter. Our friends at Best Friends have an excellent resource on how TNR helps with wildlife conservation! You can read that here: https://bit.ly/BestFriendsTNR

Don’t rats carry disease?

Our Cats at Work cats are feral cats who have already gone through the trap/neuter/return process and are vaccinated against diseases like rabies. While feral cats do kill rats, often their pheromones are enough to scare rats away.

Shouldn’t we be taking cats off the streets?

Our Cats at Work cats are feral cats, not house cats, that need to be relocated for various reasons (including loss of habitat, human intervention, or loss of a caretaker). Because they would not thrive in a shelter or home environment, these cats have frequently been overlooked in the past, often resulting in long stays at animal control or even euthanasia. We trap, neuter, and vaccinate feral cats before returning them to an outdoor colony with a registered caretaker. These caretakers make sure their cats are well cared for by providing food, water, and shelter!

What will the cats do for food and water?

We place Cats at Work cats with caretakers who provide food, water, and shelter and attend to their medical needs. In most cases, the cats are better cared for after placement in the Cats at Work program than they were before. 

What Is Tree House Humane Society?

Tree House Humane Society is a humane organization that is best known as Chicago’s first cage-free cat shelter, started in 1971. Tree House exists to help stray, injured, abused, and abandoned cats. We also offer a wide variety of programs to help animals and the people who live with them. Please call our main desk number at 773-262-4000 if you have questions.

Some of our programs include:

∙ Volunteer Program – ext. 123

∙ Junior Volunteer Program – ext. 123

∙ Humane Trap Rentals, TNR assistance, Spay/Neuter – main desk

∙ Cat Adoption Center – main desk

∙ Development – ext. 120

∙ Outreach Events – ext. 123

How did Tree House get started?

A: A small group of caring people were concerned about the lack of services for animals in Chicago. They held meetings, planned, and organized. They also took in needy strays and cared for them in their own homes. Once their ideas began to take hold, they formed the organization that would take the name of Tree House Humane Society. You can read more about it here.

Are you all volunteers?

No. We have dedicated full-time staff who help us care for our cats and run our programs 7 days a week. We also have over 200 hard working, dedicated volunteers working side by side with our staff. Volunteers work in every area of Tree House from direct care for the cats to data entry. Members of our Board of Directors are all Tree House volunteers, as well.

I would like to volunteer at Tree House! What should I do?

Please visit the volunteer section of our website. There you will find numerous opportunities that hopefully will interest you. If you have specific questions about a volunteer position, do not hesitate to email our Volunteer Coordinator at volunteer@treehouseanimals.org!

Where do you get your operating funds? Do you get government grants?

Tree House Humane Society is funded by donations, adoption fees, and merchandise sales. We do apply for private and corporate grants when we can, but we rely on the generosity of caring individuals for the majority of our funding. We do not receive any government assistance.

Do you house FIV-Positive and FeLV-Positive cats?

Yes! We see no reason not to. Our FIV-positive cats are integrated into our normal colonies. Our FeLV-positive cats are in colony 1. Come visit and see how amazing they are! Our counselors will discuss with you all of the specifics of their care to see if one will fit well into your home.

How can I learn more about Tree House?

At Tree House we are very proud of our service to the cats and the community! You should stop in for a visit and see the shelter for yourself. We love to show off our shelter and our great cats! We are open for adoption Thursday thru Sunday from 12 pm to 6 pm or you can call 773-262-4000 to arrange a tour.

Do you have dogs at Tree House?

No. We are not licensed to have dogs on our property. Although we do not shelter dogs, we do offer humane education programs that encourage kindness to all animals. We we will, however, be serving dogs with our Veterinary Wellness Center. Learn more here!

How much does it cost to adopt from Tree House?

Tree House Humane Society’s current adoption fees are reflected on our Adoption Page. Adoption fees includes spay or neuter surgery, a microchip, and complete vaccinations.

Can I adopt an unspayed/unneutered cat?

No. With more than 4 million unwanted cats and dogs euthanized each year, we cannot allow any Tree House Humane Society cat to be adopted out prior to spay or neuter.

I would like to admit my cat to Tree House. Will you take him?

Tree House Humane Society’s focus is to aid sick, injured, and abused stray cats. And as such, we cannot take owner surrenders. We must place priority with those cats that have no one to speak for them! If you would like to call Tree House Humane Society at (773) 262-4000, we would be happy to direct you to a shelter that might be able to assist you. We frequently recommend calling Chicago Animal Care and Control or Anti-Cruelty Society, both of which are in Chicago.

There’s a stray cat in my alley. Will you take her?

Admissions are handled according to appointment availability and shelter space. Please call our reception desk at (773) 262-4000 and let our staff know about the cat’s situation.

Do you ever turn animals away?

Our model cage-free Adoption Center is designed to rescue and rehabilitate sick and injured strays – those that would face immediate euthanasia at many other shelters. Because of the vast number of stray and unwanted animals, no shelter could possibly take them all. That is why Tree House Humane Society attacks the homeless animal problem on all fronts – with spay and neuter services, humane education, behavior counseling, assistance for low-income cat and dog owners, as well as sheltering.

My new partner does not like my cat. Will you take my cat?

It might take time to introduce your cat to the new person in your life. There are several ways to introduce the new person in your life to your companion animal. With time and a little patience you and your new partner can both enjoy the company of your cat together. Tree House can offer you advice to help introduce your companion animal to the new person in your life. Contact us at info@treehouseanimals.org or give us a call at 773-262-4000!

My cat (scratches my furniture, won’t use the box, bites, etc.) What can I do?

Cats are complex creatures! There could be many reasons for your cat’s behavior. It is always a good idea to first consult with your veterinarian if your cat displays a new, odd behavior. You can also call us at 773-262-4000 for more assistance.

What is your position on declawing cats?

Tree House Humane Society does not support declawing. Scratching is a natural activity for cats and should be directed towards items intended for that use, like a scratching post or pad.

My animal is in need of emergency care. Can I bring him to you?

Tree House is not set up to be an emergency clinic and cannot assist with emergency care. Please locate your nearest emergency clinic.