Resident Profile: Lionel

by Sonia Ramos

If you are seeking a cat companion whose passions include wet food and asking his human for cuddles then we strongly recommend reading all about our Shelter Skipper Lionel.

“I’m the king of the jungle! At least until nap time.” – Lionel

Lovely Lionel arrived at Tree House in mid-February as a transfer in from South Suburban Humane Society because Lionel tested positive for Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV+). What is FeLV+?

FeLV+ or Feline Leukemia Virus is a retrovirus that is exclusive to cats and can cause a weakened immune system, making an FeLV+ cat more susceptible to falling ill or having difficulties fighting off an illness. However, every FeLV+ cat is different. The average lifespan for an FeLV+ cat is around two to three years old but at Tree House, we have seen FeLV+ cats live upwards of ten, well into their golden years, in their respective adoptive homes. 

For example, Tree House alumna Trisha (pictured below) is happily enjoying her forever home at the ripe age of eleven despite being FeLV+. 

“I also beat the odds by loving water!” – Trisha


While there is no treatment yet for FeLV+, the best way to ensure an FeLV+ cat has the highest quality of life is to provide them with regular veterinary care along with feeding them a high-quality diet. Ensuring that stress levels are kept low in the home by providing the cat with plenty of enrichment is equally important.

With Lionel by your side, we can guarantee that he will provide you with plenty of enrichment too! 

“Wake me up when it’s dinner time.” – Lionel


Lionel is known for being extremely sweet and not at all intimidating like a lion. His foster mom Jellyxa has nothing but kind words to say about Lionel:

He adjusted very quickly to my apartment when I first got him. Even though he had just had his surgery, he welcomed (and asked for) pets and cuddles. He’s a very mellow cat who will sleep in one of his two favorite spots throughout the day. His big appetite makes him think you’re going to feed him every time you stand up, haha! Wet food is heaven for him so I tend to mix dry food with wet food or a bit of water to entice him to eat it. I have never met such a sweet cat and I can’t explain how much he loves when you give him attention. His very active tail is adorable to watch and whe犀利士
n he feels really loved, he’ll flop onto his side like a bunny!”

Lionel would do great in a relaxed household as a solo cat or with another FeLV+ cat, ideally. Tree House has made great strides in rescuing and adopting out FeLV+ cats over the past several years it is one of our goals as a humane society to educate our community on what FeLV+ is as a whole and explain why that diagnosis should not be viewed in a negative light nor should the diagnosis act as a barrier for an otherwise loving cat to get adopted into a mutually loving home.

If you can’t take the cuteness of Lionel, contact us at or at 773-262-4000 ext. 101 for more information on possibly adopting Lionel and how to meet him through our Shelter Skippers program.

Categories:  Feline Leukemia Positive (FeLV+) Foster Test