At Tree House, we’re constantly focused on how we can innovate: it’s in our DNA! To measure our impact in the community and focus our efforts, reliable data is key. That’s why Tree House is partnering with Kitizen Science for an exciting new project.


Kitizen Science is an animal welfare research nonprofit based in Washington led by Sabrina Aeluro. A winner of the Petco Innovation Showdown, Kitizen Science conducted a pilot study in New York before expanding to two cities in 2021.

By using population modeling techniques from wildlife and population ecology, Tree House and Kitizen Science volunteers will conduct a survey of cats in Chicago over the course of multiple weeks. 

The goal of this project is to document cat population sizes and directly measure the impact of our Trap/Neuter/Return work through our Community Cats program. By partnering with Kitizen Science and a team of volunteers, we’re able to take on this data collection project without affecting our capacity to provide TNR and community support. The results of this study will help our future efforts as well as other TNR programs nationwide be even more successful!


We’re looking for volunteers to help us get a reliable census of outdoor cats in specific areas of Chicago. The ideal volunteer…

  • is over the age of 18
  • is comfortable with a smartphone (apps and camera)
  • is able to walk up 1 – 2 miles at a time
  • is available for multiple evenings during the survey period
  • loves cats and wants to help!

Volunteers will follow a walking route and photograph any outdoor cats. After images are submitted through a secure smartphone app, the photos are sorted and processed. They are sent to a quantitative ecologist, who analyzes the data and applies modeling methods to generate a rigorous, science-based population estimate. 

Survey is June 13 – June 30!