We’re so happy one of our favorite programs is receiving so much attention! Catch us on WGN, Fox Chicago, and NPR’s Morning Edition, as well as in publications like People, The Hill, and The Independent. We even got made fun of on Stephen Colbert (a huge honor, to be clear) and ended up on Reddit.

When they told us cats were big online, we weren’t expecting like this! That said, we understand these programs bring up a lot of questions. Our vision is a world where every cat thrives, and that means making sure they’re placed and cared for somewhere that’s best for them. 

Feral cats, and especially feral cats without safe habitats, have frequently been overlooked in the past, often resulting in long stays at animal control or even euthanasia. Our Community Cats and Cats at Work programs help us save cats in every environment.

Not sure what to make of all this? Read our blog post with everything you ever wanted to know about our feral cat programs!

cat on a chicago trash can

Community Cats

The Community Cats program focuses on outdoor cats and finding long-term living solutions for them. For those that are stray or abandoned, Tree House rehomes them through our adoption program. For those that are feral and for whom the outdoors is their home, managed community colonies provide healthy, nurturing environments.

In 2007, Cook County passed the Managed Care of Feral Cats ordinance, which permits the creation of managed feral cat colonies. Tree House manages over 1,000 colonies that are home to more than 4,000 outdoor cats. Colony caretakers are registered with Cook County and receive training and support from Tree House. Caretakers are responsible for providing food, water and shelter to the cats in their care. Caretakers are also expected to spay or neuter the cats in the colony. They trap and bring their cats to Tree House’s in-shelter clinic to be neutered, vaccinated and micro-chipped. 

Cats at Work

Sometimes, a feral cat is rescued from a dangerous habitat, or that habitat is destroyed by natural or human intervention. Rather than returning these cats to unsafe outdoor habitats, Tree House founded the Cats At Work program in 2012. We connect displaced feral cats with colony caretakers who may need help with pest control. 

Since its founding, we’ve placed over 1,000 cats in the program and they’ve enjoyed thriving lives ever since. 

More Resources

Don’t just take it from us!

Curious about community cats practices? Learn more from the ASPCA here!

Studies done at University of Florida show we’re on the right track, and have even more work to do. Read more here!

Curious about how it affects other wildlife? Read this from Best Friends!


Want to support our Community Cats programs? You can help!


Support our community cats staff by transporting cats, volunteering in the neighborhood, or even participating in our Community Cats census with Kitizen Science!


Are you a trapper or caretaker in need of spay/neuter/vaccine services? Our Veterinary Wellness Center is here to help!

Become a Caretaker

Are you looking for sponsorship for cats in your area? Apply to be a colony caretaker with Tree House! We are a sponsor of the Cook County Feral Cat Ordinance and provide counseling and share resources for community cats.


Your support helps us provide caretakers with materials like shelters, food, water, and resources.