Tree House is a humane organization that promotes the inherent value of every animal and strives to educate the public about proper and responsible animal care, with a focus on the care and placement of stray cats with special physical and emotional needs. We are committed to finding every healthy and treatable animal a home and to helping lead the way to a No-Kill nation.
Since its founding, Tree House has created innovative and progressive approaches to animal welfare that not only enhance the lives of companion animals in our community, but also bring a greater awareness of animal welfare issues to the general public.
- Tree House envisions a time when spay/neuter efforts and adoption programs will eliminate the euthanasia of companion animals.
Admission/Adoption: Tree House’s primary mission centers around the rescue, rehabilitation, and adoption of sick and injured stray cats. Since our founding in 1971, Tree House has rescued and adopted more than 16,000 stray cats. Our Foster Program, off-site adoption events, and Emergency Fund for sick and injured strays ensure that we are able to admit and find homes for as many friendly strays as possible.
Spay/Neuter Program: Since opening the BDVM Spay/Neuter Clinic in May of 2009, Tree House has sterilized more than 6,000 cats and dogs, and our annual goal is to spay and neuter 5,000 cats and dogs. The Clinic is open five days a week, and performs an average of 20 surgeries per day. Of those surgeries, approximately 65 percent are feral cats, spayed and neutered through our TNR Program for free or at reduced rates. Spaying and neutering of animals is the only way to combat the problem of pet overpopulation and ensure that no animals have to be killed simply for lack of a home.
- Tree House believes that Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) will provide an increasingly better quality of life for feral and stray cats living outside, and will ultimately eliminate the homeless cat population.
TNR Feral Friends Program: With the TNR Ordinance passing in 2007, Tree House has become a leading sponsor for feral colony caretakers in Chicago. We currently sponsor 150 colonies and more than 400 cats. We currently provide our colony caretakers with free and discounted spay/neuter surgery packages that include vaccinations, parasite treatments, micro-chipping, and ear-tipping. We also offer free food for colony caretakers through our Pet Food Pantry, regular feral cat education seminars, and mediation in the event that there is a misunderstanding within a particular neighborhood.
- Nationally recognized as experts in feline care and behavior, Tree House understands that one of the best ways to decrease euthanasia is by decreasing the relinquishment of pets. Behavioral issues are one of the most common reasons for surrendering an animal to a local shelter, and Tree House works hard to help pet guardians resolve the behavioral issues that might lead to abandonment.
Behavioral Counseling: Tree House is a primary resource for cat care and behavior information; we offer both direct counseling and educational publications. Counseling is available to anyone and is free. Our trained professionals can help with behavior problems such as improper elimination, biting, scratching furniture, and more. Tree House’s ultimate goal is to see all pets in a loving home, and our behavior and education efforts are making that goal achievable.
- Tree House strives to be a model for proper shelter housing, incorporating best practices in veterinary medicine, sanitation protocols that reduce stress, and housing that encourages interaction and enhances the lives of the Tree House residents.
Tree House Adoption Centers: For the residents of Tree House, we are committed to providing a healthy, safe, and enriching environment during their time at our Adoption Centers. Our Director of Veterinary Services oversees an in-house veterinary clinic for both chronic and acute care. New arrivals are examined, evaluated, and treated in the clinic, and current residents receive regular exams, boosters, blood tests, and veterinary medical treatment as needed.
- Providing free pet food and supplies to low-income dog and cat guardians and feral cat colony caretakers helps reduce relinquishment and euthanasia in our community.
Pet Food Pantry Program: This important program assists people on a low or fixed income with supplemental food for their companion animals. We also supply food to feral cat caretakers who practice TNR and have outdoor managed feral cat colonies. The goal of the program is to enable our clients to keep their pets despite financial difficulties, or maintain their feral colonies. We also counsel clients if they are appear to be acquiring more animals than they can properly care for or afford.
- Educating the public on responsible pet care will not only reduce relinquishment but will help future pet guardians have a more humane perspective toward animals.
Education Outreach Program: Tree House certified humane educators travel throughout Chicagoland to present on a variety of topics to groups ranging in age from elementary school students to adults. The program helps students understand that animals have feelings and do suffer when they are neglected or abused. We discuss the importance of responsible, compassionate care for pets and the effect on animals when they are neglected or abused.
Tree House’s New Adoption Center and Low-Cost Clinic
Tree House is planning to design and build a state-of-the-art, environmentally-friendly Adoption Center and low-cost Veterinary Clinic in Chicago. The project will be completed in two separate phases. Phase one will involve the construction of the Adoption Center, which will be approximately 15,000 square feet, will house approximately 200 cats and will feature an in house veterinary clinic for Tree House residents, an Education Center, and a Pet Food Pantry and Supply Store. Phase two will involve the construction of a low-cost Veterinary Clinic, open to the public, with a focus on providing quality veterinary care to low-income pet guardians. Our focus will remain on rescuing and rehabilitating sick and injured stray cats, educating the public in responsible cat and dog care and behavior, and providing guidance and direct support for the care of feral cat colonies living outside.
The new Adoption Center facility will feature the following:
The cat housing areas will be cageless, with rooms of varying sizes to accommodate single cats or a colony of 10 cats. Each room will be designed with the ultimate health and comfort of the cats in mind and will feature multi-tiered shelving platforms and comfortable furniture that can be easily sanitized. The ventilation system will offer multiple air exchanges every hour and will feature an ultraviolet filtering system to destroy air borne bacteria and viruses. Sunlight will be abundant in all housing areas and outdoor enclosures will be accessible in most of the adoption areas.
Pet Food Pantry & Supply Store
The Pantry will provide food and supplies (litter, toys, treats) free of charge to support the pets of low-income families and individuals. This program will be subsidized by a Supply Store selling pet food and merchandise to adopters and the general public.
Education Center/Training Area
The education/training area will feature interactive and educational exhibits, training sessions on cat and kitten care and behavior, training and certification classes for dogs, and informational seminars on topics like Pet Trusts, Pet Diet and Nutrition, and Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR).