Tree House Humane Society

Date: 
02/16/2010
Tree House Front

Ashland Ave. Clinic

Many cats brought to shelters are cold, hungry and in need of desperate help.  The sad reality is that most cats are euthanized for no reason if the shelter cannot find a home for it.  On the other hand, Tree House Humane Society which has two locations, one on Ashland Ave., 773.227.5535, and the other in Uptown, 773.784.5488, prides itself on being a no-kill shelter and a safe haven for cats.  Unlike other shelters, Tree House is cageless, providing a warm and inviting atmosphere for both the volunteers and cats to enjoy.

Opened in May 2009, the Tree House BDVM Mac Lean Spay/Neuter Clinic, located at 1629 N. Ashland Ave. is the primary location for their adoption and spay/neuter procedures.  The clinic can house up to 60 cats in comfortable rooms where they are able to socialize with other cats and volunteers.

Volunteer with cat

Volunteer holding a Tree House cat

Some cats are quarantined based on various feline diseases such as FIV, (Feline-Immunodeficiency-Virus) which is much like the human disease HIV.  Other cats have special rooms because they are on a weight control program or are recovering from surgery.

All of these approaches are part of Tree House's no-kill, cage-less, policy which as the Director of Development, Jenny Schleuter says is "to promote a more humane, comfortable and home-like environment.  It also helps to de-stress the cats and promote more interaction into the community."

Another aspect of Tree House's rehabilitation process is their outdoor oasis, which in the summer provides much needed exercise and air for cats kept indoors during the harsh winter months.

Tree House Playroom

Cats in their playroom

Tree House is also making strides in promoting no-kill shelters, making them less of a rarity.  Currently, most animals processed through traditional shelters are euthanized after some time either because there is no one to adopt an animal or they do not have any more room.  It is their goal to make a cat's life at the shelter, whether long or short more comfortable and less stressful.  To date, they have found homes for up to 15,000 cats and have spayed/neutered up to 20,000 cats.

Of the many services that the Ashland Ave. clinic has to offer, the Feral Friends TNR Program (Trap-Neuter-Return) has been the most effective.  TNR is a humane sterilization process used to reduce the number of strays in the neighborhood.  Strays are taken to the clinic to be evaluated by a colony caregiver who chooses which cats will be good for socialization into the colony, and also chooses ones good enough for adoption.  As part of the process strays do undergo surgery, but also receive vaccinations to help prevent the spread of disease.  Ear tipping, as explained by Doug Stolzfus, a receptionist who works at the Ashland Ave. clinic, is a procedure where a cat will have part of its ear clipped so others know that the cat has been fixed.  It also prevents confusion during trapping so caregivers do not trap the same animal twice and have it undergo unnecessary surgery.

Many other services are available to those who seek the best possible care for the cat they've adopted from Tree House or elsewhere.  They offer low-cost food programs for people who are in financial need.  "In order to help supplement those who are on a budget, the TNR program is low-cost too," says Mike Rocheleau, who is the manager of shelter portion of the Ashland Ave. clinic.

Tree House encourages the surrounding community to help with their efforts in reducing the feral population and reducing the spread of disease.  By bringing your cat or other furry friend that you may find on the street to Tree House, you will not only be supporting their generous efforts, but effectively saving a cat's life.

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