Cat Hoarding Update, Tree House Rescues nearly 80 Cats


Tree House Humane Society made national news, rescuing cats from a Chicago hoarder in August.

Executive Director Dave deFuniak says, “Over the following few weeks, Tree House trapped over 60 cats, with the help of many volunteers, transported them to our spay/neuter clinic for surgery and treatment, before the City boarded up the house and cleaned and fumigated. Some of those cats are still in volunteer foster homes, others are boarding at our facility, and most of the cats are in offsite locations.” Tree House and Chicago Animal Care & Control trapped most of the hoarded cats.

Unfortunately, most of the cats are unsocialized. Tree House has several strategies to deal with the issue. Kittens were fostered and socialized and will be adopted. A small number of cats will be re-located to the area on the north side of Chicago where they previously lived and Tree House is counseling the neighbors about TNR, managing a feral colony. Tree House is seeking to transfer the other cats to heated barn locations, and Cats at Work projects. A few of the cats are socialized and will be adopted without issue.

“There will be ongoing costs associated with the care of these cats, and we will need additional funding to handle all of the housing and medical costs,” deFuniak adds.

Here are the numbers, which are astounding, as of September 11, 2015.

133 cats total

128 pulled from house and five born in care

34 trapped in July were so sick they were euthanized

99 placed, of those:

22 cats went to PAWS (1 adopted, 4 died in care, 17 placed in barns)

77 cats went to Tree House: 19 adopted or went to foster (and those in foster ultimately will be adopted); 18 placed through Cats at Work program or to barn programs; eight died in care including the five kittens born in care. Tree House is still caring for an additional 32 cats. And four cats from Tree House were delivered to a a sanctuary in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Donors have been generous, thousands of dollars – but that money has been spent for the care of many of these cats, saving lives. “35 crates (were) donated and tons of litter and food, all of which have been well-used towards the cats’ care, but we still need ongoing support,” says Liz Houtz, Tree House TNR manager.