Tree House Humane Society’s cat café showcases adoptable felines on a mission to find their forever homes.
If you love cats and coffee, there’s a place in Chicago’s West Ridge neighborhood you just have to visit. It’s the Tree House Humane Society cat café. According to executive director Raissa Allaire, AB’97, AM’02, it’s the city’s first cat café located within a shelter and the only one to feature FeLV-positive cats.
So what’s an FeLV-positive cat? Feline leukemia virus infects about 2 to 3 percent of US cats. While the virus is infectious to other cats, it can’t be transmitted to people, dogs, or other animals. The virus weakens the immune system and can make cats susceptible to other illnesses. Unfortunately there is no cure.
It sounds scary, but in reality, FeLV-positive cats aren’t sick or dying, and they don’t look or behave any differently from cats without the virus. Although not many shelters have FeLV-positive adoption programs, these cats have a lot of life and love to share—all they need is a home and some love in return (and regular vet care).
In addition to showcasing adoptable FeLV-positive cats looking for their forever homes, the café allows Chicagoans without cats to get a feline fix, including those from Tree House’s senior center partners. And that’s just the whipped cream on the mocha.