Why do you do what you do?
Tree House specializes in the rescue and rehabilitation of sick, injured, abused, and neglected stray cats because they are often overlooked by other shelters because of the additional time and resources it takes to help them.
What is one of the happiest memories at your organization?
Whitman! Whitman is the sweetest little (well…not little at all) boy with a terrible start to life. When Whitman was about six months old, he was tied into a garbage bag and thrown out a second story window. He suffered sever injuries that damaged his spine, leaving him partially incontinent and unable to walk normally. A second individual saw this and ran to assist. She gave him to a third individual, who let Whitman live in his house for a few months. However, Whitman had still not been treated for his injuries, and his issues with urinating outside the box caused this third person to call a fourth person, who took Whitman to a high-kill shelter. The second individual somehow learned of this, and immediately called Tree House to transfer Whitman to our shelter. Luckily, we were able to admit him!
Once with us, Whitman saw a vet for the very first time (4-5 months had passed since being thrown out the window). He was neutered, and his injuries were assessed. Unfortunately, it was too late to repair any damage, leaving him permanently incontinent and walking with what we affectionately referred to as his rooster strut. Very, very fortunately, he wasn’t in any pain at all! What’s more, he seemed not to notice the effects of his injuries, and was in incredibly high spirits! He wanted nothing more than to cuddle with humans and babysit kittens, playing with and grooming them to his heart’s delight!
Incontinence is a serious issue in cats. It can cause serious health issues without proper care, and some cases are quite labor-intensive. Even with good care, we must consider quality of life, and adoptability (is this cat happy? Does he seem to enjoy his life? Will he be adopted, or will he languish in the shelter for years? Is shelter life the most humane and compassionate option?). It quickly became crystal clear that Whitman was one lucky dude- his quality of life was excellent, and while he couldn’t always make it to the litter box, he always gave plenty of notice ahead of an impending accident. Further, his presence in our cageless shelter was of such support to our other residents. Whitman could befriend any cat, and created lasting bonds with several of them, including Bronco Billy, whose cancer and chronic upper respiratory infection symptoms brought him down, but whose friendship with Whitman brought out a playful, spirited, and proud side we were thrilled to see!
A wonderful couple visited several times and observed both Whitman and Bronco Billy. They carefully considered whether they could accommodate these special needs, and our staff were transparent about what their adoption would entail. On their fourth visit, they asked why Bronco Billy seemed depressed; we said because he was; a shelter, however warm and loving, is not the home he needed. That sealed the deal, and this couple adopted our couple! Whitman and Bronco are still pampered and well-loved in their forever home.
Whitman was a special boy who reinforced the power of simple TLC- we gave him a chance at a healthy life, and he paid it forward, providing companionship to the other cats in our care.
If your organization could be two animals, what would they be?
Elephant: because they are intelligent, social and act empathetically.
Kitten: because they are fearless and playful.
Can you draw it for us?
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