Helping Sahara


Sahara is a five month old kitten suffering from pyometra, a life threatening infection of the uterus. Sahara is in critical condition at the emergency vet where a team is working to stabilize her so she can have an emergency spay surgery, the only cure for pyometra. Sahara’s potassium levels are dangerously low and the infection is wreaking such havoc that she would not survive surgery right now and must remain in the critical care ward until she is stable enough to undergo surgery. Please help us raise the funds needed to give her this urgent care so that Sahara, just a kitten, has every opportunity to live a long, happy life.

No amount is too small, your generosity is so very appreciated, and is tax-deducitible. Thank you for helping save a life.

12 Months of Giving

With hundreds of cats and kittens passing through our door this year, it’s safe to say we go through A LOT of supplies. And oftentimes folks want to help but don’t know how.

We’re starting a new 12 Months of Giving program and asking for your help meeting these supply goals. Each month we’re asking you to consider donating a specific needed item and your donation will contribute to other’s donations and together, we’ll have the supplies we need to care for so many pets all year through.

Each featured monthly item is perhaps not glamorous, but is essential to the life saving work going on each day behind the scenes. Items come in every budget from $5 to $100, and when you order from our Amazon Wishlist, you can choose the exact requested item you’d like to donate and they will be sent right to our door so we can put them to immediate use helping homeless pets.

Featured Monthly Items:
January – Canned Cat Food
February – Laundry Soap and Bleach
March – Trash Bags
April – Dry Kitten Food
May – Paper Plates
June – Plastic spoons
July – Paper Towels
August – Gift Cards
September – Bedding
October – Litter Pans
November – Crates and Carriers
December – Toys and Treats

Please click here for our Amazon Wishlist to have items sent to our door. If you prefer to drop off donations locally, just email us! No brands or sizes are specific, so if you find a better deal, we’re thrilled to receive any donation you prefer. Thank you for your support!

Share our New Barn Cat Video

This year our goal is to rescue and adopt 300 barn cats. Once slated for euthanasia at animal control for being unsocialized, these deserving cats are looking for new homes at barns, farms, or warehouses where they serve as working cats helping to keep your property free of rodents the old fashioned, eco-friendly way. Say goodbye to mice and hello to saving a cat!

Help us save these cats by sharing our new Barn Cat Video!

Photos with Santa

Please join us for Photos with Santa, December 1 and 2, from 11am-4pm, at the Peru Petsmart. (5243 Rt 251, Peru IL).

Safe House volunteers will be donning the Santa suit and asking your pet if he or she has been naughty or nice, while a professional photographer captures the moment. Photos are only $5 and all proceeds benefit Safe House Animal Rescue League. Dogs, cats, and all other well mannered critters are welcome! Please bring your pet out and join us in this holiday fun, while we raise funds for those animals who are still searching for their homes! Hope to see you there!

Safe House Wine Fundraiser

The holidays are coming! That means dinner parties, family gatherings, gift shopping – and we have something to help you through all of it, all the while helping cats and kittens.

We’ve partnered with Benefit Wines to create a fun way to help Safe House raise money to continue rescuing homeless, neglected, or abused cats and kittens while featuring some of our favorite rescues of all time. Each bottle of wine features a Safe House alumni on the label. Each is a high quality wine you’ll be happy to serve to your guests, each is organic and vegan. We think these will make wonderful gifts for the cat lover in your life, and be wonderful conversation pieces on your holiday table.

Most importantly, each bottle sold will help Safe House continue its mission to help the most at-risk pets in our area. With your help, many more homeless animals will be in homes of their own this holiday season.

Please join us in this new fundraiser! Simply visit the Safe House store at Benefit Wines and order your favorite wine, favorite cat, or order a sample of several. They’ll be shipped directly to you, or to your gift recipient. As always, thank you for your support!

Meet the Alumni
Malbec – “PJ Funny Bunny”
PJ Funny Bunny came to Safe House through Project Earlville, a TNR project Safe House spearheaded to humanely reduce the homeless cat population in Earlville, IL. PJ Funny Bunny was found emaciated and covered in motor oil. This handsome boy tested FIV+ but at Safe House, FIV+ cats are given the same guarantee of adoption that every cat deserves. PJ’s award winning personality landed him a wonderful home. He now lives with other adopted felines in Wisconsin.

Sauvignon Blanc – “Snickers”
Snickers came to Safe House from Chicago Animal Care and Control, a feral cat rescued through the Safe House Barn Cat Program. Born unsocialized to people and impounded at animal control, our Barn Cat Program gave Snickers a second chance at life as a working cat on a farm. Now neutered and vaccinated, Snickers lives the good life providing rodent control in exchange for food, shelter, and ongoing care.

Chardonnay – “Snot Monster”
“Snotty” or “SnoMo”, as he is often called, is now a cat of mythical proportions. Safe House rescued Snotty, and dozens of his friends, when his elderly caretaker passed away unexpectedly in the middle of winter and left behind a colony of barn cats. By the time Safe House received the call, the cats had been without food or water for weeks and the temperature was below zero. Poor Snotty was very old, had no teeth, and was terribly sick with a kitty cold but his tenacious spirit carried him through and Snotty prevailed. SnoMo’s unique appearance and personality attracted an adopter all the way in Arizona, and a first class flight with a volunteer pilot was arranged for his transit. Snot Monster now lives in sunny Arizona and enjoys his retirement with other rescued cats and a doting family. Snotty also has his own Facebook Fan Group and has a fan in Jackson Galaxy, who was seen sporting a coveted Snot Monster button at a recent event.

Merlot – “Raggamuffin”
Nicknamed “Raggy”, this stunning tabby cat once earned his name through an unkempt and scrawny appearance when he was born to a local farm colony. After neutering and vaccinating the colony, however, they each became healthy, robust, happy barn cats. Raggy is currently the alpha male of his barn cat colony and is a testament to Trap Neuter Return improving the health and happiness of community cats.

Pinot Noir – “Charlie Tuna”
Charlie Tuna, or “Toona” as his foster mom calls him, came to us from a rural Indiana animal control. Toona’s FIV+ status landed him on the euthanasia list but Safe House stepped in to rescue this magnificent kitty.  Charlie Tuna is still looking for his forever home! He loves other cats, dogs, and all people. He is a true gentleman, the benevolent ruler of the home, and loves to be everywhere his foster family is.

Cabernet Sauvignon – “Elliot”
Elliot was part of a litter of homeless, abandoned kittens who came to Safe House around the holiday season. Elliot was the naughty kitten in the group who loved to nibble on toes and climb up pant legs. Elliot was lucky enough to be adopted with his sister Gertie, and the pair now live in Chicago where Elliot continues to be the naughty one and keeps his sister on her toes!

Order your favorite bottle now!

Trick or Tuna Celebration!

Now through Halloween (10/31/12), it’s our Trick or Tuna celebration which allows all approved adopters to name their own adoption fee when adopting any Safe House pet!

Our standard feline adoption fee is $50, but through Halloween, you decide the amount you’d like to donate toward bringing home your new best friend. Any amount will be accepted and appreciated! But the sweetest treat will be adopting your next best friend.

View all available pets here, or visit some of our cats this week at the Peru Petsmart (5423 Rt. 251, Peru, IL).

Happy Halloween!

Adoption Day for Boo Boo!

If ever there was an appropriate name for a cat, Big Boo Boo is it. Boo came to us in the spring of 2010 when he turned up at one of our managed feral colonies with an enormous wound to his side. It looked like he had been shot, he needed a name, so we called him Big Boo Boo. Boo went directly to our local vet and had the nasty wound surgically tended to.

That summer, while Boo was waiting patiently for his forever home, he started acting unusual and didn’t want to eat. We checked his mouth to discover horrific blood-red blisters covering his entire mouth and throat. It was obvious that Big Boo Boo had stomatitis, a very serious, painful condition characterized by inflammation of the mouth.

Off to our fabulous dental specialist, Dr. Juriga, Big Boo Boo went. He began steroid treatment to reduce the swelling and pain medication. The photo above shows him after the first steroid treatment with 60% improvement, so you can imagine how awful his mouth looked before! The recommended treatment for stomatitis is full mouth extraction – the removal of all teeth. Boo’s prognosis was very good so we fundraised the $1,500 cost for the procedure and trudged forward.

Disappointingly, Boo was one of the few cats who did not improve significantly after the procedure. He remained painful, getting him to eat was a chore, he was not happy. Around this time, Boo found himself an admirer though, a family from Wisconsin desperately wanted to add Boo to their family despite his medical hurdles. Knowing that being in a loving home would reduce stress and ultimately promote healing, we sent Boo to the Blotz Family in Wisconsin for medical foster.

For the next year, The Blotz Family worked in conjunction with us, Dr. Juriga, our holistic vet Dr. Karen Becker, and we tried everything imaginable to heal Big Boo Boo. Stomatitis is a poorly understood disease and it’s a bit of a guessing game to pick a treatment that will work. Boo was enrolled in a trial study from the University of Hawaii, he ate a liquid diet of raw goat’s milk and supplements for months, we had his medications made into transdermal gels that could be applied to his ear instead of giving them orally so as not to upset his tender mouth, Boo underwent a wide gamut of holistic treatments from massage to rain drop therapy. When it got really bad, he went on short doses of morphine. If there was something to try to save him, we tried it. Never once did his foster family consider giving up on him.

Boo at Dr. Becker’s office.

In the fall of 2011, for reasons as mysterious as stomatitis itself, Boo began to improve. His ulcerations began to lessen and his foster mom found herself snapping photos of his mouth when he yawned to show the vets the drastic improvement. He started eating. And eating. AND EATING. He earned the name “Piggo” as his belly became increasingly rotund. We were able to wean him off all the medications and treatments and he still continued to improve.

And for the past year, he has continued to improve. His mouth is now a beautiful, normal pink with no sign of blisters or ulcers. He has no pain. Not only does he eat, but he steals food from other cats in his household. He has a family who is crazy about him, he feels good, and he is living large.

Today, almost one year from when we stopped medications, and over two years from when we took him in from the streets, Big Boo Boo’s foster family is officially adopting him. While we always knew Boo would live the rest of his life with the Blotz Family, today is a big day. He’s no longer a shelter cat or a foster cat. Today he’s a pet cat. A family member. A Wisconsinite. An official Blotz.

Congratulations, Big Boo Boo. May you have boo boo’s no more and may all your days be filled with joy. Thank you to the Blotz family for loving him through thick and thin.

Some new photos of Boo, happy and healthy:

Cancer free, baby!

Some of you may remember Seymour, who came to us last year after turning up at one of our managed feral colonies. He was a friendly, declawed cat, and he was a hot mess. Sick with upper respiratory infection, underweight, and his mouth was full of rotten teeth.

We got him well enough to undergo surgery, then took him to our dental specialist, Dr. Juriga, in Oswego. We thought Seymour was going in for routine dental work, some cleaning and polishing, a few extractions. But then Dr. Juriga did an exam, took some x-rays, and gave us the news no one wants to hear. He said Seymour almost certainly had oral cancer that had invaded his jaw bone. He advised a bone biopsy and removal of only the most urgent, painful teeth, until the biopsy results came back.

Photos of Seymour’s mouth on surgery day, pen pointing to the jaw tumor.

For 3 days we anxiously waited for the biopsy results and when Dr. Juriga called with them, it was our worst fear: the lab results indicated squamous cell carcinoma. Dr. Juriga explained that there was no successful treatment, this was a very aggressive cancer, he advised strong pain killers and hospice care, and gave Seymour a very grim “2 weeks to 3 months” estimate on his remaining time. It was devastating. Seymour was an amazing cat who everyone adored.

We got a hospice protocol set up for Seymour and started him on his pain medication, determined that he would never suffer under our watch. However, after 4 days, Seymour seemed to be acting like his normal self so we decided to take him off the pain drugs and put him back on them when he started to decline. 4 days turned into 4 weeks and Seymour still seemed fine. Maybe he was just a tough old tom cat?

Around this time a wonderful family came along who wanted to adopt a special needs cat. We talked to them at length about Seymour and, proving that they are really angels in disguise, they opened their hearts and home to Seymour as a hospice foster, fully knowing that any time he had left would be very short.

Seymour goes home.

For months now, Seymour has been thriving in his foster home. He eats with gusto, he seems to have zero pain. Many times we have all remarked “If this cat has cancer, I will eat my shoe.” But we all walked on eggshells, careful not to say too much about it, lest we rock the boat and jinx Seymour’s good health.

Finally we could not stand it any longer and Seymour had FAR exceeded his time sentence, so on Monday we all took Seymour back to see Dr. Juriga, who was both floored and happy to see Seymour back in his office! After a full exam, Dr. Juriga confirmed that there was no swelling in the jaw any longer (originally thought to be a tumor), he confirmed that Seymour’s lymph nodes were normal, and he said quite simply, there is no way Seymour has cancer. All signs pointed to cancer when the lab sent their diagnosis last year, but THEY WERE WRONG. We must have asked Dr. Juriga 100 times to make absolutely certain, but the official word is that SEYMOUR IS CANCER-FREE!

Seymour at the vet Monday. 

We could not have received better news. No one saw this coming. Even Dr. Juriga said this is only the second time he’s seen anything like this. As it seems, Seymour is going to go on to live a full, happy, healthy life and as he has earned a spot in their hearts, he will stay with his foster family where he sleeps in bed with them, goes for car rides through the drive-thru to get snacks, and supervises the other cats.

He has one small hurdle to jump, and that’s the removal of all the rest of his teeth, the nasty ones we didn’t remove last year because it wouldn’t have been fair to put a terminal cat through so much dental work. He will be toothless, but he will be alive!

Congratulations to Seymour and his foster family, who never gave up on him. We are so grateful to have found Amy and Allie who took him in and loved him, thinking he might only have a week or two left, maybe a couple of months at best. If it’s true that love can heal, I know exactly why Seymour has beat cancer. It’s because of the love of his forever family. Thank you so much Amy and Allie, for giving Seymour the gift of life.

Seymour and his BFF, Allie.


Two Best Friends Looking for a Forever Home

“My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me.” – Henry Ford

Charlie Tuna and Monkey did not come from the same places, but they both found themselves at Safe House and it was love at first sight. Charlie Tuna came from a kill shelter in Indiana and Monkey was a local farm cat. What they are now, is inseparable, love birds, and best friends. You can find the pair snuggled together most any time of day or night and when one ventures off, the other is right behind. Monkey delights in rubbing all over Charlie, and being the dignified gentleman he is, Charlie nuzzles her back and throws an oversized paw around her neck to pull her closer.

While they may not have arrived together, our greatest wish is that they leave together. That their bond be respected and that some wonderful adopter out there can make this wish come true for them. This will not be an easy task, so we hope that you will help us.

You see, Monkey may possibly be the sweetest cat in the world, but she is shy. It takes her a few days to warm up to new people, so she does not “show” well when adopters visit her. If they hung around for a few days, they would learn that Monkey loves being held and can purr like a freight train, loves to rub all over people, gives hugs, and is a snuggling queen. Plus, being a black cat, her coloration alone puts her at a disadvantage as black pets take twice as long to adopt as pets of other colors.

Charlie, on the other hand, is a total ham. He is front and center looking for attention from strangers, he shows like a dream, and is very outgoing. He too gives hugs, adores being held, and is crazy affectionate. Everyone who meets Charlie immediately loves him. But in addition to also being a black cat, Charlie tested positive for FIV, so many people are afraid to adopt him because they don’t know the truth about FIV. Sadly, many people don’t know that FIV is no big deal at all and that there’s nothing to be afraid of. Charlie’s lifespan will very likely be exactly the same as a negative cat, he needs no medication, no special care, he needs absolutely nothing else than you would provide any cat you adopt. But he has that scary sounding label above his head, making it much more difficult for him to find a home.

And then we are so bold as to hope this pair could be adopted TOGETHER. It is asking a lot, we know. But we hope. We hope there is someone out there right now who has an open home and open heart and who loves an underdog. If that special person is you, please please consider adopting Monkey and Charlie Tuna. You will not only make our day, but you will make their dreams come true too.

Adoption fees for both cats are waived if they are adopted together.

Is there a hero out there for this pair? We think there is. Will you help us find him or her? Please share Charlie and Monkey and help us find their forever home!
More info on Monkey.
More info on Charlie Tuna.
Adoption application here.
More information on FIV here. (Or Google ‘the truth about FIV’).


Win big with our 50/50 raffle!

Raising funds for the critters has never been easier. There’s no limit to how large the pot could grow in this 50/50 raffle, and with 50% of the pot going to the lucky winner, and the other 50% of the pot going to the animals of Safe House – it’s a win-win!

Buy individual tickets for $1/ea. or buy 6 tickets for $5/ea.

  • There is no limit on the number of tickets you can buy!
  • Winner does not need to be present.
  • Anyone may purchase tickets, no matter where you live! A check will be issued to the winner if he or she does not live locally.

The drawing will be held at 4:00pm CST on Sunday, May 20th at our Back in Black adoption event at the Sterling, IL Petsmart.

To order by mail, simply send a check or money order for the number of tickets you’d like, along with your name and phone number (or email address), to:
Safe House
PO Box 193
Mendota, IL 61342

Or purchase online:
Buy Tickets for Safe House 50/50 Raffle

Tickets may also be purchased from any Safe House volunteer or foster, as well as on site at the Back in Black adoption event on May 20th at the Sterling, IL Petsmart.
Good luck! Thank you for supporting Safe House!