Our Mission

Cats in Action’s mission is to enable people to help free-roaming cats through Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) by sharing best practices and providing comprehensive resources.

Our Vision

Free-roaming feral and stray cats present community issues that warrant community-based solutions. Cats in Action envisions solutions where people in every demographic have access to the resources they need to help cats in their neighborhoods. In our vision, free-roaming cats live in harmony with people and are sterilized, vaccinated, healthy and declining in numbers through proactive, ongoing TNR. We envision a world where one day kittens are no longer born on the streets.

White and black cat lying on a porch

Erica Roewade

Erica started in animal welfare as the Community Cats Coordinator for Tree House Humane Society in Chicago (2013-2014) and held the same role at PAWS Chicago (2015-2017). At Tree House she managed a PetSmart Charities grant for targeted spay/neuter and TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) of 2,000 cats in under-resourced zip codes.

At PAWS Chicago she created a comprehensive, shelter-based, community cats program. She has TNR’d over 2000 cats and has rescued more than 1000 stray cats and kittens. Highly experienced in barn cat and working cat programs, she has worked to evolve best-practice relocation protocols for feral cats with no return-to-colony options. Erica has partnered with law enforcement and municipal agencies on animal hoarding (More Than 100 Cats Removed From Abandoned Chicago Home) and neighbor dispute issues, developed and hosted training workshops, and raised thousands of dollars online to aid injured feral cats. As both staff and volunteer, she has focused her efforts on community outreach on the west and south sides of Chicago.

Liz Houtz

Liz became involved in TNR in 2010 after seeing free-roaming cats in her Northside Chicago neighborhood. In 2012 she began helping other people trap cats as a volunteer at Tree House Humane Society and in 2013 took a position as Community Cats Program Manager at Tree House.

From 2013-2017 Liz was responsible for all TNR activities, growing the number of registered feral cat colonies by 750. She managed a Working Cat Program (These Cats On Rat Patrol) cat adoptions at two pet stores as well as a foster program for friendly cats and kittens rescued during TNR projects. Liz has trapped over 3500 cats, placed more than 1500 friendly cats and kittens into adoptive homes, fostered hundreds of cats and worked more than 20 cat hoarding projects. She has partnered with Chicago Aldermen, the Public Guardian’s office, law enforcement, municipal animal control facilities, the Humane Society of the US, PetSmart Charities and Friends of Chicago Animal Care & Control in helping cats and the people who care for them. She has spoken at conferences regarding TNR and crafting effective TNR legislation.

About Us

Erica Roewade and Liz Houtz co-founded Cats in Action in 2019. Cats in Action is a Sponsor under the 2007 Cook County Managed Care of Feral Cats Ordinance 07-O-72.

Erica and Liz co-administrate the Chicago Community Cats TNR and Illinois Barn Cats Facebook groups and co-teach a monthly workshop, Helping Cats Near You”. For press inquiries, speaking engagements, presentations or further information, contact us: info@catsinaction.org

Liz from Cats in Action in a barn where she takes care of feral cats
Erica with Cats in Action feeding feral cats
Liz from Cats in Action holding a pet carrier with a white and black cat