Traditional shelters have brick and mortar facilities with adoption floors. They typically have foster homes which act as a feeder system for the shelter, socializing cats and providing medical care to get them ready for the adoption floor. Some traditional shelters place cats in cages while they are awaiting adoption. Others are “cageless” and have rooms where cats are free-roaming and can mingle with other cats.

Shelters can also be ”virtual,” meaning they do not have a building with an adoption floor, but rather are a network of foster homes. Both traditional and virtual shelters can adopt cats directly from foster homes as well as from third-party locations, such as in-store habitats at pet supply stores.

Cat shelter graphic
A tan cat lying on a cat tower in a home

The process of admitting animals into shelters is either “open-intake” or “managed intake.” Open-intake shelters that accept every animal that comes in can become very full, and may have to euthanize animals when they run out of room. Managed-intake shelters, on the other hand, are typically always full and have a waiting list to get in. The term “no-kill” has been used to describe managed-intake shelters. We prefer not to use this terminology, as it can be misleading. For example, Chicago Animal Care & Control partners with over 200 humane organizations to transfer animals out of their facility. Their live outcome rate for cats is about 93%, which is considered “no-kill” status.

If you have an animal to relinquish, it’s not a reasonable expectation that a managed-intake shelter will be able to accommodate you immediately. You will likely have  to wait for a spot to open up. While you are waiting, we highly recommend reaching out to a clinic to get the cat sterilized and vaccinated. Providing vetting up front is not only in the best interest of the cat’s health, but will also make it quicker/easier for a shelter to accept him/her. If you are able, offer the shelter a donation.

Shelter List

Below is a list of animal shelters in Illinois, Southern Wisconsin and Northwest Indiana. We update this list as often as we can. If you have any additions or changes, we appreciate your feedback at

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Name Location Phone Website / Email
PAWS Chicago Chicago, IL 773-475-9462
Tree House Humane Society Chicago, IL 872-302-4671
The Anti-Cruelty Society Chicago, IL 312-644-8338
Chicago Animal Care & Control Chicago, IL 312-747-1406
Red Door Chicago, IL 773-764-2242
Precious Pets Almost Home Foster Network 773-887-2286
One Tail at a Time Chicago, IL 866-515-6828
Harmony House Chicago, IL 773-293-6103
C.A.R.E (Community Animal Rescue Effort) Skokie, IL 847-705-2653
Animal Care League Oak Park, IL 708-848-8155
South Suburban Humane Society Chicago Heights, IL 708-755-7387
Orphans of the Storm Deerfield, IL 847-945-0235
Heartland Animal Shelter Northbrook, IL 847-296-6400
St. Sophia’s Forgotten Felines Wheaton, IL 847-773-7639
Quincy Humane Society Adams County 217-223-8786
Bond County Humane Society Bond County (St. Louis area) 618-664-4068
Boone County Animal Care & Control Boone County 815-547-7774
Catsnap Champaign County 217-469-5353
Champaign County Animal Control Champaign County 217-384-3798
Champaign County Humane Society Champaign County 217-344-7297
TAILS Humane Society DeKalb County 815-758-0762
A.D.O.P.T. Pet Shelter DuPage County 630-355-2299
Humane Society of Southern Illinois Jackson County 618-457-2362
Kankakee County Animal Care & Control Kankakee County 815-937-2949
Sunrise Center Animal Clinic Kankakee County 815-482-4486
Kendall County Animal Control Kendall County 630-553-9256
Alliance for Humane Action AHA! Lake County, IL 847-960-8689
One Goal Animal Foundation SW Suburbs of Chicago 708-256-5000
No Animal Left Behind NFP LaSalle County 815-795-3859 ext. 2
Livingston County Animal Control Livingston County 815-844-7174 Livingston County Spay Neuter
Humane Society of Logan County Logan County 217-737-1450
Animal Safety and Humane Control Society Madison County 618-377-2420 Facebook: Spay and Neuter Clinic
Hartz Second Chance Madison County 618-975-4434
Metro East Humane Society Madison County 618-656-4405
Animal Outreach Humane Society McHenry County 815-385-0005
Humane Society of Central Illinois McLean County 309-451-1000
Operation SAFE Peoria County 309-453-8767
Purrsonalities Peoria County 309-360-7455
Quad City Animal Welfare Center Rock Island County 309-787-6830 ext. 26
Animal Protective League Spay/Neuter Clinic Sangamon County 217-789-7729
TAPS No-Kill Animal Shelter Tazewell County 309-353-8277
NAWS Campus Will County 708-478-5102
Winnebago County Animal Control Rockford, IL 815-319-4100
Noah’s Ark 111 N 1st St, Rockford, IL 61107 815-962-2767
Safe Harbor Kenosha 262-694-4047
Wisconsin Humane Society Milwaukee 414-323-6163
Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin Janesville 608-752-5622