Monday, December 15, 2008

Cat Lover's Holiday Celebration

We Had A Great Time!
First, our appreciation goes out to those wonderful people who donated the space, Skrine Chops at 7230 W. Madison in Forest Park donated their wonderful 2nd floor space (an excellent place to go for eats, a drink or to have a party). Stephanie Skrine who donated the incredibly delicious Skrine Chicken, mashed potatoes and pasta salad and one of the biggest gift baskets I've seen for our raffle (won by Sheila Ferarri). MaryRita Skrine donated a huge platter of some of the best chocolate chip cookies and fudge on the face of the earth. Sirius Cooks donated a great, much sought after, basket of all sorts of cat food, treats,toys and a reusable bag (won by Eric Tucker). Priscilla Kinzell donated a whole bag of things for our raffle, lots of great Christmas decorations, frames, candles, cat books and toys and more. Ellen Miles (me) donated a few pieces of her jewelry (won by Beverly Younger, Mike the Cat Man, and ????). Jeanne Friedell donated a great cat book and bag and a cat decoration and pin). Jeanne Friedell won one of Ellen's necklaces and a cute multi cat pin. Kim May, one of our wonderful animal caregiver volunteers won the 'Split the Pot'. (Kim has her own pet sitting service - we highly recommend her. Not only is she trustworthy, she's full of love when it comes to animals. Bella, our Belgian Shepard loves her so much her eyes sparkle and almost tear up when Kim arrives! - for info on hiring Kim, leave comment and we'll put your in touch) There was more but frankly, can't remember!
It was great to see people sharing photos and stories. We met some new folks that are involved in rescue and TNR and learned a few things ourselves. One woman who actually dowsed (usually associated with dowsing for water) for kittens in a large community garden!!! What a great idea. Terry, a newbe to our group who also does rescue brought a couple of wonderful albums of her rescue kittens and cats. I heard about, and sorry I missed, pictures of kitties in a Barbie Corvette - sort of like a right of passage photo before they get adopted.
Thank you to all of those who joined us in Celebration and Community and in support of CatVando. Your support, not just the wonderful financial support but your overall support of CatVando means a tremendous amount to us! Working together to help and support each other is what life is all about! The photos are some we took before the camera pooped out.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

More Cuties Looking for a New Home!

The Berwyn Three
Alice, Archie & Aidan
Archie is the one on top of Aidan. These two are going as a pair - they're more attached to each other than to their sister Alice, (but Alice would be happy to join them in their new home). Really sweet, about 9 weeks old. Aiden is very interactive, affectionate and playful, while Archie waits for us to go to him and purrs when he gets his lovin'. They're great to watch whether they're playing or cuddling together.
And this is Alice. A bit more reserved than her brothers but think she'll warm up as she finds her own. She purrs up a storm when cuddled and loves to play with feather toys and her siblings.
All of our kitties were born in the streets or in someones yard.
While our mission is TNR (Trap Neuter Return) to prevent kittens, sometimes we get TNA's (Trap Neuter Adopt) before their mamas are spayed. When we get young kitties, we also capture their mom to care for them until their ready to be weaned. Then mama returns to her home in her caretakers yard. Our kittens are all well socialized. They've been exposed to many wonderful volunteers, children and adults alike. They've also been exposed to dogs and most are comfortable with them. Our kittens are all healthy. We feed a good quality kitten food and supplement to assure a healthy beginning for a longer healthier life. Our adoption fee of $140 covers spayed or neutered, distemper and rabies shots, F/F testing, treatment for parasites and fleas, and a micro chip and may or may not have a slight ear tip (identifying them as a TNA). All our kittens are always welcome back for the duration of their life, and we're always available for questions about their health and wellbeing. To meet these cuties, email We're located in Maywood, IL

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Shelter Photos

One example of a feeding station. This is the bottom 1/2 of a large plastic dog carrier. There's a slab floor but dirt would be fine.
A styrofoam lined rubbermaid shelter with 2 doors. Duct tape is used here but Gorilla tape doesn't break down in the winter. Some suggest a silicone caulk but I'd be concerned about the toxic fumes.
Some put the styrofoam outside.
This doesn't show the straw bottom.
TIP. To encourage the cats entering the shelter, sprinkle a bit of catnip in the straw.
This is an example of a shelter with plastic overhang. Rolls of heavy duty plastic can be purchased at places like Home Depot, Menards, Lowe's, etc.
The opening is pulled back for photo. There's usually a small opening for entry.
This one is a styrofoam cooler (turned upside down - for more body room) lined with Reflectix. It got 7 layers and is easy to work with. It reflects 97% of radiant heat. It can be purchased at Menards (and other home stores) in rolls. 16'x25' for $1975 and 24' x 25' for $27. This caregiver made 4 coolers and one large rubbermade with a roll of Reflectix.
The townhouse version (behind a garage)
This is two examples of 1/2 a plastic dog carrier with straw insullation combined with styrofoam insullation on the top with tables in front with straw to provide a veranda for 'paw wiping'. The one on the left is covered with heavy duty plastic, the blue on the right is solar pool insullation (see link on Winter Care for Outside Cats for ordering info)
This is the beginning of a project of several houses for a colony of 16. There are about 7 shelters. It's under a back porch. When completed it will be covered for further protection. Pictures of completion to follow.
These are a few samples of shelters and feeding stations. We'd love to display yours - send us a digital photo and a bit about it to: and put "shelter photo" in the subject line.

Winter Care for Outside Cats

An Overview on Winter Care for Outside Cats
If you,feed street cats, or a cat or two in your yard, thank you. Without you, street cats, would suffer and starve. (If you haven't had them spayed or neutered - contact us and we'll help). If you don't feed but you know someone who does, please pass this on to them.
All cats need food, water and shelter, all year round. Winter is especially difficult. Shelter is almost more important than food. With rain and snow, their coats become wet and loose their insullating abilities. Their tender ears can get frostbite. Water bowls freeze and unless food is under a cover, it too can freeze. If you feed wet in addition to dry, there are steps that can be taken to keep it from freezing too. Here are a few simple steps that can be taken to help. In addition to these basic steps, there are links at the end of the article to resources and further instruction.
Food needs to be sheltered from the snow and rain. Make sure they are in a safe area, sheltered from any public harm. If you feed somewhere like a porch or natural shelter, great - if not, here are a few suggestions: 1) a bucket turned on it's side (rectangle litter buckets work well), 2) the top of a litter box, 3) a dog or cat carrier 1/2ed and inverted (link below) for visual), 4) a leanto against a garage, porch or house. 5) a beautifully construted platform with a shed roof. Anything that keeps the snow out when necessary. Water is very important during winter months. In addition to dehydrating, cats drink lots of water during the winter and with all their sources frozen, it needs to be provided, free from ice. Heated water bowls can be purchased at places like Walgreens, WalMart and PetCo, PetSmart & Pet Supplies Plus. They take little electricity and are necessary during freezing weather. Water bowls can be put into styrofoam coolers, with a whole for entry. There are also solar units available. See link below. Shelter can be provided a variety of ways. 1) A Rubbermaid box, enough for however many cats you have, lined with styrofoam insullation, with about a 10" layer of straw (not hay) for flooring. In addition to adding insullation and providing a 'nest', it doesn't hold water walked in on paws. Never use material, blankets or rugs, they get wet and stay wet. , 2) an Igloo can be purchased at a local pet store 3) inverted 1/2 dog houses with straw or styrfoam insullation (see photos on blog) 3) small insullated dog house. Or, 4) purchase one on line - google cat shelter (and watch for CatVando's feral shelters next year). Get creative! Shelters have been made like a lean to with plywood, insullation and straw with heavy duty plastic or a tarp covering the openings assuring an opening for entry and exit. See link below Face the opening away from the wind (don't face north) and cover the opening with plastic (gorilla tape and double overlapping plastic work well).
Reflectix is a foil insullation that's 7 layers thick yet easy to work with because it's thin. It provides 97% of radiant heat. It can be purchased at Menards and other home care stores. Don't put fiber on the bottom of the shelter. It gets wet and retains the moisture. The best flooring is straw (not hay). It provides comfort and insullation. If possible, put straw outside the shelter with an overhang. When things get wet, the cats carry snow and wet into their bedding, the overhang and straw provide a place to wipe their paws. See picture on blog.
And, of course, all cats should be spayed or neutered, and vaccinated. CatVando NFP Corp is a grassroots organization of animal lovers joined together to help care for, control and reduce the population of street cats in our communities. We work with individuals, communities and municipalities to teach, assist, perform, and coordinate TNR (Trap Neuter Return) efforts while teaching the basics of colony management care. TNR is the most effect humane method of feral cat control. We believe that cats provide a vehicle to teach respect for life and work with local youth groups on various life enriching programs. If you have cats and need assistance with trapping for spay and neutering, or have questions about outside cat care, give us a call or an email and we'll explain how it works. Kitties are born as early as February, then those kitties can have litters by the following fall. - Shelters and solar housing ideas - skematic on to build a basic shelter

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Margo's Ready for Adoption!


Margo of Elmwood Park is Ready for Her New Home!

Margo is a hoot! She looks like a meanie in this photo but she's far from it. Great personality and loves belly rubs. She can often be found lounging on her back with her belly up, seems to be most comfortable that way. She's a sturdy cat, muscular but rolly polly and really comfy to hold. She use to be all black, with long hair. A while back she developed an almost irridescent silver ring around her lower neck that extended 3/4 of the way down her front legs, her belly went slightly silver and the underside of her tail. Now she seems to be loosing a lot of that coloring, watching her changes is amazing. She looks like a bruser but she's not, she's sweet and loves to be loved.

General Description for all cats up for adoption. All of our kitties were born in the streets or in someones yard. While our mission is TNR (Trap Neuter Return) to prevent kittens, sometimes we get TNA's (Trap Neuter Adopt) before their mamas are spayed. When we get young kitties, we also capture their mom to care for them until their ready to be weaned. Then mama returns to her home in her caretakers yard. Our kittens are all well socialized. They've been exposed to many wonderful volunteers, children and adults alike. Many have also been exposed to dogs and most are comfortable with them. Our kittens are all healthy. We feed a good quality kitten food and supplement to assure a healthy beginning for a longer healthier life. Our adoption fee of $140 covers spayed or neutered, distemper and rabies shots, F/F testing, treatment for parasites and fleas, and a micro chip and may or may not have a slight ear tip (identifying them as a TNA). All our kittens are always welcome back for the duration of their life, and we're always available for questions about their health and wellbeing.

For information on adopting Margo, write

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Vito's Ready for Adoption!

The incredible Vito is ready for his new home.
Vito is without a doubt, the most popular cat we've had this year. Always adorable, very engaging, wonderful temperment, loudest 'purr-er' of the bunch and incredibly cute. He looks like a Maine Coon mix with fur that feels like a Chinchilla. He's very interactive, playful and affectionate and a great lap cat who will keep you company while sitting at the computer, reading a book, or watching tv. With his sweet little paws, he'll occasionally climb your chest and gently tap your cheeks with his paw while looking you sweetly in your eyes. He could easily be trained to ride on your shoulders.
General Description for all cats up for adoption All of our kitties were born in the streets or in someones yard. While our mission is TNR (Trap Neuter Return) to prevent kittens, sometimes we get TNA's (Trap Neuter Adopt) before their mamas are spayed. When we get young kitties, we also capture their mom to care for them until their ready to be weaned. Then mama returns to her home in her caretakers yard. Our kittens are all well socialized. They've been exposed to many wonderful volunteers, children and adults alike. They've also been exposed to dogs and most are comfortable with them. Our kittens are all healthy. We feed a good quality kitten food and supplement to assure a healthy beginning for a longer healthier life. Our adoption fee of $140 covers spayed or neutered, distemper and rabies shots, F/F testing, treatment for parasites and fleas, and a micro chip and may or may not have a slight ear tip (identifying them as a TNA). All our kittens are always welcome back for the duration of their life, and we're always available for questions about their health and wellbeing. To meet Vito, email We're located in Maywood, IL

Friday, November 21, 2008

Berwyn's Colony of 18!

The Adventures of TNR
We got a referral from Animal Care League about a couple of fellas who just inherited a colony of cats from their neighbor. An older woman had been feeding cats for years, but like so many people who are compassionate and feed rather than let them suffer and starve, she didn't realize she could get them to stop having kittens. Most people think it either not possible or they can't afford it - so they multiply.
The Good News is that after she died, her neighbors took over as their caregivers. They've built wonderful winter shelter, have a heated water bowl, and feed twice a day. Knowing they needed to stop the kitten flow, after several calls, they found us. We TNR'd 15 out of the 19 cats this week. 3 of them are 2 month old cuties, now in foster, young and friendly enough to adopt ( TNA's Trap Neuter Adopt) . And 1 is on the enclosed front porch and will be vetted next Tuesday. He or she, a beautiful long haired grey and black tabby with a white crest, was in the yard the day when I returned the males. Fortunately, there was still a trap there (to catch Popeye, who's one of 2 known unsterilized, uncaught cats). Typically, when the cats were returned, they ran for the hills as soon as I opened the trap doors. The guys (caretakers) left food for the returning boys and she was there for lunch. With the boys out of the way, I put food in the trap, took the rest away and it wasn't long before she was in the trap on her way to TNR. Unfortunately, that was Wednesday and next clinic is Tuesday. Not wanting to leave him in the trap for a week, I attempted to put her in one of the large cages equipped with a small carrier in the hopes that she'll run into it. Welllllllllllll, she made a U Turn at the opening of the trap, and in 3 seconds she was on the other side of the room 1/2 way up the wall then, because she was freaked out she hit every wall on the porch until she found a hiding place under a chest. Poor baby has been crying on and off since. The females, were still in their traps on the porch. For the next day, there was a symphony of cat calls. The most vocal group we've done aftercare for. The girls are gone but the Porch Girl l is still loose on a porch. Trap is pre-baiting, she has warm places to sleep but she's miserable. A real downside of doing this is going through things like this. Hopefully, she's comfortable enough by Monday so I can set the trap, get her vetted and returned to her family by next Thursday.
Chances are we won't catch the remaining two. That's why we go for as many cats as we can with the initial trapping. However, good news is, 90% is effective against further growth.
The kitties are being treated for upper respiratory infections and should be ready for in about 1-2 weeks. They're on Clinidrops, Crystal Lungs & Terramyacin eye gel.
And, that's the skimmed version of this weeks TNR report!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Cat Lovers Holiday Celebration!

Cat Lover's
Holiday Celebration!
Sunday, December 14
12:00 - 3:00 pm
Skrine Chops
2nd floor
7230 Madison
Forest Park
Great Munchies and Hot Apple Cider
with cash bar lllBring pictures of your sweet ones, lll
crabby ones, old ones, young ones,
RAFFLE PRIZES $1 per ticket as long as they have fur and they purr!
SPLIT THE POT $5 per ticket
RSVP by phone or leave comment

Monday, November 10, 2008

Our PetSmart Adoption Event

The Brookfield Zoo Bear Meets Cat VanGogh at our 1st PetSmart Adoption Event!!!
We had a great time and adopted 5 kittens and Sweet Cheeks (Yeah!!!).
Considering it was the weekend in September with the monsoon rain and closed roads, we were thrilled. Just goes to show you, some people are just animal crazy!!!! Gotta love those crazy coots!
Our summer student workers, Jasmine & Amber were joined by their Mom, Naja to help keep the kitties happy and help prospective new parents. Janet Pendell, another CatVando volunteer was there too. The Cat Man brought us a welcome lunch on Saturday.
It was a great weekend - nothing like being around people who love animals.

What's Blooming on Harrison!

Our kitties were a big hit at What's Blooming in May. Linda Broccolo, CatVando Volunteer and wonderful Colony Manager did a great job keeping the kitties happy and the crowds. Kids and adults alike loved playing with the kittens with feathered sticks and our babies took to the streets very well. No adoptions but lots of education.

A great Sat & Sun in May, we enjoyed the people, the weather and our great spot in front of Sirius Cooks.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


It's Margo of Elmwood!
Margo is a hoot! And, what a surprise. She's about 3 months old, small and when she started out, she was black. After about 2 months, she started turning almost irridescent silver - sort of like the reverse of a Silverback Gorilla. She looks evil in this photo but she's not - she's sweet and still changing color! Very playful. Still a bit shy but loves to be loved and relaxes as soon as she gets cuddled. Loves belly rubs. She could be adopted alone or with her brother, Hustus - not pictured, but a beautiful orange tabby with medium length hair like Margo. She's from the yard of another excellent CareGiver. One of three of a litter. We've had her since early August and she's ready for just the right new home.

KITTIES! Earline Gray & Pecko

Our Kitties Are The Best!!!!
We've had the greatest bunch of kitties this summer. Beautiful, playful, affectionate, 'well balanced' (a quote from one of our new kitty mama's). They've been lucky - they've had some great people and animal to play with.
Pecko & Earline Gray
These little cuties aren't as brave as the rest but they're getting there. Both love it when they're cuddled and are purring more every day. They're small cats. They came from the yard of some wonderful CareGivers. They've devoted their enclosed sun porch to the cats, with plastic winterization windows, houses, beds, litter boxes and good food. They started with one a couple years and ended up getting 12 of their yard cats TNR'd and 4 kittens removed for adoption. We've had Pecko & Earline since early August. They're a pair - adopted as a pair. They play with the other kitties but always end up together.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

It's Been A Long Time Coming!

Kittens!!!! Kittens Kittens Kittens - that's where we've been. Yes, we've been doing TNR and MANY other wonderful things but the kittens changed everything this summer. The Berwyn Five and mama Hoover came on June 11, followed by Munchie of Loyola (adopted by Foster Family), then Vito of Elmwood Park , 3 weeks later followed by his siblings Hustus & Major, who became Margie, who became Margo (who started off black then at about 3 months, started turning silver around the underside - cool). Then came the Candy Cats of Bellwood, 4 beauties, 2 of which are still up for adoption, Dots & Hershey. Then came Roberto & Sophia of Berkley, beauties, sweet and already adopted. Then, Earl, now Earline Gray and Pecko, midget cats, like Vito, Hustus and Margo. Angel & Smiley. Then came 4 babies from Maywood that went to Foster Family and sorry, but can't remember all their names - there's Gizmo, Stripe, Reeses & ...... . 2 of them are going to PAWS for adoption tomorrow. And for those of you who remember Sweet Cheeks, she was the first to be adopted at our PetSmart event and she went to a perfect home!
Yes, kitties changed things - added about 5-8 hours to the average day. Much as I absolutely love being able to put my face into a pile of purring kitties and watch the face of others as they play with them, they cripple an organization as small as ours, where our trappers spend time caring for kitties. We're hoping that within animal rescue, we can find a solution to the kitty gap. We're a TNR group. That's our specialty. To expand into kitty care and adoptions takes time away from our mission. While the kittens fit in with our personal mission to help counteract violence, (more on that another time) - to have total responsiblilty seems counterproductive. Enough on that for now.
So many wonderful things have happened since our last posting! I'm going to list them as separate blogs and will be putting them up over the next couple of days, our adoption events, adoptors and adoptees, kittens for adoption, our fabulous Cat Party in July, TNR, Winter Shelters, Events, Fundraising, (and a big warm thank you to those of you who have been sending in their monthly donations without any monthly show of our appreciation!!!! THANK YOU xo), the KPS Club, (Kids, Pets & Science Club), cat stories, Sponsoring colonies and TNR reports. With all that, they'll be brief!!!! And first.......... KITTIES!!!!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Happy Henry News & The Nuts & Bolts of TNR

Once again, Henry's rallying!!!! He is one highly spirited cat! 12 years old, ears frost bit off, hardly any teeth, with chronic dirreah full of old battle scars when he came to us (see Henry Blog) Trapped him at the tail end of a colony, full of dried fecal matter.
Henry spent the next 3 weeks getting healthy and he was doing great when, 2 days away from his neuter appointment, some one didn't get the door latched right and about 5 minutes later, he was out the door. (I made a lovely speckle of myself running out the door net in one hand, carrier in the other). He was out a week but thankfully stayed around the house. The downside is that he has nuts and that caused major problems with the neighborhood cats. Poor baby, they chased him up trees, fought with him, chased him from his hiding places. He chased one from hers. It was a horrible week for us all. Finally caught him one week from the day he left. During our board meeting we set up traps all around the hiding places and hangouts. Many of the cats mostly spayed & neutered will go in for the good food knowing that I'll just let them out so I'd have to let them stay in the traps until I got Henry. Fortunately at the end of the meeting Steph looked around while she was leaving and we netted him (after 3-4 unsuccessful attempts at netting during the week). He looked so bad we didn't think he would make it through the night. Again, it was mostly exhaustion. He didn't eat the first night, a teaspoon the next morning and consumption has grown to 1/3 c kitten kibble, 1/3 can watered canned and about 1/4 cup water. Tonight for the first time, he's laying on his belly and not over on his sided, looking dead. Earlier, he was standing and eating vs barely picking up his head. HE'S RALLYING! In addition to well need safe comfortable rest, he's getting kitten food, Tiki Cat, Friski's canned, antibiotics, pro biotics (Florify) and EFA's (Omega 6 & 3) for animals.
The nuts and bolts of TNR
Today, Linda and I met with a fellow she met about the cats in his garage. His neighbors are complaining and he needs to have them adopted out.
The fellow is a Vietnam Vet who's never been the same since the killings. He jumped out of a lot of helicopters, was shot 3 times. He lives on a busy street, a side street in Elmwood Park where you can go 3-4 long blocks with no stop signs - people drive at very high speeds. Because he's scraped so many off the streets, now when he finds cats, he puts them in his garage so they are safe. His garage is clean of dirt and debris and the cats are very well cared for. He loves them and can pet them all. But a garage with no ventilation, even if there are fans, is no place for cats. It was sad. One cat with possible allergies but I suspect anxiety with bald lick spots up and down his body some spanning inches. Respiratory problems with another. Fight wounds. All, highly anxious. They're getting s/n at ACL next Tues. Then ???? They need out of the garage. Possibly outside cage managery. Trying to relocate through
Then, I picked up some donated lumber for the cathouse and racks we're building.
Cat calls:
-called a feeder we met at Maywood Farmers Market to schedule colony of 11 for clinic in 2 weeks and 1 for next Monday. Woman feeds on her porch, they're all friendly to her. The very pregnant one is going to clinic Tues.
- a call from north Maywood - the guy who had a mama and 3 kittens hasn't seen them since he started pre-pre-baiting (getting them use to coming for food). He has another neighborhood cat who may have babies in his Hostas. He's getting a pre bait trap Saturday.
- arranged with feeder to partner on drop trap catch for a very trap leery prolific mama who's been having litters ever few months - 35 decendants in the last 2 years. That's Friday night.
-spoke to Linda about Lou's arrangements and possible solution
-spoke to Cynthia about the Loyola kitten. He's 6-7 wks old (went for FF test yesterday at ACL) that was found in some pipes at the hospital. Vet there checked him out but couldn't keep him here. He's been here until she could find a foster home, which she has. He's leaving this weekend. Tried him with the 25 day old kittens but didn't work. Too bad. He will be adopted through ACL mid August with Hoover's babies.
-emailed to schedule local Maywood colony next week
-spoke with a feeder where we picked up 5, 11 day old kittens with their 7 month old mom last week. The 7 month old's mom is back with her 4 month old kittens. We thought she was going to trap them Monday night - now they've got pre-baited traps set. She'd like the cats to be adopted out rather than live in the street. Hardest thing to understand is the lack of resource to socialize a 4 month old kitten. It takes about 6-12 months for some, if ever. We don't try to place 4 month olds. With a good feeder and shelter, their home is the street. It's a difficult situation. We're hoping to at least get them s/n so she won't have 30 to deal with next year.
-Talked to Sheila at the Childrens library about starting an animal education program in August. CatVando in partnership with UofI Extension Service.
-Emailed Dr Oye at Extension of September plans and upcoming tv interview together
No less time consuming are the hours spent thinking and planning. Lots of great things are happening!
Haven't sent the invitations yet but MARK YOUR CALENDAR for our First CAT PARTY!!!! Sunday, July 13, 1pm - more to come. If you don't get an invitation and want to come, leave a comment. Everyone welcome that has cats, indoor or out, or if for some reason you don't have cats but like them!
And that's pretty much how it goes every day. Tried cleaning my house every day this week and spent minimual time at that task! -

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Maywood Farmers Market

Cat Vando had a booth at the recent farmers market held every 1st & 3rd Saturday in St. Eulalia's Parking Lot at 9th and the Eisenhower. It was fantastic! Good fruits vegies, wonderful plants friendly vendors, music, people from the Extension Service answering gardening questions and medical students from Loyola addressing health and wellness issues and lots of fun and fabulous people. Pictured is Maywood's own, the uncomparable, Johnny Diggs, documenting every Maywood event we've attended photographing the entertaining, invigorating talent of the Proviso East High School Band - again, excellent!
We were planning on doing the 3rd Farmers Market of the month but after our experience at this one, we plan on attending each Farmers Market of the season. We met many wonderful people, cat people and civic minded people. We'll go into more detail at a later date but we have a grant writer! And, someone to help us with Publisher and Cannon Zoom Browser. We connected with many feeders and were told of many colonies. While we work in other areas, our main interest is to help Maywood make TNR a community effort. We believe that cats are an opportunity to learn respect for life and to help counteract the violence rampant in our society, we want to start that in our own community and to help spread this to other communities.
We're actually working with the U of I Extension Service to bring in a program for animal education. The 4H people to develop a specialized 4H group to build cat houses for feeders yards. The Village is interested in TNR and working on a program to help the cats of Maywood. All is good!
We've been incredibly busy getting this in place while continuing our TNR efforts. We are working on several colonies, with reservations for our limited supply of traps. We're doing a tremendous amount of education. Many of our calls are for 'relocation', which we don't do... most TNR groups don't. There just isn't any place for the cats other than where they are. The most effective method of reduction and control is TNR. Then there are the details of TNR. While the process is similar, each project brings it's own story. And, there's some doozies! Wish I had the time to list the details some of the stories are quite funny. From skunks to missing then found kittens - it's been well worth the story - just don't have the time!
To clarify TNR, Trap Neuter Return is our focus. Not only do we not have the resources for Trap Neuter Rescue, our mission is to prevent the birth of cats that there's no place for. Hundreds of thousands of cats that are wonderful adoptable animals are being euthanized because there's no place for them to go, no one to adopt them and take them into their homes. Rescue takes lots of time, energy and space. and ultimately, keeps us from our mission of preventing the birth of cats that don't have feeders or are creating an overpopulation problem in a neighborhood, jeopardizing the existing cats because neighbors are concerned about the 'numbers' of cats.
Having said that, sometimes it's impossible to Return, such as the case of Sweet Cheeks the stray (who's amazingly identical to the Stone Park Colony but was abandoned in Maywood) who doesn't like cats and ended up disrupting a whole colony of well fed cats and their feeder. She's darling, affectionate and still here! Or, Hoover and her young kittens, or today's addition of the 6-7 week old kitten found stuck in the pipes. Such is the life of a CatVando'r!

Hoover & Kittens

Hoover arrived with her kittens on June 12 & 13th. They were born June 1st. Hoover (cause she's always eaten like one) is about 7 months old. She's a fantastic mom. Gotta love watching those kittens hold their head up for the first time when it bobs like a little bobble head or when they take their first steps and their butt does the bobble bob. Initially they were in a carrier in a big crate. When they started venturing out of the carrier, I replaced it with a big comforter in the crate.
This was one of the more challenging kitten and mama rescues we've done. This lucky cat is blessed with two wonderful feeders and two sleeping places. Because she was fed by humans as a kitten and because she was exposed to her feeders a lot, she's semi-feral. Her feeders can pet her and she walks between her feeder, Maryann, for food. With 2 feeders, when the feeder withheld food for an hour so I could trap, Hoover decided to go to her other feeder and take 2 kittens with her. Can't even begin to explain the details of this- lets just say, it was interesting and I should write a book! It took 23 hours to get the 4th kitten to her and 30 for the 5th, thanks to the hard work and determination of one of her feeders, Joe.
They're all waiting to go to their foster home then to be adopted out through Animal Care League mid August. Hoover, tho she's feeder friendly, will probably go back to her home with her two feeders. She may be able to be domesticated but it would take more than the resources CatVando has. With a cat as lucky as Hoover, she has a home, it's in the streets. There are so many adoptable cats that don't have homes as good as she. So, unless someone falls madly in love with her in the mean time, she'll be going back to the only home she's known. Spayed, to live out her life without kittens.
Our focus is Trap Neuter Return. Sometimes, as with these kittens, we're diverted. With TNR sometimes, cats just don't 'fit' on the street. And, when kittens can be taken this young, they stand a better chance of being adopted because they can be socialized to human touch and love.

Yowza it's The Season

A Stone Park Colony - 6 cats black or black and white except for Scotty. Poor boy, never saw a cat so flea infested. Wasn't doing much itching but there was a 1/16" layer of flea larve & poop under his cage after 24 hours. It was horrible and took an entire morning to deal with. Couldn't bathe him but did give him Revolution for fleas and parasites. Washing would have been great to get rid of the flea crap but wouldn't have done much for the fleas...... He has a great feeder.
Here's where his devoted caregiver delivers food every day. She drives from her home and feeds this and one other colony. This is behind an empty house. The man who use to feed the cats lost his home and had to move. She heard about it and started feeding and contacted us for TNR
We trapped 7 the first day and 1 the second. We did however, trap a skunk (our first and we didn't get sprayed releasing him!) and a possum. The night before we trapped our first raccoon... a banner 24 hours I'd rather not repeat!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Thank You!

We had a great sale and a good time! In addition to selling lots of stuff, we got lots of donations and were able to do education and we even got a foster home volunteer for socializing kitties!
Thanks to Laura Nowicki and Family for letting us use their lot for our sale on Madison & Grove.
Thanks so much to those that donated wonderful items for sale: Priscilla Kienzell, Muriel , Stephanie Yaeger, Vicki Jones, Ilene Neal, Julie Rutilli of Hounds of Baskerville, Liz Santelli, Stephanie Skrine, Jeanne Friedell, Eric Tucker and Ellen Miles.
Thanks to Lois Matthison for donating her wonderful hand made 100% cotton dish towels and to Jean Williams for her delicious banana bunt cake to be sold at the sale.
Thanks to those who gave monetary donations: Kelly, Delores, Gina of Furry Godmother, Barb & Jillian Klouse and Stephanie Yaeger
Thanks to all those that came not just because it was a Flea Market but to support the efforts of CatVando.
Thanks to Stephanie Skrine for sponsoring the ad in the Oak Leaves
Thanks to Jeanne Friedell for making our wonderful flyer/poster for the "Purrr-fect Flea Market"
And last but not least, thanks to those who put in time, muscle and effort to set up, sell then pack up and donate the left overs:
Jeanne Friedell, Stephanie Skrine, Eric Tucker, Muriel, and Ellen Miles.
And, please forgive me if I've forgotten anyone's name.
Watch for our next sale in early September!!!!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

OurPurr-fect Flea Market Fundraiser

ok - some of this is messed up but you get the important info! Hope to see you there!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Sweet Cheeks and Henry's Update

Sorry, no time to upload photo but Sweet Cheeks is now in very temporary foster care. She had to be removed from the colony because she was extremely disruptive and was causing a tremendous amount of stress for the feeder, as she continued to 'rule' the porch, not allowing the regulars to feed. She's very sweet and needs a home ASAP - her kittens didn't make it. She is precious and needs to be in a one animal household. Henry, on the other hand is doing well. In case you don't remember, he was the beat up, 12 year old who came in full of dried feces, dry brittle hair, old fight wounds, hardly any teeth, frostbit ears, dirreah. He spent the first two weeks eating and sleeping and pooping (all over the side of the litter box, don't 'cha know). After eating good food from Sirius Cooks ( - we love those girls and their healthy food and snacks), getting antibiotics and probiotics and EFA's, no more dirreah, his coat is starting to smooth and he's cleaning himself! He's also taking an interest in his surround. For the first couple of weeks, he wouldn't look at me. When I'd be near, he'd close his eyes. Now, little by little, he's looking... Once he's healthy, he'll be neutered and will possibly go back out on the street. He has a good Colony Manager so he'll have food, water and shelter. Time will tell - he's definitely on the road to recovery.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sweet Cheeks

This is Sweet Cheeks - a new name for a wonderful, loving, beautiful very affectionate very lonely abandoned cat. Her hair is medium length but thin, with good food, she'll fill out. She also has something unusual with her wiskers and eye lashes - they're white! Sweet Cheeks is new to a feeder with a feral colony. Been there about a month. We've posted Lost Cat posters but haven't found her owner. Like so many cats, the owner probably moved and left her behind. She needs a home. CatVando doesn't do adoptions but she's an exception. She doesn't like other cats so wouldn't do well in a shelter. Actually, the feeder's understandably upset, Sweet Cheeks chases all the ferals off the porch where they feed and the feeder, who is very protective of her outside kitties (they're the ones all TNR'd a couple of weeks ago). In addition, she's 83 and has to walk down her steep porch steps in order to feed her regulars on the sidewalk - not a good situation. If you know of anyone who wants to give and receive love - this is their cat. She needs to be in a one cat household. Please contact me asap (leave comment, I'll get it) so we can get this baby off the streets and into a loving home..... Thanks! She'll be spayed and neutered with shots. Adoption fee is $35.

Monday, May 26, 2008

TNR Phase 3 plus

Time flies - been about 10 days since last post. TNR is always a bit different. The first 7 cats were trapped easily on Monday and brought to Animal Care League's Feral Clinic for Spay Neuter package on Tuesday Morning. But that's not the end of the story. There was a reluctant orange tabby that we didn't get on the first trapping. As I mentioned, we wanted him because he had open fight wounds behind his ear. So, we resumed trapping on Tuesday. We got an orange tabby. That night I realized it wasn't the same tabby. This tabby was much older and had a tougher life - his right ear was tipped, not due to TNR 'tipping' but to frostbite. Next morning I brought him to our vet, along with my computer figuring I'd do work while waiting for someone to cancel an appointment, taking my chances to get in... Toni (vet tech) said she didn't think anything would open and they couldn't see me until 12:30. About that time, I got a call from the feeder saying there were 3 on the porch, including the orange one, and a new grey and white that looked pregnant plus the cat that had had kittens the week before. I went back to the feeders, with 3 cages. The little black mama was gone but the grey and orange ones were there.... they were easy catches. I set the first trap on the porch, by the time I got to the car and turned around, the grey one was already trapped. Covered her with sheet and set the second trap. Got the orange one right away. So, with 3 cats now in the car, I went back to the vet. The little grey one had an eye problem. The vet saw the old orange one that day - poor baby had terrible loose stool and was covered in it, hardly any teeth in his mouth and old fight wounds. Estimated age 12. He was bathed, given antibiotics and probiotics and good food and is in the infirmary until he strengthens. Next day, went back with the grey cat. She has a chronic eye condition - not much that can be done for her but she sees enough to get around. She (Willow) , Henry and Jim were all in the infirmary until last Tuesday when she & Jim went for s/n clinic. Because of Jim's fight wounds, he was tested for Fe/lu (sorry, I can never spell that right), tested positive and euthanized. At this point, we have no humane place for him and can't put him back on the street to infect others. It was amazing that Willow nor Henry tested positive at the vet the week before. This is the messy side of TNR. It's so much easier when they're sterilized and returned. Actually, in all the cats we've done, we've been fortunate to not have dealt with this before - 3 at once kept us hopping!
Of the original 7, the males were returned on Wednesday and the females on Thursday. 4 were male, 3 were female and 2 were pregnant.
Henry & Jim Return home - they bolt when they realize they can. Both of these are female. The males were released the day before - it will take them about two weeks to loose their territorial and fighting behavior, then, they'll just mellow out with little or no interest in fighting - generally - always the exception to the rule!
So that's one TNR from start to finish. The following week we didn't trap any. Traps were at a feeders but, can't always get people to follow instructions about pre-baiting and withholding food prior to trap day so, the result was, no cats in traps that week.
Soon, I'll be leaving to trap 5-8 known cats and kittens in a colony. The feeder has been pre-baiting since Saturday morn. Wish us luck!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

TNR Phase 2, 3 and 2 again

This is more pre-baiting. Traps ramain open, cats are fed in traps only so they are comfortable going in the trap and when traps are set, things go faster.
The original plan was to trap Monday evening for Tuesday clinic. Their last meal was to be Sunday morning. Well, it poured all day Sunday so they didn't get any food. Not wanting to starve them, we pushed trapping up to the morning feed.
All went well. All in all it's the fastest bait and trap we've done - from first bait on Thursday to trapping on Tuesday is fast. We trapped 7 cats in about an hour. As you can see, we had 2 cats in one trap, not typical and not recommended. These two are siblings, both less than 6 months old. We got all but one orange adult cat who hung around but wouldn't go into the trap. And, a black one thought to be pregnant. The orange one had fight wounds, big ones, behind his ear so we really need to get him. We took the cats to their before/aftercare place for care before clinic. Got them set up with food and water and paper. (sorry, no photos, next time). And went back to set a trap for the orange one. Before too long, we got the black one, but released her after a good meal and lots of petting (she's a stray or someones cat) because she's just had her kittens within the last week and it would be too much time away from them. The feeder is checking the area for kittens. A bit later, we got the orange one..... however, it's not the orange one. It's orange, and wounded, but it's ear tipped. So, it's off to the vet with him tomorrow and a new trap for the other orange one will be set.
Today, we took the 7 in for spay neuter. Out of 7 cats, 3 are female, 4 are male. 2 of the females were pregnant. One of them was the less than 6 month old in the back of the double trapped cats. Adorable long haired white with grey spots. The Vet, Laurie at Animal Care League, thinks that by the way they stick together it was probably her little brother. Both mom's were aborted, saving at least 6 new kittens from being born. Everything went well, they're all resting in their traps. Some, as you'll see by the photos aren't looking too happy but that may be the after effects of surgery.
This beautiful boy has a tiger face and legs and a buff colored body - this is a few hours after surgery - he's not looking too happy. He did however, dive into the food when I put it in his cage. They get to eat a small portion the first night. He looked much happier after. He's gorgeous with beautiful blue eyes.
This is one of the mom's - she's about a year old and very cute. She was further along than her daughter, pictured below. She'll be here for about 48 hours before being returned. We check for bowel and urine movement prior to return, and any other possible complication. Her belly can be viewed because of the open trap. Wound is checked for healing.
And here's the young mom. Fortunately she will not live out a life of litters. Cats can have litters every 2 months. She too will be returned after about 48 hours Next, the orange one..... Then finding and fostering the mom and kittens for adoption. We'll be hanging posters and putting an add in the paper to see if she belongs to anyone. Mom, a beautiful tuxedo of about a year, is very friendly. She's either lost or abandoned. With adoptable friendlies, efforts are always made to locate the owners, just in case she's some one's indoor outdoor cat.
More on the next step with the 2 Orange cats and the Mama and kittens. (Cats are usually named, I'm not taking the liberty of naming them, allowing their caregiver to name them. At clinic, each cat must be named, for convenience and rabies identification, they were named after the 7 Dwarfs!)