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!)

Friday, May 9, 2008

Newest TNR project 316

This is a sweet looking colony most that have eyes that look like they're lined with black crayon. Not all are pictured. This caregiver and I connected the day these photos were taken. As luck would have it, our first attempt at pre-baiting was successful. At times there were 3 on one side and 2 on the other side of the trap. Pre-baiting is a technique used to assure cats will easily enter the trap, so that when it's 'set' to trap, cats are accustomed to entering, usually at a fixed feeding time. It eliminates the need to wait hours for the cats to mosey in to the set trap. It's unusual to pre-bait with one trap and numerous cats but TNR methods, while static are also flexible and 'you do what you can with what you have'.... Fortunately, these cats were hungry so dove into the traps first time they saw it. These lucky cats have a feeder who cares for them and who understands that few can turn into many in a short period of time. The cat in the upper right of the blog, with the grey crown and white face, is pregnant. She's also the mom of the 3, approximately 6 months old kittens in this colony. These are all feral cats. Secure enough to come close but not enough to be petted. Their at home with the caregiver and use to her and even secure enough to eat while I'm there. These pictures are taken from inside the porch through a window. We're only 3-4 feet from them.

For the next few days, their caregiver will be putting their food in the traps (they'll have 7 traps over there by the end of the weekend). Sunday morning will be their last meal until Monday afternoon, when we'll begin trapping. It works best if they're hungry. On Tuesday and maybe Wednesday morning, they'll be going to Animal Care League's, Feral S/N Clinic. They'll all be sterilized and vetted (see TNR sidebar). The mom will be aborted (I know, it's a horrible thing to take a life, but it's humane when you think of the thousands of kittens born with no place to go), then they'll be back home by next Thursday or Friday. Between that time, they will remain in their traps, covered to make them comfortable (it soothes them), monitored for any after effects of their surgeries. Rule of thumb is if they are urinating and moving their bowels, they're ready to go home, unless there's infection or other complications - usually isn't. Generally speaking males are kept 24 and females 48 hours during aftercare. In this area, all the immediate neighbors will receive info on TNRing, free roaming cats, and cat deterrent info.

We don't get to publish all our TNRing projects, but this one, you'll get to follow from start to finish. It will be an interesting journey into TNR. Each colony and situation is different but similar enough to get the gist of things. This one is different because the cats were hungry the minute the first trap was put out. Many times, we pre-bait for a week to assure comfort and ease with going into them before we set them. We'll just see how things go next week! and........... we'll keep you posted!

Friday, May 2, 2008


Our newest fundraiser is art created out of cat food cans! We're seeking donations of art created with cat food cans to help withspay/neuter fees, food, vet bills.. Applicationsaccepted by email: or snail mail: CatVando, c/o Art Gecko, 19 Harrison St., Oak Park, IL 60304.Submit photos or jpgs of your Cat Can Creations withtitles & dimensions by Friday, July 18. Include yourname, address, phone number and email address. Thereis no fee to exhibit, but your work becomes theproperty of CatVando for the exhibit and silentauction.Artists will be notified by Friday, July 25 andarrangements will be made to acquire the work. The exhibit and silent auction runs August 1 -15. Bidding will end at 8:00 pm on Friday, August 15.Each donating artist receives a CatVando t-shirt andthe blessings of street cats everywhere! Info: 708829 6013 You can also help by dropping off your empty clean cans to Sirius Cooks, 142 Harrison St in Oak Park and while your there, check out some of the other fine shops on the street - Oak Park's Art District has many wonderful places to visit. If you want to create a cat food can masterpiece and need cans, you can pick them up at Sirius Cooks or Art Gecko also on Harrison - 19 Harrison St. I am really looking forward to seeing these creations, some of the ideas I've heard are wacky wonderful!