Waiting for Biopsy Results for Mama, Kristina’s Senior Feral Colony Cat

Mama, a cat from Kristina’s colony, had an infection in her mouth this winter. She was eating only with one side of her mouth and had fluids coming out.

 

Kristina tried giving her antibiotics which seemed to help, but then last week Mama became lethargic and stopped eating.

She was so weak that Kristina was able to scoop her up into a cat carrier and took her straight to our amazing vets at Elmhurst Animal Care Center.

 

Mama was thin, dehydrated and anemic. They noted she had “severe dental disease, with near-universal root exposure. Large amount of foul-smelling exudate packed around teeth.” They also found a “pink, fleshy, moveable mass under right side of her tongue.”

 

They gave her a dental and pulled TEN teeth. She was given antibiotics, pain meds and fluids.

We are currently waiting for biopsy results for the mass under her tongue. Mama’s vet bill so far is $246.00 We are always committed to giving every colony cat full medical care as needed. If you’d like to make a donation towards Mama’s care, you can do so with your credit card at the PayPal donation link at the top right of this page to [email protected]

 

After her vet visit, Kristina took Mama home to recover from her dental. She is now inside and can roam in her basement, because she is used to waiting by Kristina’s basement door for food.

 

Mama continued to refuse to eat. I went to go visit with a variety of cat food to try, as well as Gerber chicken baby food. I couldn’t get a good photo of Mama because she is feral and ran from me, but after I left Kristina told me that Mama ate the baby food!

Kristina cares for about five TNR’d cats in her yard, and two other colonies a few blocks away. Mama was TNR’d nine years ago, so she’s led a good long life so far.

 

Mama and the other cats live in this amazing outdoor cat house in their yard, next to their garage. I gave Kristina a wood shelter years ago, and Kristina’s boyfriend Matt built it up into this much bigger space, encased with a tarp for warmth.

The inside of this shelter is insulated.

With heating lamps.

The black cat in these photos is Mama’s colony friend, Spot. He made sure to show me all around their yard.

We don’t know what to expect yet with Mama, but we are hoping for the best. She will get the best care we can provide. Please send healing thoughts her way!

 

 

 

 

 

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Helping Norman Edwards, a Former Colony Cat, Get Ready for Adoption!

Norman Edwards was trapped in a large TNR project in the Dunning area of Chicago in January. He was taken to a low cost clinic for the basic TNR services for a feral cat, but he’s friendly.

 

So Kim V. agreed to foster him in her home. He is quite the handsome long-haired black cat. Norman acted pretty friendly, but hesitant about his surroundings. We’re not sure if he ever was a fully indoor pet cat. PAWS Chicago agreed to take a look at him for admission into their adoption program.

 

During his exam there, it was noted that he had a possible wound and missing fur on his back, near his tail. And that he badly needed a dental. PAWS offered to do his dental at no charge to us, but there was a wait time of over a month because their shelter is currently backed up.

 

Kim decided not to wait because she didn’t want to keep Norman longer in a cage than was necessary, and it did seem like he was in pain. As I said, he was friendly, but wasn’t quite coming out of his shell.

Kim took him to our wonderful vets at Elmhurst Animal Care Center. They noted that he was missing several upper and lower incisors. His mouth must have really been bothering him! They gave him a full dental.

 

As for the wound on his back, they thought it may be from scratching from fleas, and possible infection. Norman went home with antibiotics to help clear it up.

 

Kim said that a day or two after this visit, Norman was acting like a new cat. He HATES being given Clavamox, but his energy level and activity is now through the roof. He plays with other cats and wants to be pet and handled. His new intake appointment at PAWS is now on March 17th after his antibiotic treatment is done.

 

His total vet bill was $105.40, which Kim took care of herself. If you’d like to make a donation towards his care for me to repay her, you can do so at the PayPal donation button at the top right of this page.

 

 

 

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Helping Felix, the Orange Cat, Get Ready for Adoption!

Felix was found sick in an alley by some kind volunteers on the near north side of Chicago last fall and brought to PAWS’ clinic to be neutered.

 

He was covered in itchy scabs from a flea allergy, dehydrated, and in need of a dental that was inflaming his gums and causing swollen glands and a fever. My TNR friend, Erica R., found a foster for him during his long recovery period and multiple vet visits.

 

He’s a super sweet, handsome orange tabby cat, just 1-2 years old.

The last vetting Felix needed was his dental, and we were happy to help. Erica took him to our vet, Elmhurst Animal Care Center. He stayed overnight on some antibiotics for infection. The next day he got his dental. The total cost was $88. We are forever grateful for Elmhurst’s fantastic care. We couldn’t do this without them, as well as all of our donors who continue to help us help more cats like Felix!

Felix is now available for adoption at the Petco on Belmont and Western in Chicago. His most recent foster described him as quiet, loving and sweet. He gets along with dogs and other cats. He’s inquisitive and playful. We know he will be adopted very soon!

 

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RIP Crystal

When we met Jean, she showed us Crystal, one of her twenty colony cats. Crystal’s left ear looked completely eaten away.

 

Jean trapped Crystal, and Joann rushed her to our vet, Elmhurst Animal Care Center. They ruled out bite wounds, and said her ear was either caused by frostbite or cancer. They sent out a sample for a biopsy, with results taking 3-5 days.

 

In the meantime Crystal was hospitalized there. She had such low blood pressure they could not get a blood sample. She had a high fever, so they gave her an injection to lower it. The vet performed surgery and cleaned her ear. She was put on medication for the pain, and on antibiotics for infection. They discovered she did not have any teeth left. She tested positive for FIV. She was estimated to be about 9-10 years old.

 

Crystal was feral and outdoors her whole life. She was TNR’d in 2013. This new environment was very alien to her, and she was completely terrified. Her physical pain was hopefully eased by medicine, but she was still suffering. She did not react or respond to anyone. She refused to eat.

 

But she was bonded to Jean, so Joann brought Jean to visit her. Crystal recognized her, and let Jean pet and even hold her a little bit. Jean was also able to feed her.

A few days later the biopsy results came back: Crystal had squamous cell carcinoma. Crystal fit the profile for cats most susceptible to this type of skin cancer – she was a white cat, of about the right age, and was outside exposed to the sun. Also, her immune system was further compromised because she was FIV+.

 

It is a very invasive cancer, and obviously this diagnosis was not early. Crystal’s entire ear was almost gone. The cancer would have continued to spread, and she would’ve required vigilant observation and continued care, most likely chemotherapy.

 

Joann brought Jean to our vet, Dr. Harris, where he carefully explained everything. Euthanasia was the most humane answer in this case. Crystal died surrounded by their love and kindness.

 

We are also so grateful to all of you for your love and kindness, and for all of your donations. The costs of $501.40 was covered. Jean could not believe it, even though I told her right when I saw Crystal that whatever happened, we would take care of it, included financially. Jean is extremely grateful for all that was done, but is grieving now. I’d also like to especially thank Joann, who was with Jean every step of the way. The cat community is truly inspiring.

 

May you rest in peace, Crystal.

 

 

Ben says:

Safe travels on the rainbow road sweet girl. I’m sorry we couldn’t save you.

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Jean and Crystal Reunited: A Caregiver Visits Her Sick Colony Cat at the Vet

The vet told us Crystal, a sick cat from Jean’s colony, was suffering and hasn’t eaten while hospitalized there since last Friday.

 

Crystal has necrosis of the left ear, and it is completely gone, bloody and crusted. Her caregiver, Jean, trapped her last Friday and Joann rushed her straight to our vet, Elmhurst Animal Care Center. She has been there ever since, medicated and under observation, while we wait for the biopsy results.

 

Since Crystal is an outdoor colony cat who is familiar and bonded with Jean only so far, we hoped that she might feel better if she actually SAW Jean. Cats can shut down easily and be terrified in such alien environments, even though they know they are being helped and stabilized with medication. Crystal’s appearance is still alarming but now that she has recovered from surgery and cleaned up she looks so much better than last week. We are so grateful for Elmhurst’s expert care!

Joann drove Jean to the vet for a visit. When Crystal saw Jean the results were spectacular, better than we could have ever hoped.

 

Jean was able to touch and pet her.

Then she fed her a full meal by hand. And she was able to hold her. This is such a testament to what we are all capable of when we are compassionate and caring. Age and circumstance do not limit us. Jean has a special touch with these cats, and they respond. We are still waiting and hoping for a positive outcome for Crystal. We’ve learned a lot from both of them this past week.

 

 

 

sarah e lauzen says:

so beautiful.

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Vetting Crystal, the Cat with the Missing Ear

Crystal was trapped with 28 other cats living in Jean’s yard in 2013.

 

Jean’s colony is now down to 13 outdoor cats, and seven indoor cats. All are spayed and neutered.

 

Jean is probably in her mid-eighties and walks with a cane. She still navigates all three floors of her home, and cares for the cats as best as she can all day by herself on a limited income. She is sharp and fun to talk to. She loves the cats dearly and cares for them as best as she can, but obviously twenty cats takes a lot of time, upkeep and money. Her house is clearly dedicated to the cats – they have pretty much taken over. When Kim and I visited with a donation of cat food and supplies the other week, we saw that some of the cats were sick, even ones that Jean had taken to a vet on her own. Jean was humbled by the donation, even though we kept telling her that this amount of work would be difficult for anyone to handle.

 

The one cat that clearly needed help immediately was Crystal, part of the outdoor colony. Her entire left ear appeared to be missing.

I remembered Crystal from when I posted about her TNR along with the other cats. This is what she looked like then, and the post also even contains video of her return back to the colony. She’s the last cat returned at the end of it. Jean said Crystal’s ear had been slowly deteriorating but was overwhelmed with vet bills already. Kim and I offered immediately to trap Crystal and take her to our vet, Elmhurst Animal Care Center. Remarkably Jean said she could try to trap her herself and needed to think about the best way to do it. Caregivers know their colony the best, so this is ideal, but at the same time we didn’t really want Jean to try because of her physical condition. The traps are heavy!

 

Well, last Friday, Jean trapped Crystal on her own! She knew where Crystal usually slept, and placed the trap against the only exit. After awhile Crystal had to go in and she did!

 

Up close, Crystal’s appearance was even more alarming. We are so grateful to Jean to have trapped her when she did. Joann immediately took Crystal to Elmhurst that night, where she has stayed ever since. When Joann went to pick her up, Jean came out of her house carrying the trap by herself while walking with her cane as well. Seriously, kudos to Jean for her tenacity and passion for these cats. We are in awe, and want to help her any way we can.

 

Joann said the smell from Crystal was so bad that she thought she defecated in the trap, but it was from her ear.

 

The vets said the condition of her ear was from necrosis, either from frostbite or cancer. They ruled out bite wounds. We will know the biopsy results soon.

 

Her ear was cleaned and she was given Convenia (antibiotic) for the infection. Her blood pressure was so low that they might not have gotten enough blood for a blood sample. She had a fever of 103.5 degrees and was given an injection to lower that. She is also on pain medication so that she can rest comfortably there. She tested FIV+. They told us she had no teeth left, but her gums look good regardless. She is estimated to be about nine years old.

 

We are so grateful to Jean for trapping Crystal when she did. Crystal would not last that much longer on her own in the cold outside without medical care. At the same time, Jean told me she is embarrassed and doesn’t want anyone to think she is neglectful of her colony. We do not think that at all, and I really hope Jean understands that when I tell her. Joann and I have talked to her as best as we can about this.

 

THANK YOU to Joann and Kim for all of their help this past week with this colony! And thanks to the Elmhurst vets for their expert and compassionate care, as always, so far.

 

If you’d like to make a donation towards Crystal’s care, you can do so at the donation button at the top of this page, or through PayPal at [email protected]

 

THANK YOU to all who have donated so far, and for all of your healing thoughts and prayers sent her way!

 

 

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Healing Cowbella – Now Available for Adoption

We first met Cowbella, wobbling and weaving her way towards us, while trapping the Charlie Chaplin Colony 5am on a cold Saturday morning last fall.

 

It was still pretty dark out so we weren’t sure what we were seeing. Cowbella walked as if she was drunk. We knew immediately something was wrong.

 

We trapped her right away, along with 16 other cats and kittens that weekend from same yard. Despite everything else then going on while trapping, Kim took Cowbella straight to Elmhurst Animal Care Center to be looked at, rather than the clinic to be TNR’d.

 

X-rays confirmed she had a broken pelvis.

The injury was very new, and may have just happened that morning or night. We got her just in time as Cowbella was in no shape to be walking, and would be an easy target outside.

 

Cowbella is still just an older kitten. She tested FIV-/FeLV-. Dr. Harris explained that she should stay crated and rested to allow her shock and injury to heal. She could not be spayed until then. Even though she was terrified and acted accordingly, she could not be put back outside. We trust Dr. Harris’ expert opinion implicitly and followed his instructions. Cowbella was contained in a large crate in Kim’s house.

And she did pretty well. Kim even put the Charlie Chaplin kitten litter in the same room with her after awhile to keep her company. She seemed to enjoy watching their antics.

 

And why not? She probably knew them from outside, and we think she was part of an older litter born to the same mother earlier that year before we TNR’d.

 

In mid-December Kim took Cowbella for a check-up to Elmhurst again, where x-rays revealed her pelvis had healed and did not require surgery.

She would not be able to jump or run very well, but was ready to be spayed. Because of her mobility issues and the danger it puts her in, she should never be put back outside. Cowbella needs to be an indoor only cat.

 

I consulted with Jenny Nahrwald, assistant director at PAWS Chicago’s Spay Lurie Clinic, and her opinion on Cowbella. She then consulted with Dr. Von Waldau, their chief vet, who agreed to do her spay surgery for free with a careful examination. Cowbella was spayed just the other week and Jenny transported her afterwards to Kim’s home. Once again, we are so grateful for the care and help PAWS Chicago has provided for us for more than a decade with many of the cats we rescue off of the street.

 

Cowbella is now recovered from her spay surgery and up to date on all vaccinations. She is a shy, sweet girl that loves to be scratched under the chin, and seeks out pets once she’s comfortable. She definitely likes other cats. She has a lot of energy because she is still very young, but knows how to move carefully because of her past ordeal. She will make a wonderful pet with the right person who will give her time to learn about her new indoor home.

If you’re interested in adopting Cowbella or would like to meet her, please call us at 773-609-2287, or email me at [email protected]

 

Cowbella’s total vet bills with Elmhurst were $165. We are so grateful to them for such expert care and reasonable costs with everything they’ve done. If you’d like to make a donation to help us help more cats like Cowbella, please click on the PayPal link at the top of this page, or through [email protected]

 

Thank you all you have donated so far! We could not do this without you.

 

 

 

 

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How to Trap a Mama Cat and Kittens

When we started TNR on the Charlie Chaplin Colony, Melanie told us about a mama cat and kittens.

 

We trapped the mama cat, Katler, right away but let her go because we could see she was lactating and we weren’t sure if the kittens were completely weaned, or where they even were.

 

Melanie searched with neighbors the next day and found the litter in a garage, feasting on a pigeon. Yup, they were weaned. It took some chasing, trapping and maneuvering but she managed to get all four kittens into a trap.

 

Then we all waited for their mama Katler to go into a trap again. The kittens are in a carrier, with a trap set against the carrier door, like in a “train.” That way the mama cat is supposed to go into the trap to get to her kittens. Katler wasn’t having it at first, she just sat on top of the trap or circled around the entire time. The carrier and trap are covered underneath the towel. img_9396

Eventually Katler went into the trap and we were able to TNR her at PAWS Chicago the next day, along with ten other adult cats from this colony. img_9307

In the meantime, my friend Jennifer offered to foster the four kittens. Jennifer lives in my neighborhood and also does TNR for the Thompson Twins Colony.

 

She set them up on this cute pillow in her bathroom. image1-2 image2 image3

They did have some URI issues so they were taken to our friends again at Elmhurst Animal Care Center. They got Clavamox and dewormer. The total bill was $54.50

 

If you’d like to make a donation towards their care you can do so with the donation button at the top of this page or through Paypal at [email protected]

 

In the meantime, all four kittens pretty much got over their URI’s and are now being fostered by Kim. They have their first appointment for continuing vet care next week at PAWS Chicago and will eventually be admitted into their adoption program. img_2250

 

 

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Trapping Cowbella, an Injured Cat

On the second early morning of trapping the Charlie Chaplin Colony, Cowbella came wobbling and stumbling up to Melanie’s yard. Kim and I knew immediately something was wrong with her because of the way she was moving.

 

Luckily, Cowbella pretty much went into a trap immediately because she was hungry. Kim took her straight to our friend, Dr. James Harris, at Elmhurst Animal Care Center.

 

According to Dr. Harris, Cowbella has “a nasty pelvic fracture, that doesn’t seem super painful, and not much can be done surgically. She’ll likely be functional in the long run but will never walk right.” Here’s her x-ray. img_9335

He recommended she rest for about two and a half months, giving a chance for her bones to mend on their own. She should not be spayed until then either. Kim set her up in a dog crate in her house to rest. img_9331 This presents a conundrum as so far Cowbella is acting feral. Even if she stays inside for a few months until she can be spayed, she will have to definitely stay inside until spring because she won’t have her winter fur coat anymore to keep her warm. Even then, putting her back out after being inside for that long isn’t really an option. Cowbella is only about 5-6 months old – she’s not old enough to have her environment imprinted on her and remember it months later. Most likely she’ll just get used to the dog crate, which isn’t much of a life either, except for short term.

 

Also, we’re not sure how fast she can run to defend herself. Even worse, there’s a chance that she may not be using her back legs at all any more and is paralyzed. We think we may have trapped very soon after getting hit by a car, perhaps, and her body was still working. It is hard to tell as she does not move in front of us. But when we leave, she is eating, sometimes using the litter box, and sometimes just defecating on the papers. We can’t really get her to move so we’re looking to borrow a camera for the room.

 

We are grateful to Melanie for covering Cowbella’s care so far. Dr. Harris and the Elmhurst Animal Care Center are excellent and affordable. Along with the x-ray, we tested Cowbella for FIV/FeLV and she is negative. The total bill for her so far is $105. img_9381 img_9380

If you’d like to donate to help us help more cats like Cowbella, you can do so at the Paypal donation button at the top of this page, or through [email protected]

 

Thank you!

 

 

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RIP Sweet Stacy

A young man named Atticus was worried about a TNR’d colony cat on his block. The cat was acting sick and lethargic, so Atticus posted this heartbreaking message on Everyblock, asking for help:

“so there’s a feral cat, a sweet old man, who lives on my block. i think a neighbor across the street usually feeds the colony, because i see them hanging on his porch a lot.

the old man cat seems like he’s really sick. his nose is all crusted and he’s on my back porch right now, seeming like he has a bit of trouble moving. he’s just hunched there, breathing heavily.
i know not to touch him, because he’s definitely an ear-tipped feral. i tried to make him comfy, brought him a little bit of food. he sat up when i got near him, but did not run, which is one of the ways i know he is not doing well, because he used to run when i got within 30 ft orso of him.

i guess my question is, am i caring too much for what is basically a wild animal? he surely won’t even live the month without medical attention, but he is ‘no ones’ cat, just there to keep the rat population down.. i’m not posting to say, “dang i don’t want this guy to die on *my* porch!” as much as i am saying, “is there a way we can do something for him?”

i don’t have the money to pay for medical attention for him, and i’m not sure if it’s even a cause worth fighting for because he might just be old as hell and withering with age.

thanks, neighbors. i’m sorry to post something so bummerific, i just love this old cat.”

 

Joann and Kim brought traps to Atticus. Atticus and his girlfriend, Katie, watched the traps day and night. This sick cat would come and go, and sat by the trap for a few days.

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In the meantime, they trapped another black cat. They named her Ditto, and she received her TNR treatment at the Anti-Cruelty Society’s clinic.

 

Finally, after a week of setting traps, the sick cat went in. img_9078 img_9091

We went to our friend, Dr. James Harris, at Elmhurst Animal Care Center.  We found out there that this sweet “old man cat” was actually a female. She was a senior cat, sick with upper respiratory infection – URI, underweight, had only a few teeth left, and had some pretty extensive mats on her back. They also found her microchip from her TNR, which was traced to PAWS’ clinic. img_9077 The Elmhurst clinic sedated her, did her bloodwork and FIV/FeLV test, and gave her an antibiotic injection of Convenia for her URI. They carefully clipped off her mats, but left the fur intact underneath. Afterwards I set her up in my feral cat recovery lounge. Her total vet bill was $121. If you’d like to make a donation towards her care, you can do so through the Paypal donation link at the top of this page, or directly through paypal.com [email protected] img_9159

In the meantime, PAWS let us know that she was TNR’d in 2010 on the same block we trapped her. Her name was Stacy. The person who TNR’d her has since moved from the block. She was the only cat she ever TNR’d because Stacy kept having litters of kittens. But Stacy had other feeders caring for her since then, including Atticus, and his neighbor across the street.

 

The next day Dr. Harris informed us that she tested negative for FIV/FeLV, but her bloodwork results were dismal. She would need ongoing daily medication and care for lymphoma, most likely. This was just not possible in her situation and Stacy was already very sick. She was acting very lethargic, barely moving in the dog crate, yet very scared and stressed at being confined. At the same time, if we put her back outside, she was not in a situation where she stayed in a single place and could take daily medicine and daily care. Winter was coming and the cold would eventually kill her. After much discussion between all of us, Jenny N. at PAWS offered to take her to their clinic and euthanize her.

 

RIP, Sweet Stacy. You were surrounded by love at the end of your life, and brought a lot of people together who tried to help you the best way we could. We are so grateful for the compassion of Atticus and Katie for caring for her, for reaching out to the local Everyblock community, and to the vet care from Elmhurst and PAWS. Every animal deserves a dignified and humane death when they are suffering, and this is why we provide that care as best as we can to the colony cats.

 

 

 

 

 

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