Danny moved to Humboldt Park decades ago and started feeding the cats outside. Currently he is feeding at least 25+ cats and kittens, inside and outside.
I met Danny a few weeks ago when Tree House referred a call to me from another woman named Tonya who was looking for help with a mama calico cat and her kittens born in her yard.
I called Tonya and learned this was the calico cat’s second litter within the past six months. Tonya adopted her previous litter into her own home, and had them vetted at Treehouse. My friend Heather and I went to talk to Tonya and walked around her block with her. We walked door to door, and found Danny immediately. He had cat houses and feeding stations on his property.
Danny was completely overwhelmed with feeding the cats. He told us there were about 15 friendly cats that he has brought inside with him, and he feeds another 10+ outdoor cats as well. Currently, there is also the calico cat family, another pregnant cat outside his house, and most likely other pregnant cats in his house. I have also met another neighbor directly across the street who feeds another colony of at least 3+ cats.
Danny talked about growing up poor in Louisiana, and how he is currently caring for his 92 year old mother and her 80 year old partner at his place. His mother is in a wheelchair and has cancer. In addition, he was trying to keep up with the care of the cats. He should be retired, but he keeps working as a handyman to keep up with the expenses for the cats. During our conversation, he pulled out antibiotics that he was trying to give them from the vet. He was almost in tears during this conversation.
Danny was totally on board with getting the cats spayed/neutered, and TNR. He said he was offered help throughout the years, but no one would follow through.
We made plans to meet the following day to start trapping. When Heather, Tonya and I showed up, he was again almost in tears. He said he did not expect us to show up, because people have always promised him help before without following through.
I told him that when I say I’m coming over, I’m coming over.
We brought feral cat shelters and set up traps in his backyard.
By the next day, we had five cats in traps.
Four were clearly feral, all Siamese, and siblings. Meet Little Mama, Winky, Simono, and Princess. Two males, and two females. They had some medical conditions, including severe dental disease, underweight, diarrhea, inflamed intestines, alopecia, distended abdomen, ropey intestines, and conjunctivitis.
Can you tell they’re siblings or what?
We also trapped Rudy. Rudy had to be kept overnight because he needed additional care. He was treated for tapeworms, and obviously had some conjunctivitis going on.
Danny recovered all of the cats on his own. We resumed trapping and got five more cats.
Meet Fuzzy, Jake, Lil Fuzzy, and Lola. All of them also had variations of tapeworm, dental disease, and intestinal disorders. Ss far we have been charged $40 for various worm medications, and have been advised to do $20 fecal tests/per cat to determine which parasites they have.
Jake’s tongue is sticking out because of the dental disease. A few of the other cats look like that as well.
In addition, we brought in Sammy.
Sammy didn’t make it. He died under anesthesia, and one of Danny’s other cats almost died as well. That cat was brought back to life with CPR.
Danny broke down with the news of Sammy’s death. I don’t even have a photo of Sammy to share with you, otherwise normally I write separate obituaries for cats. But I brought Danny to Treehouse’s clinic so that they could explain to him what happened. He was very upset. Very, very upset. He made arrangements to get Sammy’s ashes from them for $75+.
Unfortunately Danny is now not as trusting of this process. This is the second cat that has died under Treehouse’s care since December that I know of. I have never had cats die before during their spay/neuter surgeries in over twelve years of TNR. Also, the ear tips done now all month there are very bloody for multiple cats in multiple colonies. The sheets covering the traps are coming back sprayed with blood. It is concerning, because normally, I’ve never seen blood on the ear tips.
Along with the TNR, I’ve been working with Danny to provide a safe environment for the cats. His first floor apartment, where he stays with his mother, is fine. Rudy, the orange cat, has full reign of the house.
The rest of the cats are kept sequestered in various rooms, including his back porch. The back porch is filled with a lot of stuff, including full litter boxes and lots of cat food lying everywhere. There are at least five cats living there. I am hoping Danny will eventually help us clean up back there.
The garage where all of the siamese cats hang out also needs cleaning. We have provided feral bins to put in there.
Danny has currently shut down on us, although I remain hopeful he will continue working with us in the future, despite all obstacles. He knows where the calico mama cat and her kittens are. We’ve talked about bringing in the kittens for adoption. I brought him additional feral cat shelters, a feeding station, and a donation of almost 300 cans of wet food. He understands we’re trying to help him help the cats. If you are interested in helping, please,