In the meantime, they became sick with what was diagnosed as coccidia and upper respiratory infections – URI. Their latest vet bill was $608.98.
That’s in addition to their other bills of $187.78
As of now they seem to be all right. They love tearing apart Joann’s laundry room, pretty much tearing off every piece of clothing off of the hangers.
And they’re obsessed with this watering can. They knock it over and take turns going inside.
Thanks for all of your support!
Unfortunately that didn’t happen because PAWS was concerned about a bald spot on Tater, the black kitten’s nose. They were concerned it was possibly from ringworm. Fingers crossed it isn’t actually ringworm. We think he rubbed it on the crate and created a bald spot. He was the one kitten who got out of his crate in my garage – go figure, he is the runt of the litter and still a troublemaker!
Their Wood’s lamp test for ringworm was negative, but the kittens were sent home to be fostered for an additional two weeks until their next appointment on Thursday, 11/5. In the meantime they had a culture test for ringworm. The results usually take about ten days.
Their previous amazing feline foster/socializer Robin T. could not take back these kittens for now because she now has out of town guests in her house.
Because of Robin, they are now totally socialized and oh-so-cute-and-ready-for-adoption!
They are totally used to being in an indoor home, and even behave themselves during dinner. Except for Tigger, who thinks every plate is his.
Please contact me at [email protected] if you are interested in these kittens. Thank you for all of your help!
When we first started TNR for the KFC Colony in their junkyard home, we didn’t know what to expect. Little did we expect that almost ALL of the cats were going to end up in indoor homes because almost all of the adult cats were friendly, and the kittens were young enough to be socialized.
It was a good thing for the cats, because they lost their home in the middle of this project.
Joann saw cats and kittens through the fence on her first visit to the junkyard. There were tons of construction materials and garbage for them to hide in.
People were also leaving food.
But we couldn’t figure out a way to get in. Everything was locked. She tried trapping in the neighbor’s yard and started leaving food as well.
One night a woman showed up to feed. We learned that her name is Corinne, and she has been feeding at this junkyard since last November. She drove almost every day from her home in Rogers Park to feed the cats. Another friend told her about it. Corinne fed all the time, and so did other people that randomly showed up with food, so when she tried to trap cats obviously it was pretty hard. They were not hungry enough to go in the traps. But she managed to trap about five or six cats, and almost all of them were friendly. She found homes for all of them within her network of friends, except for one cat that was feral, so he was TNReturned.
Corinne showed us how she got into the junkyard. There was a small gap in the chain link fence. She would trap a cat and then hoist it over the barbed wire. I have no idea how she did this by herself.
Corinne knew about the kittens, and knew who the mama cat was. She showed us photos of the cats she was still trying to trap. She said she had potential homes for all of them. She really was trying to do the best for the cats, but she was just overwhelmed at this point.
That first day Joann and Corinne set traps together in the junkyard all five kittens were trapped. They went into foster care with my friend Robin and will be admitted to PAWS Chicago tomorrow. Throughout their foster care their cost of vet care was $187.78 for eye meds and antibiotics.
The mama cat, Poppy, was also trapped that day. She was skin and bones and ravenous before and after her TNR. Her TNR clinic package cost $26, and testing cost $15. She tested negative for FIV and FeLV. She was also friendly, and Corinne had very specific plans for her. She was adopted into an indoor home that had adopted her sister that Corinne trapped months before. Here she is being acclimated.
In the midst of this trapping, we met one of the contractors at the junkyard. He said we could do whatever we want. The junkyard was supposed to be cleared for a condo building, but it would be months before that happened.
Rusty was trapped next. His TNR clinic package and testing total was also $41, and he tested negative.
Corinne also had a specific home for him in mind as he was friendly and she had bonded to him outside and had lots of photos.
We trapped Diamond Jim next. Joann called me to help hoist him over the gap in the fence.
Diamond Jim’s TNR package was covered by this clinic so we just paid $20 for testing. Unfortunately he tested FIV+.
His paperwork also said he had a “superficial skin wound on his right rear leg (hock region).” The clinic gave him back to us and said he was acting “lazy” in the trap. DJ was definitely pretty lethargic, and also acting friendly, so we transferred him into the feral cat recovery lounge to test his temperament. After a few days we decided to bring him to Roscoe Village Animal Hospital to take a look.
It turns out that his leg wound was infected and DJ had a temperature. He was weighed in at 11.2 pounds, which made a lot more sense than the weight listed as 7.5 pounds at the clinic. He was pretty heavy when we hoisted him over the fence! We treated him for everything at Roscoe Village. His total vet bill was $280.
After a week in the recovery lounge, Corinne was also able to place DJ into an indoor home!
That same week Joann showed up to trap and the junkyard was being cleared out. This was just days after we started, so obviously we did not have months to trap as had been explained to us. Trucks barreled into the yard and took away all of the materials. The kittens definitely would have been killed in the chaos. The workers agreed to watch the traps that Joann and Corinne had left, but when they came back that same night, the traps were also gone. We have no idea who took them.
This is what the junkyard looks like now.
There were still a few cats that needed to be trapped here, but they dissipated now that the junkyard was cleared out.
We still don’t know what hapoened to the black cat in this photo,
or this siamese cat that was also a regular.
People stopped feeding. This all happened within the last few weeks. Total vetting costs from this colony was $569.78 and we lost $170 worth of equipment. Your donations make this possible! Thank you!
In the meantime, we found another feeding station a few blocks away where some of the missing cats, including the siamese, from this colony have been sighted. I call that colony the Kitchen Colony and I’ll be writing about that next.
Joann answered a plea on Everyblock.com about kittens born in a junkyard. The person who posted wanted to do the right thing, even though he is not partial to cats, and his wife is allergic.
Yup, there were kittens.
Five of them total, all different colors: tortie, black, orange, brown tabby, and torbie, not pictured.
These kittens were eight weeks old at the most and already weaned: the prime age for being socialized and having a chance to get off the street.
This junkyard also happened to be a few blocks away from the Joyce Division Colony, and so it’s now added to the list of our targeted TNR area. It’s a city lot filled with construction materials for the cats to hide and find shelter in, which also makes it pretty dangerous should anything be moved.
Joann started trapping the kittens right away, and of course started seeing adult cats hanging around also. This colony is behind a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant, which is ironically the go-to bait for trappers to use for hard-to-trap cats. So, I named this new location the KFC Colony.
The kittens were trapped quickly and crated at my place. They were pretty suspicious at first, and huddled together. They looked healthy, and came around quickly whenever we brought them food.
Introducing, from left to right, Tori, Tilly, Tigger, Tabitha and Tater.
PAWS Chicago agreed to admit these kittens into their adoption program as long as they were socialized, and put them on their vaccination schedule right away. The entire process should take about a month. We are so grateful for their help with vet care and professional guidance.
Besides care, the kittens needed daily socialization. We networked looking for a foster, and my rescue friend, Chicago TNR, found one for us, Robin T. George from Chicago TNR is absolutely selfless when it comes to rescuing cats, and I am so thankful for her friendship.
Joann has done most of the work of this rescue, including transport. She sent me the cutest text on the way to Robin’s house.
Robin and her family welcomed these kittens with open arms, and the kittens have flourished under her care. We could not have done this without her, and I am happy to have a new friend in the world of animal rescue.
The kittens are learning how to eat like house cats, each getting their own plate of food.
Playing. Obviously Tigger is the alpha male of the group.
Still all cuddling together.
But most importantly, they’re learning to love people. Robin’s daughter is reading a bedtime story here to Tilly and Tabitha, while Tigger investigates.
They don’t want her to leave.
All of the kittens had their first vet visit with PAWS, and are scheduled for admission soon. In the meantime, Tabitha started sneezing a bit, so another vet visit may be due soon. Robin is keeping a close eye on her and sent me this message, “She lets me manhandle her little kitten body, so I was able to listen to her lungs (I’m a PA) and her nose area is dry. She was purring too loud for me to hear anything! That’s assuming I could translate human medicine to cats, but my vet has the same stethoscope.” Seriously, how could you ask for a more perfect foster and scenario? She is amazing, and these kittens are on their way to their amazing new life outside of a junkyard.
We trapped more cats at the Kitchen Colony this week.
The colony is currently a mix of at least six or more ear tipped cats, and we pulled three more for adoption last month. Patrice, the colony caregiver, feeds regularly in a commercial parking lot, and keeps an eye out for non-eartipped cats. However, this is not so easy since this is a public area, and different cats are on different schedules. So far Patrice knew of three more cats to be trapped: a young black cat, a big scruffy cat that she will take to a full service vet first, and a siamese cat that came from the KFC Colony.
We set up traps at their feeding station, and locked them to the fence with bike locks to prevent them from being stolen. Beforehand, Patrice tried to only feed the cats that were already TNR’d so that they would not go in the traps. Patrice has been feeding there for years, but we took every precaution we could. It’s surrounded by bushes and dumpsters and for the most part, it seems like no one knows about it besides the restaurant in front. You can see the garage being built across the alley – that’s where the tabby cats from this colony live. It’s a bit spooky at night, but no one seems to bother the cats.
Despite the new construction, we are hoping the cats will then continue to use the feral cat shelters that Patrice set up by the restaurant and in neighbors’ yards. No one bothers these shelters either, they are concealed. The restaurant does not have a problem with it – one of the tarps is covering their motorcycle! This is perfect for a non-secure area. You can hardly see the cats even – can you see Sally hanging out by the shelters in back?
We trapped the young black cat the first night. I took him to PAWS Chicago for his TNR surgery the next day. The process was seamless – I was in and out for drop-off and pick-up within minutes, and there was parking right in front. The TNR package costs only $26 per cat, which includes spay/neuter surgery, ear tipping, parasite treatments for fleas and dewormer, an antibiotic, and wound cleaning if needed. Your donations helps us help them!
Meet Cranberry, who turned out to be a healthy male cat, and acted completely feral the entire time.
Usually there are also other cats that you may never see, and that’s what I was thinking about. Sure enough, the next night we trapped this long-haired brown tabby cat that none of us saw before.
Meet Alfie, who also went to PAWS Chicago for his TNR surgery.
He also turned out to be a healthy male cat, with some matting because of his long fur. There is nothing to be done about his matting now since he needs his fur for the cold winter. We can try to trap him in the spring to shave the mats off if still needed. I once had a clinic almost completely shave a cat bald I brought in for surgery in January. Needless to say that cat could not and did not go back outside – he was adopted instead – so it worked out in the long run, but it won’t work if a cat is completely feral. It just adds to their stress. In this case Alfie was pretty terrified, with open-mouthed breathing, so Patrice recovered and returned him a day later once he ate well and went to the bathroom. Confinement can be very stressful for some cats. You just have to keep a close eye on them.
We will continue trapping. We would love to get that siamese cat. There’s a good possibility s/he is friendly, and we may already have a home for her. And we would love to get the scruffy black cat because it appears he may need extra vetting. And of course, we would love to get any new cats we have not seen yet. Five kittens came from this colony within the last few months and we want to stop the breeding cycle here.
The Rockstar Colony lost their home two years ago. It was torn down and the feeders moved away. This is pretty common – the KFC Colony last month lost their home as we started TNR. You just have to find help for the cats from somewhere else, a lot of times close by.
A neighbor, Christina, down the street from the Rockstar Colony kept feeding the cats, and they naturally moved to her feeding station. I vetted and admitted a friendly cat from there named Babalu into a no-kill shelter for adoption. Some of the other cats disappeared. That is also pretty common with colony cats.
Pepe le Pew was adopted by Christina and became her permanent indoor/outdoor cat. Today I saw him chilling on her front steps.
Christina said he is doing well, and that she actually had to put him on a diet because he’s gained too much weight.
Pepe loves hanging out with his friend Kojak. I’m always floored when I see cats and dogs getting along, especially former alley cats.
Christina also said some of the feeders from the old house actually just moved down the street, and she thinks they may have some new cats they let outside. I’ll have to keep an eye on them and make sure they are spayed/neutered. Most likely we’ll set up traps in Christina’s yard since they visit her feeding station.
The KFC Colony lost their home. The junkyard they hung out in is cleared out, and no one feeds there anymore.
The good news is that eight adult cats from there were adopted into indoor homes, and the five kittens are still being fostered now by Joann.
The other good news is that Joann found a colony caregiver, Patrice, a few blocks away who has seen some of the remaining cats visiting her feeding station.
The feeding station is located behind a restaurant, off of a bank parking lot. So I called this the Kitchen Colony.
Patrice has been doing TNR at this site since 2004. She doesn’t keep track, but she thinks she has vetted almost 100 cats from here. A lot of the cats were friendly and she found homes for them, and found homes for their kittens. This is unfortunately one of those areas where a lot of people let their intact cats out.
I wasn’t surprised as that was also going on at the junkyard a few blocks away. The Joyce Division Colony is also a few blocks away, and most of those cats were friendly when I did TNR there starting in 2010. Patrice also knew about that colony. She said she had been begging Joyce for years for her to do TNR on the cats. She said Joyce would feed all of them and play with their kittens outside. Again, unfortunately, this is a pretty common scenario. Then she said that one day Joyce told her a woman came by and fixed all of the cats. Obviously that was me, and we couldn’t believe we were finally meeting each other years later. I had always asked Joyce if she ever knew anyone that feeds but she wouldn’t tell me about anyone else. It was so great to connect the dots and finally meet.
The restaurant and bank gave Patrice permission to feed and care for the cats here for years now. The restaurant especially likes the cats because they help keep the rats away. It’s a perfect scenario as they feed right behind their dumpsters, which normally would attract rats because of the food debris.
Patrice also set up shelters at this site under tarps.
It was a great time to meet Patrice because she was worried about winterizing her shelters even more. I gave her a few new shelters to switch out with the old ones.
Joann and I immediately agreed to help her because the site is pretty overwhelming. Patrice already had three kittens from this site in foster care. There’s a mix of all kinds of cats here, and it’s pretty confusing. Some are already TNR’d. Some are not. Some are friendly. We spotted a pregnant female. There’s a sick black cat that we would like to trap for vetting. There are more kittens.
We set up traps several nights this month at the feeding station, and in people’s yards.
We even tried a drop trap one of those nights. Joann was there so often that the bank security guard told her he was going to have her car towed!
So far we have trapped three female cats and two kittens.
Ruby was first. She is the colony ambassador. She is friendly and all of the colony cats pick on her. She kept rubbing up against our legs.
Her ear was already tipped, but because she was not chipped, we have no idea who TNR’d her. Joann fully vetted her at Roscoe Village Animal Hospital for $390 and has been fostering her ever since in her home. She is FIV-/FeLV-. If you are interested in fostering or adopting Ruby, please contact me at [email protected]
Sally was also trapped the same day. She is the mother of the kittens that Patrice already had in foster care. Her TNR and FIV/FeLV test at PAWS Chicago was $41. She tested negative!
Joann tried fostering her indoors as well, because she follows Patrice all around outside.
Sally was miserable at her house, and acted feral. We returned her back outside. It is clear that she is just bonded to Patrice. It’s funny because Sally always spies on us from a safe distance.
But once Patrice is alone, she just follows her. Patrice texted us last night and said she couldn’t take it anymore and crated Sally in her garage. She is trying to see if she can acclimate her indoors.
We also trapped Birdie and her two kittens. Birdie went in one trap, and the two kittens went together in the other trap. Birdie is feral and was TNReturned. Her TNR package and FIV/FeLV test at PAWS was also $41 total and she also tested negative.
Patrice fully vetted and boarded Birdie’s two kittens for $420 at her vet, Family Pet Animal Hospital. Meet Clara and Darren.
My friend Elissa from Rockstar Pets agreed to socialize and foster them. It’s already working.
If you are interested in fostering or adopting Clara or Darren, you can also please contact me at [email protected] They are FIV-/FeLV- and still need additional vetting.
In the meantime we will continue to TNR this colony!
Is that really a thing for socializing feral cats?
Well, no, but it should be. This past year I’ve met some really remarkable people who are willing to try to do everything possible to help us help bring more cats off the streets.
Pinky and The Brain are perfect examples. We trapped them popping in and out of outdoor drain pipes at the Pallet Colony in January.
It was pretty funny. We were rounding up the traps, thinking we were going to pack it up for the night, and Joann found her. Isn’t her marble coat gorgeous?
They are older kittens, bonded, most likely from the same litter, and needed some socialization in order to be admitted into a no-kill shelter.
They were shy, but still did well around her. They purred and wanted to be pet. Problems only came about when Joann would try to get them into pet carriers for transport and vetting. At one point, The Brain got out and went straight for the rafters in her basement. Robin F. agreed to further socialize them. We met Robin last fall when she took the KFC Colony kittens to be fostered. She and her family are amazing at showing cats and kittens the good life indoors. So, thus explains the title of this post, the Fischer School of Feral Feline Socialization took on the case of Pinky and The Brain.
Considering at this point they came from outdoor drain pipes, to the clinic, to Joann’s basement, to vet appointments, and then now to Robin’s house, all within long car rides in traps and carriers, Pinky and The Brain were doing remarkably well. They were first crated together in Robin’s foster room, where they slowly learned to play. And then relax.
Eventually she moved them into their own small room, her bathroom, where they could roam more and get comfortable.
And then they were totally comfortable and acted like typical indoor cats. You all know about cats in sinks, right?
Joann has them back at her place now, and said they are rolling over for tummy rubs. Next week they have an appointment for possible admission into PAWS Chicago. Fingers crossed they will be admitted!
Six kittens finding shelter in drain pipes and heating vents at the retirement home were trapped and rescued.
The original call Erica from PAWS Chicago received about this colony was asking for help with a mama cat and four kittens. We are calling this the Pallet Colony now, and so far we’ve trapped 16 cats and kittens. ALL of the kittens we know about are now off the street.
Last week Joann trapped four kittens, about 10 weeks old, and all are now admitted into PAWS’ no-kill shelter.
They developed some URI issues, and were placed into foster homes. PAWS posted the cutest photos of them in their iso cages, and with their new names, Hunky Dory, Stardust, and Kaira. Thank you, PAWS and Erica!
Fitzgerald was the fourth kitten trapped. Joann was able to socialize him fairly fast at her home first, within a week, because of his age and his love for wet food. He was just admitted into PAWS and renamed Bowie.
We trapped two other older kittens, about six months old, Pinky and The Brain. Pinky was the one that kept popping her head out of the drain pipes to check out the traps.
They are currently too shy to be admitted into PAWS, but they are enjoying their indoor life. They are crated together and are pretty bonded. They are now in a foster home with Robin, who is making sure they are being socialized properly. Thank you, Robin! Robin did a fantastic job fostering the KFC Colony kittens for us a few months ago.
Please let me know if you are interested in meeting these girls to adopt or to foster. Thanks!