Mooha Conquers All Cat Houses

Thank you to Lisa M for her generous donation of an outdoor cat house and supplies!


Lisa shipped a Feral Cat Barn from Feline Furniture, along with half a dozen purr pads, a bottle of calming Feral Flower Formula, and the cutest cat card. IMG_1859

Everyone’s generosity and donations help us keep helping more cats. There’s no way we could keep doing this without your support. All of these items will be distributed to TNR’d cat colonies here in Chicago.


My cat Mooha helped unpack. She was especially obsessed with the shipping box, of course, but she also wanted to climb the cat house and remind us who’s top cat here.  IMG_1822

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Happy National Feral Cat Day 2015!

Every year we celebrate National Feral Cat Day by cleaning out the outdoor cat houses.


As always, Mooha inspects everything. IMG_3494

The garage turns into a Feral Cat Shelter and Feeding Station Factory assembly line. IMG_3499 If you need outdoor cat shelters or feeding stations, hit me up at [email protected]

First come, first serve. Hope everyone had a great day!

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Shoveling Out the Cat Paths

Nineteen inches is a lot of snow all at once. Jim did most of the heavy shoveling since I was out of town for work and missed the storm.


Mooha helped me with the little bit of shoveling that was left yesterday afternoon. I made sure to clear out the cat paths so that my colony had access from the alley to their outdoor heated cat condos and feeding stations in my yard. IMG_0150

B.B. waited patiently for me to finish. Mooha wanted to check her out as well. IMG_0157

B.B. bounced around from house to house to stay out of our way, and settled in the Feralvilla Feeding Station at one point. IMG_0162

Hope everyone is safe and warm out there!

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Investing in Your Own Tru Catch Traps

If you can swing it, I highly recommend buying your own humane Tru Catch traps for TNR projects. You can try to fundraise specifically for them, and they are also on sale at certain times of the year.


It’s almost impossible to rent out a bunch of traps quickly in Chicago, and when you’re starting to trap a new colony, it’s a lot easier to trap a colony all at once, instead of one or two cats at a time. On average, a colony here in Humboldt Park is around 8-12 cats before TNR, in most alleys with a feeder. Sometimes a colony can be only 2-3 cats, or up to two dozen. One or two may be pregnant. A few cats may be sick. And there may be a few kittens that need to be socialized ASAP. The weather could change and make it impossible to trap. Also, a feeder sometimes changes their mind if the trapping process is taking too long. Time is of the essence with TNR. It helps to be prepared.


I learned all of that once I started TNR’ing for other people. It became apparent very quickly that it was easier for me to show up with enough traps for all of the cats quickly after I first talked to the feeder. That way they didn’t even have time to hesitate. I bought my first round of traps. IMG01418-20121127-1840

And expanded from there, including the Fat Cat Trap that Mooha was happy to demonstrate.

And now I have a decent supply of traps ready for use anytime in the garage.


In the meantime I also always stockpile carriers, newspapers, various bait, feeding lids/bowls, trap covers, blankets and towels in the garage for these projects.


Everything came in handy last night – I helped TNR a colony with two other rescue friends, Heather and Melissa. The colony is a mix of 17 cats and kittens. Armando, the feeder, also came out to help, and the process went quickly. We trapped nine cats within an hour. The rest of the colony is made up of seven kittens just a few weeks old that require additional vet care. We just learned about this colony a few days ago, and decided to go for it immediately because we were told some of the cats were pregnant. Being prepared with our own supplies paid off.

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Hyde Park Cats 2015 Calendar Now Available

Hyde Park Cats is a volunteer-run organization that helps cats and kittens in need.


For the past few years they’ve produced a calendar to raise funds for the cats. The 2015 calendar is now available for a suggested price of $10 online or at these locations. hyde park cover I met Hyde Park Cats this year through our Feral Flowers Project at Forget Me Knodt. They bought flowers and attended our Feral Flowers Design Class. Then they asked if they could include a spread of Cats In My Yard for the calendar. Of course I said yes, and am so excited to see our James’ Gang Colony cats Funny Face, Bouncy Bear, Dash, and, of course, Mooha, on their July page.  cats in my yard page

To learn more about Hyde Park Cats, please visit their site, their Facebook page, or email them at [email protected]


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Boo! Happy Halloween!

Mooha wanted to check out what the colony cats were doing, but instead they got scared and scattered.


Who’s afraid of a little black cat? IMG_8774

They scattered straight into their chiminea cat house. IMG_8788

Mooha as always will stay safe indoors, and I put out extra food so the colony cats will hopefully stay safe in my yard during tonight’s festivities.

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Winterizing Your Outdoor Cat Shelters

Once again, it’s time to clean the outdoor cat houses I’ve placed throughout the neighborhood for the colony cats.


I compost the old straw, take out the pink insulation sheets, and then hose down the bins. IMG_8638

Then I replace the insulation sheets as needed using the old ones as a template, and fill the bin with fresh straw.


This time Mooha inspected each bin carefully. IMG_8646

Even Funny Face’s curiosity got the best of him. IMG_8685


How can I skip the stories of individual cats and just find how to find info on the blog: healthcare suggestions, housing, waste collection and disposal, etc. I’m sure you and readers have ideas to share. I can’t bear to read another teary story about old cats or kittens or…I have enough of those of my own. I suspect others who maintain small colonies have as well. Don’t mean to be petty but I really need ideas that d purport our efforts more than warm fuzziness m I’m al tee easy committed.
By the way, those open cell political signs candidates leave all over the place make pretty good insulation. I liked the article on use of tubs. I have used all sorts of containers but never thought to cut holes in tubs.

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Feral Flowers Delivery for Tonight’s TNR Fundraiser

The blooms for tonight’s Feral Flowers Design Class and TNR Talk are harvested and ready for delivery. I am so excited to meet everyone tonight at this sold out class at Forget Me Knodt, and celebrate National Feral Cat Day.


Despite the rain, Bouncy Bear kept coming out to see what was going on and what I was doing. Either that or she was just hungry again. IMG_8433

Mooha was having none of it. IMG_8450

Here’s the garden before I started harvesting the flowers. IMG_8447

Everyone will make bouquets using amaranth, catmint, cosmos, goldenrod, zinnias, and other flowers from Janessa’s flower shop. IMG_8457

I really thought this would be the final flower harvest, but there are still a lot of blooms left. This season is very bittersweet for me – I wish the garden could go on. IMG_8458

The catty wagon is filled with flowers again. Thanks to all of you for your support, tonight should be a lot of fun! IMG_8463

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Hot Guys With Cats

Just because I’m out of town doesn’t mean I stop thinking about the cats. Jim totally understands this, and accepts it for the most part. At this point he gives me updates without me even asking first. These past few weeks have been full of updates from him:


“The Feral Villa has arrived.” Which means he will assemble it. He even suggested we make a video of that. Stay tuned.

“The outdoor heating pad is here.”


Dice ate dinner.”

“Dice didn’t eat dinner but all of the food is gone.” Dice is clearly sick so Jim knows I’m especially worried about him.


Popcorn was eating the food in front. This time he jumped over the fence when he saw me.” Popcorn got his name because he slammed right into the fence once when he saw us, and then wouldn’t stop trying to escape from the trap when I TNR’d him. Popcorn was not injured in both cases, and it sounds like TNR made him smarter.


It’s nice to have someone hold down the feline fort while I’m gone. He also created this web site for me, and does the heavy lifting projects, like cleaning and organizing the feral cat supplies in our garage, and building outdoor cat houses. There’s nothing hotter than a guy with a soft spot for the animals. Our indoor pet cat, Mooha, has learned how to exploit that soft spot to her fullest advantage.


Here they are bonding over their mutual love of cheese. IMG_4165







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Recommending a Full Service Cat Sitter: Mama Bear Pet Care

Going out of town when you have multiple cats can be stressful. Not only are there pet cats to care for, sometimes with medical needs, but there can also be foster cats, sick feral cats resting in recovery lounge crates, and outdoor cat colonies.


Greer from Mama Bear Pet Care handles all of the above scenarios and then some. She cat sat for me a few times this year now. She has been a cat sitter for 20+ years, worked as a vet tech, and volunteers as a wildlife rehabilitator for Flint Creek Wildlife Center. She doesn’t just cat sit – she also cares for dogs and other pets.


In fact, she is currently pet sitting for a woman fostering a dog and her seven puppies for PAWS Chicago. Here’s Georgia and her one week old puppies. 10580719_507026606100650_7876362716078040356_o

Greer and I met last year when she adopted two former feral colony cats from me. Both of these cats ended up separately in animal control facilities. Their microchips were traced to me and saved their lives.


Louie is now the poster cat for her business. Louie is FIV+. So is his sister here that Greer adopted from Lulu’s Locker Rescue. 1890457_399810490155596_2111904987_o


Emrys is a bit more shy, but he is now also a total house cat. Emrys does not have FIV, and he mingles freely and safely with his cat friends. More and more progressive shelters are adopting this approach. 10365777_10152675473734610_1227857297545773598_n

See? Here they are together. They came from two different colonies with two different feeders a few blocks apart. I like to think they knew each other on the street and are reunited in Greer’s home. IMG_8319

When we were out of town last May I had Zombie Cat isolated and recovering in a feral cat recovery lounge. Here’s what the lounge looks like from the outside. It’s a crate with a Tru-Catch trap attached to it.


You could not touch her, but Zombie Cat was safely inside here and resting with a bed, litter box, food and water.


Zombie Cat is fully feral, and at the time, was in my house very sick with a URI, recovering from dental surgery, and required daily antibiotics. Greer took care of her and offered holistic suggestions from her own experience.


The cats in my yard also got her full attention. Greer kept their feeding stations clean and full of fresh food. While we were gone she gave me updates on their eating habits and who showed up for dinner.


She sent me photos. In fact, all of the photos in this post are taken by her.


Her photos made me smile because it obviously looked like business as usual and the cats barely noticed we were gone.


Bouncy Bear and Dice were still dining together. IMG_8335

Dash checked her out from the Jim Villa. IMG_8336 And Funny Face stayed back on the Feral Villa IMG_8333

Of course Greer didn’t forget my pet cats, Mooha and Mini. Mini is semi-feral and mostly bonded to me, but Mooha loved Greer.


I can’t say enough about Mama Bear Pet Care. Greer cares deeply about animals, and has devoted her life to caring for them in her home, in her work, and as a volunteer.







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