Another Puffy, the Long-Haired Colony Cat, Sighting

Puffy McWondertail, aka Snuffleupagus, aka The Street Sweeper, came for breakfast today. Jim took these photos of him, because he’s a rare sight. First, he always sits on the round concrete table in the catio. IMG_4818_2

And then he gets closer. IMG_4813

One day I am determined to get a nice shot of him because he is so handsomely puffy, but he will not stay in the yard with us. I still wonder if he belongs to someone because he does not sleep in the outdoor cat houses, and disappears for days at a time. I also haven’t TNR’d many long-haired cats, which is a good thing. Their ample fur is great for warmth, but many of them become matted and need to be shaved. Puffy actually looks pretty well-groomed, which is also why I wonder if someone is out there brushing him.


But he’s addicted to wet food, especially as it gets colder. When he hears us open the back door, he appears magically at all hours of the day and night now. So he must be near by.

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Puffy is Getting Puffier and Puffier

Puffy McWonderTail started visiting my yard this past March, at the end of a mild but long winter. I TNR’d him, and he’s been coming back ever since, but as a truly feral cat. He shows up at dusk or night only, and leaves as soon as any human comes into the yard.

Yesterday I caught him hanging out in my yard during a rare late afternoon. He is glorious! He is bigger than ever, and his fur is super puffy and groomed now. I wish I could get a close-up photo for you. He either ignores me, or runs away from me.  He is twice the cat he once was, all thanks to trap-neuter-return. Puffy McWonderTail after TNR

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The TNR of Puffy the Feral Cat

Remember Puffy McWonder Tail? Well, I trapped him Saturday night, and took him to PAWS Chicago for his TNR Treatment on Sunday.  Puffy McWonder Tail I named him well, because he was pissy, hissy, huffy and puffy the entire time. He would not stop lunging or growling every time he heard me or saw me peek under the cover of his trap. PAWS’ Lurie Spay/Neuter Clinic was filled with rambunctious dogs, and Puffy was not fazed. You could hear him growling the entire time.

Here he is after being recovered from his neuter surgery, and he clearly wants out. Puffy after being TNR'd

He even managed to get an extra lunge at me when I released him back into my yard.

I love it when the cats act like that because there’s no question to return them back outside. That being said, I have seen aggressive male cats turn into lap cats once the testosterone has completely left their body after the surgery. But in the meantime, Puffy clearly wants to be left alone outside.

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Saving Simon, the Sick Kitten, Off the Street

Say that five times fast! A woman named Margie called from another location in Avondale about a very sick kitten she found in front of her house, by himself right in her front yard.


It was supposed to start raining with tornado warnings really soon so Joann went straight to her house to pick up the kitten and took him to her vet at Animal Medical Center. He enjoyed a meal while they examined him. He was really hungry. IMG_7782

Simon is about seven weeks old. He is very sick and was treated for URI, ear mites, fleas and possible other parasites. He’s totally snotty and sneezy. Despite all of that and his crazy day, he is friendly love bug and wants to be held.


Our friend Elissa, owner of Rockstar Pets, is now fostering him. Thank you, Elissa, you are a true rock star! She’s fostered for us before.


She already sent us an update. He’s busy gorging himself on wet food and kitten milk. IMG_7787

Within just a few hours today, we were able to change Simon’s life around. Joann got the call at 9am, he was vetted by noon, and in Elissa’s home a few hours later. His outcome could have been very different had he stayed alone outside, too sick and too friendly to be safe. Now he’s cared for and dry in a foster home and will hopefully be ready for adoption in a few weeks.


Simon’s vet costs so far are $278.13  If you’d like to make a donation towards his care and all of the other cats we’ve vetted this month, you can do so through the PayPal donation button at the top of this page, or through PayPal to [email protected] IMG_7757

Our total vet bills this month for Big Daddy, Puffy, Reese, Ziggy, and now Simon, is $1,984.13, and the month isn’t over yet.


Along with Simon, we have six other creamsicle kittens – Bert, Ernie, Bosco, Rascal, Oscar and Phoenix – and Reese, an FIV+ adult male cat, in foster homes.


If you are interested in fostering Simon or fostering other friendly cats and kittens from our TNR projects, please call 773-609-2287 or email [email protected]


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RIP Big Daddy, the Colony Cat Named in Honor of the Avondale TNR Project

When I first started talking to Kim a few months ago about all of the cats she was seeing in her colony and neighborhood of Avondale, I was determined to help her mostly because of a cat named Big Daddy. Her Big Daddy Colony is named after him to honor his memory.


Big Daddy was a colony cat that kept coming back to her yard the past two years, looking worse each time. He evaded all of her trapping efforts, and in the meantime she TNR’d 22 other cats.


Big Daddy would only come to visit Kim’s yard to feed sporadically. He was clearly sick, but still surviving.  Big_Daddy-2

Some of the following photos may be upsetting to see.


Joann helped Kim trap at the end of May and they trapped a lot of cats. In the meantime, they also trapped Big Daddy. We think that at this point he was so sick that he went into the trap because he knew he needed to. Big Daddy was dying.  Big_Daddy_atVets_1_May2016

Despite all of that they could not get near him. He was only safe to handle once he was in the trap. Kim took him straight to Roscoe Village Animal Hospital. They have been amazing. They are close to us, open seven days a week, will treat cats in traps, and we can normally get an appointment the day we call. This is all invaluable to us colony cat caregivers providing care for feral cats in traps. The low-cost clinics can only do so much. These colony cats need full service vet care.


But this vet care is expensive. Big Daddy’s total vet bill was $341. If you’d like to make a donation towards his care, you can do so through the Paypal donation link at the top of this page, or directly through with [email protected] Big_Daddy_Vet_Bill-3


Big Daddy had to be sedated for an exam because even though he was weak, he was still feral. Big_Daddy_atVets_3_May2016-3 Big_Daddy_atVets_2_May2016

He was first tested for FIV/FeLV and tested negative. We were all very surprised. They then thought he may have been coming down with pneumonia. He was underweight and very sick. A few days before he allowed himself to be trapped, Kim found him in her garden defecating on himself, but not allowing her to come near him. His body seemed to be shutting down. Any treatment would involve more tests, and most likely extensive recovery in a crate indoors. That would be very stressful for him, and the outcome was completely unknown and could not be guaranteed. They decided to humanely euthanize him instead.


RIP, Big Daddy. You were loved. We are so thankful to Kim for caring for you while you visited her garden, and letting her help you in the end. You deserved a dignified death at the end of your hard life.





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Another Matted Cat Gets a Haircut Just In Time, and A Lot More

Ziggy Stardust is a long-haired orange cat that’s been hanging out in Kim’s yard for months now.  IMG_0238


Ziggy was not easy to trap, but with trap conditioning, like I did with Puffy, Kim was able to trap her. IMG_0580 2 Yes, I said her. Most orange cats are male, but Ziggy is a female.


The vet also determined that she was already spayed, and about eight years old. Unfortunately she is not microchipped. Because she has been hanging out for so long now in Kim’s yard, we think she is either dumped or lost long ago. She does not let anyone get too close to her.


Once the vet shaved her, they discovered that her mats really were a problem. All of that red you see on her skin here is a rash, now treated with antibiotics. IMG_0595

Boots, another one of Kim’s colony cats, was very concerned about her. They’ve been hanging out a lot together. IMG_0593

Ziggy is also underweight. Since Kim feeds the cats good food daily, they decided to do bloodwork to see what’s going on. She has hyperthyroid and some high liver enzymes. Kim is now putting medication in her food twice daily. She is supposed to be in that medication now for the rest of her life. The vet wants to see her every time the medication needs a refill. Since Ziggy is still acting feral and is so hard to trap, we’re currently trying to figure out how that going to work.


Ziggy also got updated vaccines, flea treatment, and tested negative for FIV/FeLV. Her total vet bill is $526 so far. If you’d like to donate towards her care, you can do so at the donate link at the top of this page, or through, [email protected] Ziggy Invoice

We’re hoping Ziggy continues to improve and gain some weight. Maybe she will learn to trust humans again once she feels better.

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Lion Cuts for Matted, Long-Haired Colony Cats

Puffy is a very fluffy, long-haired cat that comes to my yard irregularly to feed ever since I TNR’d him in 2013.


This past year he’s been looking fluffier than ever. His long-haired coat is magnificent, but starting to look downright disheveled. He’s not easy to capture on camera – he’s a true feral who only visits at dusk or later. 13055269_810741855696864_4387909218079003248_o

His fur looked out of control, but I had to wait to trap until summer when it is hot enough for him to be shaved. So I zip-tied traps open at the cats’ feeding stations and starting feeding from them to condition the cats to the traps.


It worked like a charm. Last week when I came back from vacation Chicago was nice and hot. I set the traps and quickly trapped Bouncy Bear and Dash by accident. I released them immediately. Eventually Puffy went in very early morning. He looked totally suspicious. IMG_7334

And upon closer examination, I saw I made the right call. His fur was out of control, with huge matts. He looked pretty good, but matts can be very painful – they can be close to and pull on the skin. IMG_7339 IMG_7340

I took Puffy to Roscoe Village Animal Hospital, where I take all the feral cats in traps needing additional medical care.


Obviously, Puffy needed to be sedated for shaving. Since he was there, I asked them to update his vaccinations, and give him an exam. He was treated for fleas, but his ears looked clean. His teeth are surprisingly in good shape, so no dental was needed. And they gave him a full body shave.


Puffy, the Lion Cut King. IMG_7377

Doesn’t he look pleased? IMG_7368

He’s lucky I didn’t get him a dragon cut!


His vet bill was $393. If you’d like to make a donation to help cover his care, you can do so at the PayPal link at the top of this page.

I waited until the end of the day to return him back to my yard. Inexplicably, Funny Face started chasing after him when I returned him. Puffy doesn’t really hang out with the other colony cats here – he’s more solitary.

I finally saw him again here last night for dinner, and was really relieved to see that he was doing well, even if the other cats may be laughing at him. You can see the poof at the end of his lion tail. This time he appeared to be hanging out with Dash. Maybe they’re all making sure he is ok? IMG_7502




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How Does Your Feral Garden Grow?

Funny Face is napping the day away in my yard. A few weeks ago I planted seeds for a butterfly and hummingbird garden on the left, and a wildflower garden on the right. Both are a seed mixture of annual and perennial flowers. The rain brought a carpet of green that will hopefully grow into flowers soon.

I’m glad to see Funny Face relaxing again. He was trapped in my yard by accident the other night, and of course he was pretty upset by the whole experience. I have traps set for Puffy, another feral cat who needs some grooming.

I’m also experimenting with this WordPress app so that I can blog from anywhere, anytime. It seems pretty easy and user friendly so far. 

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The Latest in Feral Fashion: Thick Winter Coats

I thought it was really cold out today, but the James’ Gang Colony stayed true to feral form and were not cooped up in their three heated cat houses. Instead they lounged in the sun all day and showed off their thick winter coats. They only moved when I came out with more wet food for them multiple times. The food froze if they didn’t eat it immediately, so I brought a little bit out all day. They have me trained well.

Dash and Funny Face lounge on the catio even in the winter.

Dash and Funny Face lounge on the catio even in the winter.

Dice even decided to nap on the roof of the Feral Villa, instead of staying in it.

I'm free, I'm feral, I'm not going to stay cooped up all day.

I’m free, I’m feral, I’m not going to stay cooped up all day.

Ear tips and puffy winter coats are always in style for colony cats.

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A New Cat In My Yard To Be TNR’d

I have a new cat visiting my yard! It’s been awhile. The current line-up of my James’ Gang Colony was established when I TNR’d Honey Bouncy Bear in May 2011. So far the cats have been pretty accepting of this new visitor. He’s been coming the last few weeks, starting late night, and moving on to dusk. He leaves as soon as he sees me but I managed to get a dark photo of him through my window.

Introducing Puffy McWonder Tail.

Introducing Puffy McWonder Tail.

He definitely does not have an ear tip yet, and looks a little disheveled. Jim named him Puffy McWonder Tail. Jim is in charge of naming the cats in my yard, since the James’ Gang Colony is named after him.

Puffy prefers wet food so we’ve been leaving it out diligently to keep him coming back for more. I hope I can trap him with canned sardines in oil in a humane Tru-catch trap next week when I’m off work.

Yesterday he actually came during the day and was waiting for wet food with the other cats. He will not stay in the yard with me but I got a shot of him on the cat path. Can you see him watching me from back there? Puffy on the cat path

And here he is in the rest of my winter garden. It looks so bare! I can’t wait to start planting! Puffy in the garden

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