Introducing the Catalonia Colony: Three Kittens Already Off the Street

We started TNR at a new colony last week, called the Catalonia Colony. Nine cats total were trapped.


Two sisters reached out to PAWS Chicago for help with TNR at their single-family home in Hermosa. Bonnie had a growing colony in her backyard and was overwhelmed. Oleksandra, Kim and Joann volunteered to help and tag teamed to trap the cats. They did a site visit, and talked to Bonnie about the colony’s feeding schedule. They immediately saw kittens, especially this little Siamese one, who kept popping up everywhere.  14670770_10210396848814525_2298766893132084522_n img_8925 They trapped her first, along with five adult cats. Isn’t she stunning? img_8965

The next day they trapped her two siblings, and another adult cat. We put the kittens together in the same trap to take them to PAWS along with the rest of the adults for TNR. img_8953

The kittens were already almost socialized. They were not quite big enough to be spayed/neutered, but Erica at PAWS found a foster for them to wait until they could be admitted into their adoption program. They kept them cozy in a crate until the foster was ready. img_9023 img_9029

We’re very thankful for PAWS for taking these kittens!

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Helping Sherbert, a Senior Colony Cat, Get Full Medical Care

Sherbert showed up sick, dirty and disheveled while we were trapping for the Avondale TNR Project. His fur and ears were filthy, and his breathing was congested. IMG_0900 He’s the 55th cat we trapped for vetting in Avondale so far, but he is the first one that was already TNR’d by someone else, as you can see by his ear tip. IMG_8477

It was clear something was wrong. But he was trap savvy, and one night Joann used a drop trap.


It worked, but he acted so strangely in it. He would not move, and just laid down in it, almost as if he was playing dead. We didn’t know if he was just exhausted or scared, or both. IMG_8470

Eventually he went into the regular Tru-catch Trap. IMG_8368

I took him the next day to Roscoe Village Animal Hospital. First they determined he was FIV-/FeLV-. Then they went ahead and updated him on his vaccinations and treated him with antibiotics for a URI, cleaned his ears, and gave him Revolution for fleas. They also did bloodwork to determine his overall health status.  IMG_8487

In the meantime they traced his microchip to Tree House, who has been attempting to reach the person who TNR’d him in the first place four years ago.


The vet said it was clear that Sherbert is pretty much a senior cat, and his teeth were really, really bad, most likely causing stomatitis. This explained why he might have been so dirty – this condition is painful and cats stop grooming themselves as a result. It is also painful for them to eat. They recommended he get a full dental, but first he needed to recover from his infection.


Kim put Sherbert up in my feral cat recovery lounge in her house so that he could eat and sleep as much as he needed with a little more room for comfort. This lounge is a dog crate and trap attached together so that feral cats can be moved easily from one part to the other. I have used it for several feral cats during their recovery. IMG_8424

He’s doing well in the crate, but he hasn’t shown any signs of friendliness so far. I know this photo is dark, but you can see they really cleaned up his fur.


I am planning on taking him back to a vet for a full dental next week so that he can hopefully eat without pain in the future. We are getting quotes from a few vets because the highest one so far was for $1500.


There are a lot of feeders in this area and people who let their unfixed pet cats outside, which is really why there are so many colony cats. Without comprehensive TNR, the feline population has exploded here. We are doing what we can to help Kim get the population under control. So far we’ve reduced the population in three alleys by almost half in three months because of TNAdoption for friendly cats and kittens along with TNReturn for feral cats.


In the meantime, I’m a firm believer that feral cats deserve full medical care as well. If something is treatable, it will get done, just like with a pet cat. I will post the total cost after the procedure next week. If you would like to donate for his $489 vet bill so far and his upcoming dental, you can do so through PayPal at [email protected] or at the donate link at the top of this page. Thank you!

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Introducing the Polska Kittens Colony from Avondale

Back in June we met the owner of a Polish restaurant in Avondale feeding three feral female cats. They would wait outside the back door in the alley for their meals.


We are calling this the Polska Kittens Colony. It is the next alley over from the Big Daddy Colony.


She fed them raw ground beef from her restaurant. We have donated beef wet cat food to her since. IMG_7838 She said they all just had kittens.


We soon saw what she was talking about.

This mama cat was moving the kittens from the garage to a basement accessible from the outdoors, and back again.


We talked to the owner of the basement as well, who owns a grocery store.  The owners of the garage were not available. Other neighbors told us that these feline families were being moved all around by the mama cats and disrupted by kids and drunk men in the alley, that they didn’t have a clear idea of how many kittens there were, or who had them. This alley is BUSY with lots of traffic and people.


We decided to let everyone be, and that Barbara, the owner of the restaurant, should call us when the kittens come out to be fed after they are weaned.


So about six weeks later in July, Barbara called on a Friday and said she saw kittens running around outside of the garage. IMG_7895

Joann went there immediately and first trapped the last female cat that we knew about from the Big Daddy Colony. Esther was pregnant and TNReturned. We couldn’t believe she was already pregnant – we had trapped her kittens in June, which were all admitted to PAWS Chicago. Here’s Esther, the mama of some of the orange creamsicle kittens. She is the 28th cat trapped from that alley this summer.


Then Joann and Kim trapped all three lactating mama female cats and six little kittens at the Polish restaurant.


Here’s Abby the Tabby.


Sterling. IMG_0798

And Tabitha, the star of the video moving all of the kittens around. IMG_0808

These mama cats were kept for recovery for a few extra days in Kim’s laundry room. IMG_0816

They also trapped six kittens: Harley, Jordan, Payton, Penelope, Poe, and Shakespeare. We guessed they were from 2-3 litters because of their sizes. It’s really hard to tell when you are not the one who is feeding the cats yourself, or have a set location for the colony. The kittens were trapped, three to a trap. IMG_0772 IMG_0773

Kim and Elissa started socializing and fostering them. IMG_0794 IMG_0778

One of the black kittens had this gummy gunk all over his side. It has since been combed out. Who knows what the heck they were getting into in that garage! IMG_0788

Some of the kittens were quickly ready for their close-ups! IMG_0007 IMG_0042 IMG_0013 IMG_0010

Then on Monday, Joann got a call from Barbara saying she found another kitten. Joann went to trap him immediately. Kitten #7, Lucky Johnny, was absolutely frantic, meowing his head off after being alone all weekend.


Long-time supporter, Kati E., donated and sponsored his care. Thank you, Kati!


All seven of these kittens are being fostered currently by Kim, and went to PAWS Chicago for their first round of vaccinations on Monday. They will be admitted for adoption in August. They are currently being fostered by Elissa. IMG_7990 IMG_7981 Then, on Wednesday of this week, Joann got ANOTHER call from Barbara about two more kittens there. Joann again went to trap immediately, and got THREE more kittens.


Meet Rutabega, Radish and Turnip. All three of them were at PAWS today for their first vet appointment, and will also be admitted to PAWS Chicago’s adoption program in August. IMG_0249

We think we now have all of the kittens, but Barbara will call us if she sees more or other intact cats. We have now trapped 38 cats and kittens from the Avondale TNR Project in tow alleys. Almost half of these cats will be admitted to PAWS Chicago and adopted into indoor homes, rather than living on the streets. If you’d like to help us traps cats, foster or make a donation, please call us at 773-609-2287. Thank you!











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Simon, the Sick Kitten Found Alone on the Street, is Now Almost Ready for Adoption!

Simon is ready for his second appointment at PAWS Chicago tomorrow. We are hoping he will be admitted into their adoption program.


Our friend Elissa, owner of Rockstar Pets, has fostered him for the past few weeks. He’s been playing and eating non-stop the entire time. IMG_7789 13528996_10207943448998578_3578980294163559976_n 13508946_10207943448838574_6288302571107967531_n

He needed vetting for URI, but appears to be completely healthy now. His vetting cost us $278.13 so far. If you’d like to make a donation towards his vet bill, you can do so at the donation button at the top of this page, or through PayPal at [email protected]


Simon is one of the many black kittens we currently have in foster care, although he came by himself. Joann rescued him when a woman from Avondale called saying she found Simon in her front yard. He was found alone and sick, and is way too friendly to stay outside. This woman and her family have a colony at their landscaping business that her husband refuses to let us TNR still for a variety of reasons. This is a pretty common obstacle when you are doing TNR. We’re hoping eventually they will change their mind. Joann talked to them extensively and passed on the information to another no-kill shelter. In the meantime, Simon has been safe with us. We are so happy to have been able to save him from the street!

you people are awesome! I have been trying to help a cat colony of 12 cats for 3 months. 3 miles from my house. it is right off a busy interstate and a bar room. neighbors don’t like them . 3 kittens have died in the past 3 months. no help here , no resources. very stressed and sickly.

my first 6 month experience of shitty swampy Florida

Vanessa says:

Thanks for the kind words, and for all that you do for the cats, Patrick! It’s hard to do animal rescue alone. Have you tried reaching out to Alley Cat Allies to see if they have a Feral Friends list in your area? They are a national organization that advocates on behalf of feral cats and may have resources near you. Here is the link:

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More Avondale Kittens Now Admitted to a Shelter for Adoption

I’m happy to report that four of the orange creamsicle kittens were admitted to PAWS Chicago’s adoption program!


Phoenix, Rascal, Oscar and Bosco all graduated from Robin’s Fischer School of Feral Feline Socialization. Robin has been fostering kittens for us for awhile now and we are so grateful to her. This couldn’t be done without her.


Check out these boys! Yes, these are four separate kittens, we promise. They just still look a lot alike, but their separate personalities are really starting to shine. 13495203_10208627824507127_3074762465698323084_n 13516612_10208627824467126_1834939001005492453_n 13510954_10208627823587104_7781876082476367540_n 13522017_10208627823507102_2356305649653283543_n

Bert and Ernie still require more socialization. Joann now has them in her house and has been working with them daily. Please contact us if you’d like to meet them – the more people that interact with them, the better! They are handsome twin boys that are still nervous about their surroundings, but they play and purr once you get to know them.  Bert and Ernie-2 copy

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Kittens, Kittens, Kittens, Lots of Action Photos of the Orange Creamsicle Kittens

The six creamsicle kittens trapped a few weeks ago in Avondale are thriving in Robin’s home. We are so thankful to her for fostering and socializing these boys!

And keeping track of all of them. She keeps sending us photos, but they look so much alike. Bert and Ernie are mostly white with orange fur. IMG_3545

And then there’s the rest of the boys, who are mostly orange, with some white fur – Bosco, Oscar, Phoenix and Rascal.

These kittens are living the life. As of yesterday, Joann also now has Bert and Ernie to help with socialization. Their next appointment is at PAWS Chicago next Thursday. IMG_3582 IMG_3580 IMG_3544 IMG_3540 IMG_3539 IMG_3507 IMG_7738 IMG_7737 IMG_3511 IMG_3506 IMG_3505-2 IMG_7690 IMG_7691 IMG_3521 IMG_3526

IMG_3603 IMG_3597

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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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Reese, FIV+ Cat from Avondale, is Now Vetted and Ready for Adoption!

Reese is a former stray cat now fully vetted and available for adoption. He is FIV+ and recovered from illness and bite wounds. He is a total lover and enjoying the indoors. Just look at those cheeks! IMG_7584 IMG_7587

Reese was trapped in Avondale along with a whole bunch of other colony cats at once. After his TNR surgery, it was clear that he was sick and exhausted. He slept all of the time, was really dirty and stinky, and absolutely ravenous. He would literally wake up to eat, and then go right back to sleep. He is a stray cat, not a feral used to living on the streets. He also seemed to know we were trying to help him and felt safe enough to finally rest after trying to survive outside.


He was vetted at Roscoe Village Animal Hospital where he was treated for URI and bite wounds IMG_7475

Kim took him into her home ever since. A week after that he had to go back to the vet because he had blood in his stool. He also wasn’t always using the litter box. His fecal test came back clean, and it hasn’t happened since. They did a urine analysis, and also figured out he was underweight and dehydrated, so he was most likely straining due to that. They administered fluids.


His total vetting so far is $446. If you’d like to make a donation towards his care please click on the Paypal donate button at the top of this page. IMG_7754 He was a great patient throughout, and even seemed to enjoy the extra attention. He ate all of the treats given to him during the entire exam, it was hilarious.  IMG_7533


Once back in Kim’s house it was very clear he was enjoying the indoor life and feeling better. He was absolutely filthy and stinky. He started grooming himself again. IMG_7557 IMG_7562

Look at his poor, sore paws! They were really rough from the streets. IMG_7564

Kim has been using these wipes to help clean him.


He’s looking better and better, gaining weight, and has a more normal sleep schedule now. Kim now has multiple litter boxes for him and figured out which litter he prefers. No more accidents.


He loves to pose. IMG_0702 IMG_0715 IMG_0704

He loves all of the attention and now answers back when you talk to him.



Please contact us at 773-609-2287 or [email protected] if you’d like to meet and adopt him!






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RIP Gringa, Another Dead Cat Found in Avondale

Gringa, a TNR’d colony cat, was found dead outside Saturday by the Avondale alley we are trapping in.


Gringa was a beautiful cat already TNR’d by Erica from PAWS before we started this project. Gringa was being fed regularly by George, a man who drives from somewhere else to feed in this alley twice a day.


Joann got to know Gringa during last week when she was trying to trap intact cats there with a drop trap. IMG_0149

Gringa had a lot of fun playing with the string. FullSizeRender-6 copy

In true small world fashion, although we didn’t know it at the time, our friend Maribeth B. found Gringa’s body on Saturday, talked to neighbors, and placed her in a dumpster because she didn’t know what else to do. Maribeth lives close to this project and we’ve been in touch throughout.


The following photos may be upsetting to some people.



unnamed IMG_7730

Before we knew that happened, though, another neighbor called Joann about Gringa. Joann and Kim went to retrieve the body. This is the second dead cat found in this area in the past week. Joann saw the blood left behind where Gringa was on the parkway. IMG_7731

Joann and Kim took Gringa to MedVet Chicago, just like Ivan. The vet determined this time that Gringa was definitely hit and killed by a car. There were tire tread marks on her body.


The vet was pretty shook up himself. He said that in the past three days, he has seen six cats hit by cars, most of them were people’s pets. We don’t know of their outcomes. But he said that in 35 years of practice as a vet, this past week has been the hardest on him. I implore everyone to keep their pet cats inside. This is not just “weird coincidences” happening at this colony. This is happening everywhere. Of course, colony cats need to remain outside because they are feral. Being hit by a car is one of the many dangers they face, but like other wild animals, a lot of them know to fear and avoid cars.


MedVet was able to dispose of her body properly and without charge. We are so grateful for their help.


Later that day we talked to Maribeth, and figured out that Gringa was the cat she found earlier. We are grateful that neighbors are trying to watch out for these cats.


RIP, Gringa.







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