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.



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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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RIP Ivan, Colony Cat from Avondale

Ivan is the second cat that has died since we started the Avondale TNR Project. With every TNR project of this size – here we are talking about estimates of 50 cats within three blocks – there are always inevitably sad endings along with the happy ones.


Ivan was trapped and taken to the clinic on May 31st for his TNR treatment. He was feral and his surgery went without a hitch. He was returned back outside to the colony after recovery without a problem, along with a few other TNR’d adult feral cats. They are all healthy, even tested FIV-/FeLV-, and have lots of feeders and garages for shelter.  IMG_7597

The next photos may be upsetting to people, so consider this a warning.


Last weekend Joann got a call from George, the feeder who is trying to stop us from trapping, to say he found a dead cat in the alley. He was furious, and most likely blames us for killing this cat. He also texted Erica from PAWS this photo of Ivan’s dead body, without an explanation. Can you imagine? Dead_cat George also then called Erica and screamed at her for twenty minutes about us and the cats. She has been trying to help him for the past few years now with TNR. We wish we could get him to listen to us, but at this point there is no time or reasoning with him. We want to concentrate on helping the cats as much as possible with the time we have. The only good thing is that at least he called to tell us. Even when the outcome is tragic, it is better to know what happened, rather than just having a cat disappear. When Joann talked to George and other residents, they said someone already threw out his body. Joann and Kim searched the alley and found his body in this dumpster, right near where we’ve been trapping this past month. RIP


This is not the proper way to dispose of an animal’s dead body. Also, they wanted to make sure to scan him for a microchip so that we were absolutely sure that this was Ivan.


Joann took him to MedVet Chicago. They scanned him for his microchip, and examined him. They did not find any signs of trauma or broken bones. They found his mouth was clenched shut and full of blood. They thought he may have died of rat poisoning, but said they could not tell for sure without a necropsy, which costs $900 there. They then disposed of him free of charge. We are very grateful for their help and compassion in this matter. clinic


Ivan also may have died from trauma from being hit by a car. I have found other cats like this, and so have other trappers. Cats get a glancing blow to the head or body, and then die a day or two later from internal bleeding. Yes, a necropsy is needed to know for sure.


RIP, Ivan. We wished we could’ve helped you sooner, but we know you are free of pain now. We will keep trying to help the rest of the cats in this area with TNR.

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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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Sick and Injured Avondale Cat Now Vetted and in Foster Home

Reese is one of the 17 cats and kittens trapped so far and from the Avondale TNR Project. Six kittens are in foster care, and most of the adults were TNR’d. There are many more cats outside there.


Reese was pretty relaxed outside. IMG_7311

When Reese came back from the clinic he slept in the trap the entire time. It was weird – we were concerned, but as soon as we woke him up, he would scarf down food. And then go back to sleep again. IMG_7301 Not only is that a friendly behavior, but it seemed excessive. Kim agreed to keep an eye on him for a few extra days in the trap.


If he wasn’t sleeping, he was just relaxing. IMG_7310 IMG_7333

Then Kim saw this on his back.


I brought Reese to a full service vet with another cat from my area I trapped that also needed medical care.


They determined that it was a skin plaque. Since it was intact and we weren’t sure yet if he was going back outside, it wasn’t a cause for concern.


But they found a bite wound on his left front leg, and he also had an URI, upper respiratory infection. He was treated with antibiotics. He also tested FIV+.


Reese is currently being fostered inside by Kim. Please let us know if you’d like to meet him! IMG_0564 IMG_7878

His medical bill is $268 so far. If you’d like to help, please donate through Paypal at [email protected]


Thanks for your support!



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More Kittens from the Avondale TNR Project

Today we watched this mama cat move her kittens around from an abandoned garage, to outside of a basement, and back again.  IMG_7346 IMG_7347

Joann and I talked to the restaurant owner who feeds the cats, other neighbors, and the grocery store owner where some of the kittens are now. There are estimates of up to 12 kittens within these three buildings. There are more mama cats, who keep moving their kittens around because there’s a lot of activity in this alley. Cats were fighting in the garage where the kittens initially were. Children have found the kittens and tried to play with them. A group of drunk homeless men keep coming by and want to sell them. Things like that.


It was pretty overwhelming, because we spent all day today to check on traps and clean them, transport cats to the spay/neuter clinic, care for cats in traps, and take two cats needing care from a full service vet, costing $661. Just yesterday we managed to get six kittens off the street – they all went to our friend Robin’s home to foster. She is amazing. Kim managed to adopt out two other kittens from here just last week. When we saw there were even more kittens we couldn’t believe it. And there is nothing we could do for them now – they are too little and need to stay with their mamas.


We found part of one litter in this basement.  IMG_7352

We’re going to try to bring some shelters to entice the mama to stay there. Please contact us in the link at the header of this page if you’d like to assist with this project. Thanks!


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Introducing the Big Daddy Colony: TNR in Avondale

Kim and Joann trapped last week with great success: fifteen cats and kittens trapped so far, and there’s a lot more.


Kim reached out to me this year about her neighborhood. Joann and Kim started trapping and working through her area in Avondale last week.


Kim trapped two kittens and a male feral cat. Once the kittens were spayed/neutered, the feeder adopted them into her home. The male feral cat was TNReturned outside.


She also trapped a sick cat that visited her yard sporadically. She has been trying to trap him for over a year, and believes he finally went in the trap because he was so sick. She called him Big Daddy, and the colony is named in his honor. Big Daddy was taken to Roscoe Village Animal Hospital, where after a thorough examination and tests, they all made the hard decision to humanely euthanize him because he was just too sick. RIP Big Daddy.


Joann trapped along with Kim throughout the neighborhood and saw a lot of cats and talked to a lot of feeders. Some TNR was done here before by Erica from PAWS Chicago and other volunteers, because they saw a mix of ear tipped and non-ear tipped cats. Kim has also trapped 22 cats visiting her yard in the past two years.


They trapped this beautiful TNR’d cat a few times, who also loves to pose. Her name is Georgita. Georgita


And a lot of non-ear tipped cats. eartipped orange one of the daddys IMG_0443-2 IMG_0471-2

A lot of these cats are fed by a man named George. George feeds these cats no matter what, and also tries to impede trapping. He moved the traps, closed them, and did everything he could  to stop them. George is an outdoor hoarder and there’s nothing we can do but to work around him and wait until he leaves.


Joann and Kim also discovered that this restaurant feeds other cats. Check out these cats waiting for their dinner in back! IMG_0477

The restaurant employees and several people throughout the neighborhood were all for TNR. Joann and Kim talked to a lot of neighbors and found out a lot of people feed and were concerned for the cats. TNR always involves community outreach, and more people that live in this area need to help trap. They also discovered a few other hot spots that we are hoping to work on, with colonies of 10-12 cats. In all, Kim has estimated there may be up to 50 cats within these few blocks.


They trapped in a few people’s yards and near where George feeds. So despite his ongoing efforts to stop them from trapping, they trapped eleven more cats and kittens. That means these cats are hungry. They range in all kinds of ages and litters.


All of these cats are currently at PAWS’ clinic for TNR surgery. Some of these orange cats look absolutely identical. IMG_7741 IMG_7745 IMG_7750 IMG_7755 IMG_7759 IMG_7761 IMG_7763 IMG_05061

If you know of anyone that lives in Avondale and cares for cats that can TNR, or would like to help us in any way, please contact us at the link above or at [email protected] , or call 773-609-2287





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Helping a Caregiver with Feral Cat Colony Management

Caring for feral cat colonies means continuing to TNR any new intact cats that show up. That’s the basis of colony management for all caregivers.


Kim V. has been caring for her Big Daddy Colony in Avondale for years. She TNR’d about a dozen cats there so far. Most of them hang out in her yard. IMG_0179

She contacted us to borrow traps for a few cats still needing TNR and additional medical care.


Specifically this orange cat, who needs to be neutered and shaved. IMG_7017

We dropped off a dozen traps at her home a few weeks ago. Her indoor rescue cats made sure to investigate. IMG_0180 As soon as she set the traps cats came to investigate. IMG_0182

So far she has TNR’d two new intact males this month. She is still trying to trap the orange cat and another cat that appears to be sick. She is also pretty sure there is a black kitten down the block from her. In the meantime she also trapped several ear tipped cats, so having the extra traps came in handy.

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How to Trap Specific Cats from a TNR’d Colony

Some cats will go in traps over and over again. When you need to trap specific cats from your colony for TNR or for ongoing medical care, it’s easier to have a trap set for every cat you may have.


When you trap your TNR’d cats that don’t need to be taken to the clinic, you can set them safely to the side with their own bowl of food in a safe place and keep on trapping for the ones you want. This process works.  It also works just to help trap a colony needing TNR at once. Very few colony caregivers just care for a cat or two in the city – most colonies are bigger than that and it’s easier to trap them together at the same time. I bought a bunch of traps for that very reason years ago, and am happy to lend them out to help people.


Kim V. contacted me through a mutual friend. She has done TNR for almost 20 years, starting in Logan Square off of the Boulevard, taking in cats to a regular vet because low-cost clinics for TNR weren’t available at the time.


She is now in Avondale, caring for about 12+ cats, most of them TNR’d. But there are a few intact cats still outside, and a few sick cats that she wants to take in to a clinic or vet, including this matted orange cat. Now is the perfect time of year to get him groomed. IMG_6949

Her colony is well cared for, with outdoor cat shelters made out of Rubbermaid storage bins, and feeding stations. IMG_6951

She also has heated outdoor cat shelters. This smart cat is always in one. IMG_6950

We are confident Kim will trap the cats she wants for the clinic!


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Hyde Park Cats 2016 Calendar Now Available – Cats in My Yard Featured for October

We are included again (!!!) in the Hyde Park Cats calendar for 2016.


This highlighted link includes instructions on how to order this calendar from


Every cat in a trap here has a story that deserves to be shared and celebrated, which is pretty much why I started this blog in the first place. Here are their stories:


From left to right, top to bottom:


FIRST ROW, left to right:

Ferret, from the Jose and the Pussycats Colony, TNR’d in February 2012, and still feral and thriving outdoors. She has a cat bed outdoors with fresh, clean blankets every day. IMG01281-20121020-1306

Frostie MacCreamsicle, also from the Jose and the Pussycats Colony, TNR’d in March 2012. He is friendly so I fostered him and he was adopted by my friends, Eliya and Mary.


Whip, the orange cat, is from the Boonie Colony, TNR’d in March 2015. We have not seen him since he was TNReturned outside, but he comes from a very large colony that is fed daily by a feeder who lets the cats in and out of his basement. IMG_0457

I trapped this tabby cat from the Eleanor Rigby Colony in March 2015. I let him go right away – he was already ear tipped but I don’t know who originally TNR’d him. There are multiple feeders on every block in this area. IMG_0655


SECOND ROW, left to right:


Wally, the black cat, from the V Colony, was TNR’d in May 2014. He was very friendly and very sick – the first vet I took him to advised me to euthanize him. I took him to another vet for a second opinion. He tested positive for FeLV, then reversed the test results, and was adopted by my friends Carlin and Kathy in St. Louis. Now over a year later he is still very much alive and thriving in their home. 12212066_868127303256882_1569841162_n

Garfield, the long-haired orange cat from the Armando Colony, was TNR’d in December 2014. I still see him periodically when I visit. IMG_0372

Mala, the black cat, also from the Armando Colony, was TNR’d in December 2014. She was very feral and also returned to Armando’s house once she recovered from her surgery.


Cosmo Moon Eyes, this black and white cat from the Peacock Colony, was TNR’d in August 2014. He is still around and being fed according to his feeder, Ashley, a young girl in junior high who learned all about TNR from this process. IMG_7741


THIRD ROW, left to right:


Mr. Friendly, the brown tabby and white cat from the Rockstar Colony, definitely lived up to his name. He was TNR’d in February 2012 and his feeders wanted to keep him as an indoor/outdoor cat. He was still thriving later that year and I would see him periodically throughout the neighborhood. Unfortunately the following year he was killed by a car. My rescue neighbor and friend Kim found him and gave him a proper burial as he deserved. RIP Mr. Friendly. IMG01278-20121020-1302

None, the grey cat, was the first to be TNR’d from the Chester Colony in March 2015.  none

Joann tried to foster her indoors for a bit, but None turned out to be feral and was ultimately returned outside. Their feeder Chester feeds daily and they have shelter in this garage. IMG_0972

Popcorn, the brown and white tabby from the front yard of my very own colony, James Gang Colony, was TNR’d in September 2014. I named him Popcorn because he kept trying to pop out of the trap and made a mess inside the entire time. He is feral and still visits my front yard feeding station at night, although I have no idea where he goes otherwise. IMG_7992

Apple, also from the Chester Colony, was about five months old when we trapped her and her sister Ava in March 2015. Joann could not bear to put them back outside without trying to socialize them first. She ended up keeping both of these sisters where they are living their lives indoors with her and her other five pet cats. IMG_1076

We can’t wait to get these calendars to distribute as gifts for the holidays!














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The Costs of Cat Colony Caregiving

There is a lot of invested time, effort and money needed to help the feral cat colonies. But I wanted to share the numbers here to show what can be done, that it’s not impossible, and to thank all of you again so much for your support. Also, I know there are people out there who do so much, and I really encourage everyone to broadcast their rescue work. People do amazing things, and their stories can also inspire others to help more animals.


So, here’s a look at 2014, a year in review, if you will:


Colony medical costs were $2,767.37, for seven cats that I found sick outside.


Cat food and supplies cost $1,579.69


Thank you again to Barb G., Ben M. and Carolyn T., Carlin R. and Kathy M., Dorota Z., Elisa G., Erica R. and Rob J., Greer G., Heather F., Joyce K., Kristina R. and her mom, Linda R., Liz H., Lora M., Niuris R. and family, Rachel and Nick K., Rhodri K., Rob and Candice C., Zac and Beth N. Your Paypal donations totaled $1398.79


Thanks to Janessa and Forget Me Knodt for teaming up on the Feral Flowers Project and selling the flowers I grew in my garden last summer, and for hosting a Feral Flowers Design and TNR Class. Together we raised $1,181.50, and also raised a lot of awareness for the outdoor cats.


Thanks to my friend and bandmate, Julia B., for hosting a Halloween show of rock music, called Feral Fete,  performed by my amazing, animal-loving friends, and donating all proceeds, $702, to Cats In My Yard.


Without donations and fundraising, this would have been so much harder. In total, as of the end of 2014, 177 cats were TNR’d in 20 locations within one square mile here since 2007. There are now 59 cats remaining outside. The other cats were either adopted out, died, or disappeared.


And sometimes the remaining ones get sick, especially now that the colony cats are aging. I believe all animals’ lives matter, whether they are feral or not, and will try to provide any medical care necessary. I want to thank North Center Animal Hospital, Roscoe Village Animal Hospital, and Village West Veterinary for their help, care and compassion in treating cats in traps.


Here’s another look at the cats that your donations and support helped with last year. Please note that some of these images may be distressing to look at.



Munkimo from the Mother Colony showed up at his feeder’s house in obvious distress during a winter storm last February. He was cold, wet, shivering, and there was blood on his back. I easily placed him in a trap and took him for multiple vet visits. His bills totaled $309.55 Munkimo tested FIV+, but he was sick because of an infected bite wound and upper respiratory infection, URI. The skin just peeled off of his back. He had a fever, and his paw pads were black with frostbite. After being crated in my house and treated with antibiotics, he bounced back within a few weeks. But I had to keep him inside crated for almost two months because this was during the Polar Vortex and he still needed the hair on his back to grow. He has been doing fine ever since I returned him.

Zombie Cat

Zombie Cat from the V Colony had sores behind her ears, disheveled fur, labored breathing, and a chronic URI. I trapped her and brought her in for multiple vet visits. She had several rounds of antibiotics and a dental. Her medical bills totaled $518.22 She stayed with me for two months in Feral Cat Recovery Lounge donated to me by Dave H. During this same time it got stressful because I was also treating another feral cat for URI (Sneezy), and then another cat (Wally) came in sick that I ended up treating and fostering because he was also friendly. And I had a planned vacation during this. But it worked out, and even though Zombie Cat still gets sick with URI, she is much better. And definitely doing better outside.


Sneezy from the V Colony was just with me for a week in a recovery Tru-catch trap. He was treated with antibiotics that just cost $10 for his chronic URI. Sneezy was absolutely terrified the entire time, so confinement is extra stressful for him. I had to weigh the stress of that against his overall well-being. He still gets a bit sick outside, and sleeps a lot, but is doing better.


Wally also showed up sick in the V Colony a few weeks after his TNR. He turned out to be incredibly friendly, so I ended up fostering him for two months while he was being treated for haemobartonella and taking him to the vet. His medical bills totaled $326.42 He made a full recovery and was adopted by my good friends Carlin and Kathy in St Louis.

Billy Idol

Billy Idol from the V Colony showed up sick while I was fostering Wally. His head was tilted to the side, he meowed nonstop, his eyes were red and had discharge, and he walked in circles. The vet determined that he was suffering possibly from toxoplasmosis and a URI. His medical bills totaled $257.05 Thankfully his feeders were able to treat Billy in a recovery trap for a week with antibiotics and medication. Billy seemed to get better and they let him back out into the colony because he was stressed from the confinement. So far ever since he seems to be doing well.


Dice is from my colony, the James’ Gang Colony, and he got really sick last year. In the spring I trapped and took him to the vet where he was treated for URI, stomatitis, and had 10 teeth pulled with his dental. This seemed to buy him some time, but he was sick again in the fall. He showed up one day and just laid in my yard. He was down to four pounds and the vet thought perhaps he was going into kidney failure. His medical bills totaled $860.03 Also, confinement was incredibly stressful for Dice. He would only eat, and could barely move. Ultimately, after a few days, he was humanely euthanized at the vet’s office. RIP, Dice. My heart still breaks when I think of him. The last photo is from back when he was a healthy, TNR’d colony cat.

Woodrow Whiskers

Woodrow Whiskers from the La Vida Lydia Colony disappeared and then showed up sick at his feeder’s house. She took him in, and he was docile and clearly in distress. He would urinate sporadically. I took him for multiple vet visits where they treated his bladder, did blood tests, and determined he most likely has cystitis. His medical bills totaled $486 He made a full recovery with the antibiotics and medications. He showed his friendly side once he was indoors, so was admitted to a no-kill shelter for adoption.

I’ve got my eye on a few cats I’m concerned about out there, and am busy with the colony cats that decided to show their friendly side. And I have plans to help TNR colonies for other feeders. Onward to 2015!

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