When a Colony Cat Gets Adopted from Another Colony

This year I’ve had several cats visit other colony caregivers for food and shelter. Sometimes they stay to establish new colonies, and sometimes they get adopted, like Babalu and Star.

Robert F. Cattedy first showed up in my yard this past June. He was a bold and beautiful tabby, and looked a lot like my cat Mowpa. Mowpa died this past winter and I miss him terribly. I thought for sure I was going to adopted Robbie into my home because he seemed friendly. Robert F. Cattedy takes over my yard and pays no attention to Dice.

Robert F. Cattedy takes over my yard and pays no attention to Dice.

I trapped Robbie right away in a humane Tru-catch trap. Robert F. Cattedy in the trap He acted fierce and feral and wouldn’t look at me, so I took him for his TNR spa treatment at the clinic.

He never seemed to calm down during his recovery, so I decided to return him outside. He was not destined to be adopted into my home after all.

Robbie came back to visit a few times, but he never let me near him. The James’ Gang Colony cats in my yard did not seem willing to accept him. They had a few stand-offs. Funny Face faces off with Robbie.

Funny Face faces off with Robbie.

Eventually Robbie stopped visiting.

About a month ago I got an email from another neighbor who told me about a cat visiting her yard.  Robert F. Cattedy at his new home It turns out it was Robert F. Cattedy! I was familiar with her block because I had seen orange cats over there and named her alley the Ginger Colony. She is feeding him, providing him with outdoor shelter, and named him Newt. He is also going in and out of her home. She said he is welcome to stay indoors permanently if he chooses to do so. I knew he was somewhat friendly, and am happy to see he found a home more fitting for him.

This also shows how important it is to network with other neighbors. The cats are fed in other people’s yards, and it’s great to know they are cared for by the whole community. That is part of a successful TNR program.

Dawn says:

Can you get Feedburner or something so I can subscribe to get new updates in my email? I dont want to miss any posts, thank you : )

Vanessa says:

Currently we are updating our blog and will look into doing this as well. Thanks so much for your interest!

Vanessa says:

We just added the Feedburner link! 🙂

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Under my chiminea (ella ella, ay ay ay)

Now that it’s raining more than ever,
Know that we’ll still have each other,
You can stand under my chiminea.

Funny Face and Bouncy Bear share.

Funny Face and Bouncy Bear share.




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Kitten Season

Spring has sprung! To me this means the feral cats start going crazy and really enjoying themselves outside. We even named two of the cats in my yard Springy and Sprungy when we trapped them one April because we had no idea they existed. They just showed up late one night in our yard.

Since then just one of them has become a permanent part of the James Gang Colony and we call him Springy Sprungy, or sometimes Funny Face.

Springy Sprungy has begunny.

Springy Sprungy has begunny.

What spring really means to cat colony caretakers is that it’s the start of kitten season. Though at this point it seems like kitten season is happening year round. I feel like I have gotten the colonies in my area under control since I have not found kittens since 2009. At this point the new cats that are showing up in the colonies are really indoor/outdoor cats or dumped pet cats. I will still TNR them as fast as I can.

If you manage colonies and provide shelters for them chances are the mom cats will utilize those shelters. This is the family I found in 2009 at the Eleanor Rigby Colony Clover's family


Erica says:

OMG! You found them in this kitty condo?!?! This is so cute!! WOW!

Vanessa says:

Yes, they were born in that kitty condo and lived there for a few weeks!

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Occupy Feral Villa!

I’m not sure if the James’ Gang Colony is actually protesting anything. But they are definitely, and deliberately, ignoring me here. Dice and Funny Face, the boys on the roof, like to keep an eye on their escape route, while Bouncy Bear snuggles inside and keeps a close watch on their feral cat feeding station. Occupy Feral Villa

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Outdoor Heated Water Bowls for Feral and Stray Cats

Every year, the temperatures drop after the holidays, along with my mood. I’m not a fan of winter. But my mood picked up when I saw the James’ Gang Colony cats in my yard lounging all morning, looking totally comfortable in their environment. Cats In My Winter Garden

These particular cats in my yard have been around for a few winters now. I started this blog to show people that a feral cat can live a long life outdoors, because that is what they know and prefer. Yes, they get help from me, but they were also surviving before that. I trap-neuter-return TNR a feral cat colony because I don’t think cats should be outdoors and I don’t want more of them, but the ones who are already out there deserve to live out their lives.

I’m happy to provide extra comforts to the feral and stray cats in my yard, and I encourage all of the cat colony caretakers that I work with to do the same. Once a feral or stray cat is spayed/neutered, they will start sticking around more because they are no longer roaming and looking for a mate.

Cats need water year round, like we all do, and that gets harder for them to find in the winter. There are lots of easy ways to provide fresh water for them.

A few years ago I bought a heated water bowl for them. I actually bought the one in the second picture of that link.

I didn’t really ever see any of the stray cats or feral cats using it and kind of shrugged off my purchase. Until this morning, when I saw Dice drinking from it, while Springy Funny Face and Bouncy Honey Bear dined together. Brunch time

This is the fifth winter that I’m caring for Dice now since his TNR surgery at the Anti-Cruelty Society on January 26th, 2009. He was pretty upset in the trap and hit his face trying to get out, but he’s come a long way since. He seems to enjoy the extra comforts I put out for the cats in my yard the most.

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Cats Know How to Ask for Help, You Just Have to Pay Attention

Last week in the midst of another deep freeze here in Chicago I was checking on my outdoor cat colonies and found this TNR’d cat from the Mother Colony just sitting in the middle of the sidewalk, trying to warm himself in the sun.

Munkimo on the sidewalk When I got closer he ran up the sidewalk to his feeder’s house. He was shivering and looked much thinner. He has not looked like himself within the last month or so, but he never let me get too close to him. This time was different. He meowed at me repeatedly, and then started winding around my legs, rubbing and purring. I saw blood on his back. I put down a can of wet cat food and he scarfed it down. There was another plate of dry food still there, and a cardboard box with a towel in it. Munkimo at his feeder's house The feeder poked her head out the window and said she had not noticed anything different about him, but that he was trying to get into her house the past few weeks. She never let him indoors, and said he is now always on her stoop. He used to leave after eating, so I wonder if he lost his shelter, or perhaps it was just much too cold to matter. I explained he looked injured and sick, and she said her landlord doesn’t allow pets in the building. This is government housing, and she has limited means to care for cats. With her blessing, I came back with a trap for him, which was hardly needed. He was all over me to get more food, so I just placed him in the trap with a full plate.

The vet clinic said the wounds on his back were bite wounds that were so old and infected that the skin and hair just peeled off. They cleaned up the area and gave him antibiotics. He was also dehydrated, weighed only five pounds, had a fever and tested FIV+. Munkimo back wounds When I first TNR’d him in March of 2011 he was a lot sleeker, cleaner and healthier at 7.5 pounds. I actually trapped him in my yard, but he didn’t return after his surgery.  Munkimo during TNR Instead I found him feeding at the Mother Colony two blocks away from me and kept tabs on him these past few years.

Here he is during the summer, while his feeder explains to me that she only feeds him, no other cats. She also did not realize he had an ear tip or anything else like that.

He was always waiting by her door for food and she seemed to diligently feed him. Munkimo at her door

I don’t know what happened to him recently, but he is indoors with me for now. I took him to North Center Animal Hospital for another look. They gave him more antibiotics, and he is also now being treated for roundworms. His blood work showed that he had low red/white blood cells and low protein levels, but these were due to the infection and malnutrition.

His little monkey paws were also a mess.  Munkimo's paws

Once indoors he seems fairly content to sleep a lot. Seriously, look at those monkey paws! Munkimo sleeping The funny thing is that he also seems to prefer to sleep on a hard surface. I’ve tried every configuration of a cat bed, towel and blanket, and he has shunned them all. He scrunches his body to get away from them.

Munkimo in the corner When I removed everything, he finally spread out and seemed comfortable. It’s like he wants to sleep on a tatami mat. Maybe this cat is Japanese? So I named this little five pound Japanese monkey cat Munkimo. Munkimo tatami mat

Munkimo is also named in honor of my Polish monkey pet cat, Mowpa, that I had to euthanize last year the same day I took Munkimo to the vet this year.

Now a week later Munkimo’s monkey paws seem to be cleaned up and healing. Munkimo's healing paws

As well as his back. Munkimo's healing back

In the meantime Munkimo is a very chill, polite, quiet cat that likes to stare at me a lot.  Munkimo stares

A LOT. Munkimo up close

Please keep your fingers crossed that he continues to heal.

Dawn says:

what ever happened to Munkimo, do you still have him ? Thank you for taking care of him : )

Vanessa says:

He’s doing great! He’s fed daily by a woman on the next block that I donate wet food to. Here’s a new photo: https://www.facebook.com/catsinmyyard/photos/pb.178373245600398.-2207520000.1410529562./550869915017394/?type=3&theater

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