We trapped again at the Pallet Colony this week. As usual with TNR, there were a few surprises. But we think now we have a good relationship to make this an established, well cared for colony.
One of the places that feeds the cats there is an assisted living center. In preparation for trapping, Joann called to let them know to stop feeding. They told us they brought in a cat from outside and wanted us to take him.
Joann went to collect the cat and had no idea what to expect. It turned out an employee brought this cat from her home in Indiana and had him waiting in her car all day, without a carrier. This employee has two mama cats at home with two litters of kittens, seven weeks old and two weeks old. Sanderson showed up from outside her house and wanted to nurse on one of the mama cats. She didn’t want this cat, so she thought we would take him.
Well, of course we did, because this woman did not have any other plans for this cat otherwise. It was a total coincidence that Joann called even that same day. Thank goodness Sanderson turned out to be a friendly, healthy love bug. Just look at him.
Had he been feral, we would have had nowhere to return him. He is a purring machine that begged for attention. He spent the night here and when PAWS Chicago met him, they agreed to admit him into their adoption program. Thank you, PAWS!
We have trapped 20 cats so far at this colony site. Nine of those cats and kittens were admitted to PAWS. Sanderson is the 10th cat admitted for adoption, although obviously he is not really from this colony.
We are also working with PAWS to help counsel this employee and find help for the rest of the animals in her house. Right now she does not want them spayed and neutered – she believes every animal should have two litters first. This is where community outreach is crucial while you are doing TNR. Obviously people cannot just bring us animals and expect us to take them. We totally lucked out with getting Sanderson admitted.
Joann also called Ron, another feeder on that block, to tell him to stop feeding so that we could trap cats. Ron feeds the cats and they hang out in his yard and the other yards because there are tons of places for them to hide and find shelter. They climb in and around all of those porches.
Ron also has some sort of substance abuse problem. Anyone who does TNR regularly has dealt with stuff like this. I’ve dealt with it before, and in this case, I’m just happy he doesn’t have cats in his house. Those situations turn into hoarder houses a lot of times.
There are usually a lot of cats in low income neighborhoods and lots of people feed them. We do the best to help, but personal safety is paramount. Ron asks for money each time we come, and we’ve complied and given him donations of cat food as well.
He also has a lot of other men show up randomly at his house. Yesterday was no exception.
Immediately the cats started poking their head out from underneath his porch.
We have TNR’d a lot of the cats there already, but we wanted to see if we can get any more that we may have missed. In the meantime, one of Ron’s visitors had a lot to say about how we were trapping. He wanted us to bring him food and drinks. He had his own plan to get the cats in the traps, but then he disappeared for awhile and did nothing.
It was very obvious the cats were fed. They circled and played all around the traps for a few hours. We caught one ear tipped cat and released her. Some more people showed up periodically and randomly walked through the yard and in the alley where we were parked. We talked to each of them about what we were doing. I wish I had a high zoom video camera to tape the cats, they were pretty entertaining, but we didn’t get any new cats.
When we started rounding up the traps to go home, three of Ron’s visitors came out. This time I felt nervous because I was alone in the gangway with them. The man who said we were doing it wrong showed me some cat food cans in his pocket, said he was going to get the cats, and asked when we were going to take them. He said he was going to keep them in crates. I had no idea what he was talking about as he was leaving in an entirely opposite direction, but I told him firmly that we were not coming back. I was scared he was going to do something with the cats otherwise, not hurt them on purpose or anything, but I have no intention of working out a plan with him. It was apparent that I had no say in these plans. But really, it’s doubtful he was going to do anything anyways.
Instead, Joann and I are again working more with the assisted living center to set up a permanent feeding station and schedule for the cats in their secure and safe courtyard next door. We already provided them with outdoor cat shelters. Hopefully then these cats, and any new ones, can be cared for there. We want them to call us for help with new cats, or medical needs for existing cats. We are happy to donate cat food as well. The residents and staff there really care for the cats and with a proper plan in place for colony management we are confident this can be accomplished.